6 Toxic Beauty Chemicals Found in Common Cosmetics

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

You might not know it, but common beauty products that you use every day contain toxic chemicals. Some of these chemicals can cause hormonal issues, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and liver disease. Unfortunately, there are no standards in beauty and cosmetic product labeling. To avoid using chemical-laden beauty products, always read the label and watch out for these ingredients:

1. Parabens

Parabens are chemicals that inhibit bacterial, yeast, and mold growth in cosmetic products. In makeup, it is used as a preservative to lengthen the life of the product. However, parabens contain chemicals that mimic estrogen. These compounds are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. The estrogen-mimicking chemical is absorbed by the body and has been traced in biopsy samples. Some of the most common beauty care products that contain parabens are body washes, shampoos, facial cleansers, and deodorants. Certain types of food and pharmaceutical products contain parabens as well.

2. Artificial Colors

Artificial colors improve the color of the product, making it more appealing to consumers. Unfortunately, synthetic colors are linked to cancer and ADHD in children. In fact, the European Classification and the European Union banned certain types of artificial colors. These synthetic colorants include FD&C or D&C. These colors are derived from coal tar or petroleum, which means they are carcinogenic.

3. Phthalates

Phthalates refer to a group of chemicals that softens polymer or plastic. These chemicals are used in personal care products and cosmetics to improve the texture of the formula. Nail polish contains dibutyl phthalate while diethyl phthalate is used in lotions and perfumes. Phthalates are known carcinogen that is linked to the development of breast cancer in men and women. These chemicals disrupt the endocrine system, causing reproductive defects, early development in girls, and birth defects. Unfortunately, not all beauty companies list phthalates in their list of ingredients. Phthalates are usually added to deodorants, colognes, perfumes, moisturizers, and hair sprays.

4. Triclosan

Triclosan is a widely used chemical that inhibits bacterial growth. It is added to antibacterial soaps, deodorant, even toothpaste. Unfortunately, this chemical also affects the endocrine system, causing thyroid problems, hormonal issues, and skin irritation. Studies show that Triclosan is also attributed to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Clinical tests also show that using soaps with Triclosan has the same effects as simply washing your hand with regular soap and water. So instead of using Triclosan-formulated soaps, use regular soap.

5. Sulfates

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are a common surfactant that’s used in more than 90% of personal care and cleaning products. These chemicals cause a host of health problems ranging from skin and lung irritation to respiratory damage. Studies show that sulfates also react to other beauty ingredients (nitrosamine), increasing the risk of cancer. Sulfates are added to acne treatments, shampoo, body wash, face cleansers, and other common skin and body care products.

6. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a preservative that inhibits bacterial growth. This is a known carcinogenic and is linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer. Formaldehyde is commonly used in nail polish, conditioners, shampoos, eye shadows, and nail treatments.