Because there are so many toxins, carcinogens and synthetic fillers in most cosmetics, there is really a lot to look for in your product ingredients labels. So let’s just look at a couple of common cosmetic ingredients that are harmful that we should be aware of:
These are preservatives that are in almost all cosmetics. It has been found in breast cancer tissue. Parabens mimic estrogen when absorbed. Parabens kill 100% of bacteria. It’s common knowledge that they absorb very quickly into the skin and I’m sadly amazed that we haven’t challenged cosmetic companies to rid them from their products (because there are many safe and other natural preservatives however they will never have as long of a shelf life as products with parabens). Look for words that end in paraben (ie: propylparaben). The most common paraben and one that has been found in studies (in urine and breast cancer tissue etc) is methylparaben. On average women are exposed to 50mg of parabens per day from cosmetics.
Most products that are paraben free have a short shelf life, usually the bottle is marked “6M” for 6 months once opened or sometimes 12M or 24M at the most. Cosmetics and skin care from Drug Stores, and Department Stores all purchase products from mass manufacturers who pay huge to get ‘shelf space’ in those stores and they require long shelf lives (usually 5 years), about the same shelf life as Avon and Mary Kay as well. There are other 100% natural essential oils or tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E) that can be used as safe preservatives in products.
2. Petroleum (fossil fuels)
Many cosmetic ingredients are derived from or are byproducts of petroleum. Petroleum refineries break it down into it’s smaller components called hydrocarbons. We are surrounded by products made from petroleum, ie: gasoline, styrofoam, lubricating oils etc.
Ingredients that come from petroleum:
*Mineral Oil – derived from petroleum as well. Blocks pores. Also the skin becomes dependent on it – highly addictive.
*Propylene Glycol (Also an ingredient in: anti-freeze, laundry detergent, paint, shampoo, conditioner) Research links it to serious health problems: liver and kidney damage, respiratory irritation, nausea if swallowed.
*Isopropyl Alcohol – kills bacteria on your skin (usually found in cleansers, toners etc) Also derived from petroleum. Dries the skin. May cause miniature cracks in the skin that allow bacteria to enter; causing irritations or pimples.
*Fragrances – Many many products are made of aromatic hydrocarbons. Perfumes can contain hundreds of chemicals to create it’s unique scent. Many of the aromas are derived from petroleum. Also there are parabens in fragrances but we do not get to see it on the ingredients list because the recipes are considered to be “trade secrets” so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals.