Did you know that over 10 250 known industrial chemicals are used in beauty products, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins & hormone disruptors? Chemicals like plasticisers that keep concrete soft, surfactants that reduce tension in paint & degreasers that remove grime from car parts are found in your beauty products! Scary huh?
So what can we do about it?
Head to the bathroom & pull out all your hair, face, skin, body, & makeup products & scrutinise all the ingredients – look out for these eight commonly found toxic chemicals – & throw them out!
1. Mineral Oil
She is also known as petroleum, paraffin oil, liquid, or white mineral oil. Used in shampoos, cleansers, body lotions, lipsticks & foundations, and mineral oils will not only cause skin irritations but are contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which cause cancer.
Used as a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria, mould & yeasts. This chemical interferes with the endocrine system & male reproductive functions, causing an increased risk of breast cancer. Parabens are found in makeup, deodorants, shampoos, cleansers, food products & pharmaceutical medications.
2. PEG compounds
Also known as propylene glycol, it is found in sunscreens, makeup, shampoo, conditioners & hair sprays. They can cause skin irritations, dermatitis & hives & have been linked to cancer.
Commonly known as parfum, these chemical concoctions can cause asthma attacks, allergies & dermatitis, with some being linked to cancer & reproductive system issues. Fragrances are found in perfumes, aftershaves, shampoos & conditioners, body washes & moisturisers. Don’t confuse fragrant oils, synthetic & toxic, with essential oils, a natural plant oil obtained by distillation.
5. Sodium laureth sulphate (SLS or SLES)
Also known as sodium lauryl sulphate, these are cancer-causing chemicals found in over 90% of skin care & cleaning products. You will see these in toothpaste, shampoos, cleansers & bubble baths to create foam. This is why you don’t get that ‘foaminess’ when using natural shampoos, like the cheap chemical-laden brands – but that’s a good thing!
It can be found in cosmetics & personal care products, nail polish, perfumes, lotions & hair sprays. They have been linked to breast cancer, early breast development in girls & congenital disabilities. Look for common names such as dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate & dimethyl phthalate. It can also be added to perfumes & therefore, may not be a listed ingredient.
It can be found in deodorants, toothpaste & cleansers. Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that has long been linked to body toxicity, thyroid & reproductive hormone disruption & heart disease. It may also contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Read this great article from the Australia ABC on the (unnecessary) use of antibacterial soaps & washes & why Triclosan needs to be banned.
Another petrochemical-derived toxin is benzene, methylbenzene, diphenylmethane or toluol. Commonly found in nail polishes, nail treatments & hair colour & bleaching products. Toluene is a solvent that dissolves paint. It can cause nausea, respiratory system distress & skin irritations. It has been linked to developmental damage in unborn foetuses.
Contact with synthetic chemicals is unavoidable in today’s modern society, so make sure you try & limit the amount of toxins your body is exposed to by choosing organic fresh foods, drinking filtered water & choose your skin & body care products with care.