Nutrition Made Simple

HARMFUL INGREDIENTS IN COSMETIC PRODUCTS

May 13 2021

HARMFUL INGREDIENTS IN COSMETIC PRODUCTS

HARMFUL INGREDIENTS IN COSMETIC PRODUCTS

Are you confident that the makeup and skin care items you use daily are safe for your skin type? Do you consider yourself to be well-aware of what goes inside your body and the things that are applied onto its surface? 

When it comes to beautification, one often notices buyers rushing to dump their preferred brand’s Body and Skincare products into their shopping cart without really cross-checking the label claims and packaging information. This is a prominent error many people, no matter how literate they consider themselves to be, happen to make in today’s progressive age. It’s critical to be aware of all this background, production, and manufacturing information about the Cosmetics you purchase, as these are either going to directly or indirectly pave concerns for your skin, nails, hair, eye regions, etc. 

The conscious customer today is more compliant towards spending their income on sustainable and safe products that provide assured benefits as claimed by the brand’s marketing schemes. With many products having a long list of potentially harmful/toxic ingredients, it’s become more vital than ever to shift more towards conscious buying practices and indulge a bit in straying away from the following ingredients if listed on your Cosmetic items:

> PARABENS 

The most commonly occurring chemicals that play the role of ‘preservatives in cosmetics and skincare products are Parabens. Be it Methyl, Propyl, or Ethyl parabens, they’re all capable of being carcinogenic i.e. cancer-causing agents. The reason is they tend to mimic the presence of estrogen in the body, thereby causing hormonal imbalances, leading to cancer of the breasts. They also cause interruptions in neurological and reproductive functions. Males have also reported lowered sperm count after using such products. One typically finds these in products like lubricants, shaving gels, shampoos, moisturizers, facial cleaners, spray tanning items, makeup materials, etc. Usually, products containing some water content will consist of Parabens to keep them free from bacteria accumulation. 

> PHTHALATES

Often smartly hidden under the pretense of acting as a Fragrant agent, Phthalates are plasticizing elements or more commonly called salts that improve flexibility and spreading ability of the product onto the skin’s surface. Chemically, we label such ingredients as plasticizers, as they prevent plastic from becoming brittle i.e breaking easily. Similar to parabens, these also abruptly interfere with hormonal balance by behaving as endocrine disruptors. Some reports have also suggested how these materials accelerate early puberty in both, boys and girls. Typically these are found as Frangrances, DEP, DEHP, DBP, etc. Medical associations of Phthalates have also been found in ADHD, diabetes, and cancer. 

> TRICLOSAN

This antimicrobial, specifically functioning as an antibacterial agent is commonly found in mouth-cleansing products like toothpaste, mouth cleansers, mouthwashes, and products like deodorants and antibacterial soaps. About 8-9 years back, it was banned from cleansing products like medicated soaps but it persists amongst personal care items. After over-usage of hand sanitizers, high amounts of triclosan were found to have negative impacts on a population’s reproductive and thyroid hormones. The USFDA has proven that Triclosan has no particular health benefits to humans, thereby justifying it being barred from most cosmetic products. 

> TOLUENE

This also goes by the abbreviation of BHT (Butylated Hydroxy Toluene) and functions as a petrochemical solvent in most nail polishes and hair dyes. Commonly linked with brain toxicity, toluenes have negative effects on pregnant women too. A ‘must avoid’ ingredient, toluenes immensely damage the nervous system and could lead to serious birth defects if not avoided by expecting mothers. Cosmetic regulators have banned it from manufacturing in Southeast Asia and European nations, however, it’s still prevalent in other places. Along with formaldehyde, it’s labeled as the ‘toxic duo’ causing endocrine malfunctions, headaches, and respiratory disorders. 

> OXYBENZONE

A high-risk ingredient commonly observed in the production of sunscreens, oxybenzone is accompanied by avobenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule. It functions as an endocrine disruptor, yet again, ruining the basic functioning of your thyroid glands. A chemical UV filter like this one has drastic negative health effects like cancer, birth defects, reduced fertility in males, and endometriosis in women. This organic compound performs the role of stabilizing and improving the color and scent of skincare products like lip balms, cleansers, lotions, and baby care items. Some big concerns posed were skin allergies, irritability, inflammatory reactions, and the like. The most probably occurring cancer types include those of the skin and breast. 

> SLSes

These include Sodium Laureth Sulfates and Sodium Lauryl Sulfates, both containing non-volatile alcohols that are commonly present in preparations like shampoos, lotions, toothpaste, mouthwash, facewash, conditioners, etc. Chemically, we say they perform the function of foaming agents and are labeled as surfactants i.e. surface-active agents that promote foam creation. Cases have reported their ability to trigger allergic reactions and cause redness/dryness and inflammation of the skin. These have also proven to be irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract of humans after continuous application. Another interesting fact is the production of chemical by-products called nitrosamines due to SLSes, which are known to be carcinogenic. 

> HYDROQUINONE

This aromatic compound is used in most cosmeceuticals for the treatment of different forms of skin hyperpigmentation. It behaves as a skin lightening agent due to its property of decreasing melanocytes i.e the cells producing melanin which is responsible for the coloration of our skin. However, prolonged exposure to this chemical can cause harsh effects on the skin, destroying the topmost layers and leading to damaged bleaching. This forceful nature of Hydroquinone leads to accelerated skin aging, increased blemishes, and scars. Users have also reported the occurrence of a skin disease called ochronosis whereby permanent blue or black lesions start appearing on the skin’s surface. Hydroquinone is also known to consist of other toxic substances which is why it’s best to avoid using products containing the same. 

> POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL (PEG)

Most often observed at the back of packages containing shampoos, lotions, and sunscreens, PEGs are used as thickening agents but could potentially be derived from petroleum and work as irritants to normal human skin. Two common contaminants found along with PEGs include ethylene oxide (a well-known cancer-causing agent) and 1,4-Dioxane (banned in certain regions of the globe for giving rise to respiratory issues). Other cream-based products like exfoliating agents, face washes, and toothpaste also contain such PEGs and it’s best to stray away from these harmful ingredients in the long run. 

> PETROLATUM

Advertisements will often recommend products containing petrolatum for those consumers having dry skin, it functions as a softening agent, leaving behind a smooth and evened-out tone to your skin’s surface. Even though this divine emollient and FDA-approved skin protecting agent works tremendously, petrolatum has been proven to cause reduced absorption of moisture from the air. This leads to the breakage of skin cells, damaging the upper layers and causing excessive dryness in some skin types. Occurring in lip balms and moisturizing products, this is why people are tempted to apply a second coating as this cycle of drying and wetting keeps taking place. Scientifically, it has been researched that harmful remains of chemicals like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) also tend to be left in petrolatum after application. 

It’s advisable to make sound and conscious choices while working on nourishing and replenishing your skin, from within to the outside. For this, Alvizia Healthcare has a range of trustworthy products that suit all skin types due to them being organically derived and free from such harmful ingredients. You could choose from:

Biotin (Vitamin B7 organic supplements for a complete rejuvenation of your skin in the safest and effective manner). 

AlenGlow (L-Glutathione along with Vitamin C - a unique combination for all skin types to find total nourishment). 

AlenEve (Evening Primrose Oil soft gelatin capsules for a soothing skincare routine procuring a deep cleansing from within). 


This article is the sole opinion of the author and Alvizia Healthcare holds no responsibility for the content. *

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