Many women today use a wide range of skincare products. These products might include cleansers, moisturizers, toners, and shampoos and they might be used several times a day throughout most of their adult life. Women have come to rely on these products and spending on them has reached unbelievable levels. But do most women ever take the time to read the ingredients listings on these beauty products? Do they know what they are using and if they might be putting potentially dangerous ingredients on their bodies? Most women probably do not. It may never occur to them that ingredients considered unsafe might even be used in the products offered to consumers.
Unfortunately, there are many skincare products on the market that have questionable and dangerous ingredients. Some of these ingredients include synthetic fragrances, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS, Phthalates, and Parabens.
But what are they and why should they be avoided?
Parabens are preservatives put into beauty products to extend their shelf life. They have no benefit to us…only the manufacturing company. They do in fact have adverse effects for us though, including estrogenic qualities. They have produced abnormal hormonal effects following application on laboratory animals, particularly males, that resulted in decreased testosterone levels and other varied abnormalities. They have also been found to accumulate in the breast tissue of women with breast cancer.
For more information on Parabens Click Here to read Not Just a Pretty Face, I got the book a while back and it explains in great detail about the chemicals we are putting on our bodies on a regular basis.
Phthalates are a group of chemical compounds that are basically used as plasticizers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility). It is hard to imagine that we need plasticizers in our skincare products but you can find them in cosmetics, soaps, and various lotions. High Phthalates doses have shown hormonal activity in animal studies and have resulted in damage to the liver, the kidneys, the lungs, and the developing testes.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS for short is an ingredient that gives a product like a shampoo or facial cleanser its foaming ability. Most people equate cleaning ability with the amount of suds or bubbles created, so companies use SLS to give us the impression that it is an effective cleanser. SLS is a known skin irritant and when companies test new healing ointments or crèmes, SLS is the irritant they first rub on the skin to irritate it so they can then see how well their new product works to heal the inflammation. SLS can infiltrate the eyes, brain, heart, and liver with potentially harmful effects according to the journal of the American College of Toxicology. SLS can cause rashes, eczema and other skin irritations. Even more shocking is the fact that some products containing this ingredient are labeled as “natural” or organic because SLS is a detergent derived from coconut oil.
Synthetic perfumes or fragrances can contain hundreds of chemicals. Some, such as methylene chloride are carcinogenic and others might cause headaches, dizziness, coughing, vomiting and skin irritation.
These ingredients hardly sound beneficial or even appropriate for our skin care needs. So what can you do to avoid these dangerous ingredients? First, read the ingredients labels carefully and search for them online to do some research into negative effects. Find out exactly what they are and what they do before you put them on your skin. Second, find reputable companies that offer organic and 100% natural products. This may be a tall order since there is no regulation for organic bath and body products in most countries. Ask around and you will be able to isolate ethical companies using safe ingredients. Third, try making some of your own skincare products. When you make your own you know exactly what is in them and you can feel comfortable that they are safe.
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