Many cosmetic and personal care products on the market today contain toxic chemicals that can harm your health. It’s important to use nontoxic, safe, natural products because our skin is very capable of absorbing chemicals and bringing them into our bodies. Not only do they harm your body, but they harm the environment when washed down the drain. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, then you probably shouldn’t be putting it on your body.

You can search for nontoxic personal care products on EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Each ingredient is scored based on its hazard level on a scale of 0-10. Higher scores mean high hazard while lower scores mean lower hazard. You can find nontoxic products online or at health food stores. You can even make your own. Just check its hazard rating on EWG before buying it.

Here are some hazardous ingredients in personal care products that you should stay away from:

  • 1,4-Dioxane
    • Byproduct of carcinogenic ethylene oxide
    • Used to make harsh chemical ingredients milder
    • Toxic to kidneys, nervous system, and respiratory system
    • Contaminates ground water
    • Other names: ingredients with “-eth” (myreth, laureth, oleth), PEG, Polyethylene glycol, Polyoxyethylene, Oxynol
    • Found in: shampoos, body washes, lotions
  • Parabens
    • Endocrine disruptors (disrupt hormones)
    • Can mimic estrogen and drive breast tumor growth
    • Other names: methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, isobutyl paraben
    • Found in: deodorants, antiperspirants, shampoos, conditioners, spray tans, lotions, sunscreens, cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs, food additives
  • Phthalates
    • linked to birth defects in boys, lower sperm-motility, testicular atrophy or structural abnormality, and liver cancer
    • some phthalates are banned in high amounts in children’s toys and products
    • Other names: diethylhexyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate
    • Found in: PVC, toys, food packaging, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, household cleaners, cosmetics, nail polish, hair spray, lipstick, nail polish remover, shampoo, perfumes, hoses, raincoats, lubricant, adhesives, detergents, tap water, medical tubing and bags
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)
    • damages brain and nervous system
    • allergenic and cytotoxic
    • used to prevent bacteria from developing
    • Found in: shampoos
  • Toulene
    • naturally found in crude oil and tolu trees
    • used to make gasoline and fuels from crude oil, and to make coke from coal
    • toxic to nervous system, impairs breathing, causes nausea
    • long term exposure linked to anemia, low blood cell count, liver damage, kidney damage, developmental issues in fetuses
    • linked to immune system toxicity and blood cancers
    • Found in: synthetic fragrances, petrochemical solvents and paint thinners, painting and leather tanning processes, paints, nail polish, lacquer, adhesives, rubber
  • Triclosan
    • used as an anti-bacterial agent
    • linked to heart disease, heart failure, impaired muscle function, altered hormone regulation
    • contaminates rivers, streams, and sewage sludge that goes to agricultural fields
    • Other names: Microban, Biofresh, Tinosan SDC, Igrasan, Lexol, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum, 2,4,4′-trichloro-2′-hydoxydiphenyl ether
    • Found in: toothpastes, deodorants, antibacterial soaps, body washes, cosmetics, furniture, kitchenware, clothing, toys
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), and ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS)
    • denaturant, surfactant cleansing agent, emulsifier, and foamer
    • linked to irritation of skin and eyes, organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicity, biochemical or cellular changes, mutations, sometimes cancer
    • Other names: sodium dodecyl sulfate, sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium salt, sulfuric salt, A13-00356, akyposal SDS, aquarex ME, and aquarex methyl
    • Found in: shampoos, toothpastes, body washes and cleansers, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents, bath salts, hair color, bleaching agents, scalp treatments, make-up foundations
  • Propylene Glycol
    • organic alcohol used as skin conditioning agent
    • may inhibit cell growth & cause kidney and liver problems
    • associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis & contact urticaria
    • Found in: cosmetic moisturizers, shampoos, carrier for fragrance oils,

 

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