Many beauty products contain ingredients that could negatively impact your health. The cosmetics industry alone uses hundreds of these questionable chemicals in personal care brands. Of course, you should always read cosmetic labels carefully to see if they are natural and eco-friendly, and do your own research when there’s an ingredient you don’t recognize. But what are the big ones to watch out for? Check out a quick guide below on our top ingredients to avoid in your makeup and other personal care items.
Petrolatum: This ingredient is often used in personal care products as a moisturizing agent. When properly refined, this ingredient has no known health concerns; however, it is often not completely refined in the US. When not fully refined, this ingredient could be contaminated with PAHs, a class of compounds that often contain carcinogens. Studies have shown that regular use of products using unrefined petrolatum could lead to a 50% higher chance of breast cancer. Although this ingredient is heavily regulated in the EU, the same standards are not set in the United States. Unless the company using this ingredient specifically states that their petrolatum has been fully refined, this is an ingredient to avoid.
Triclosan: Triclosan is typically used as an antimicrobial agent, and can be found in everything from soaps and detergents to deodorants and toothpastes. Although past studies done by the FDA indicate that triclosan is not currently hazardous to humans, recent studies suggest otherwise. Animal studies, for instance, have shown that triclosan almost certainly alters hormone regulation, a concern for women (and pregnant women) in particular. Although use of this ingredient has been linked to the prevention of gingivitis, it’s usefulness is questionable in almost all other cases – so we say, why take the chance?
Synthetic Fragrances: The concern with fragrances is not that all artificial fragrances are categorically dangerous – it’s that cosmetics companies could really be listing up to 200 ingredients that fall into that one “fragrance” category. Because many of these scents can be linked to dizziness, headaches, hyperpigmentation and skin irritation, such a vague ingredient listing should leave you with a little concern.
When using a product with fragrance, test it for several weeks to see whether or not you experience any negative effects on your health, and avoid formulas that list this early and as a main ingredient. Want to avoid it completely? It’s not hard – most authentically natural products, particularly those that use essential oils, often come with their own, very pleasant scents.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: SLS is in many personal hygiene items, including shampoos and body wash. It is a detergent and surfectant that creates a rich lather. However, that lather can come with a cost; listed as a moderate hazard by EWG.org, this ingredient has been linked to the development of cancer, neurotoxicity, organic toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption.
Parabens: We couldn’t create this list without including parabens, especially because this is the main ingredient we avoid in our own Cosmetics product line. For a full breakdown on why we avoid parabens, check out this blog here.
You can celebrate your natural beauty with products that enhance it. If you’re ready to make the switch, give the items in our Real Purity Cosmetics line a chance. We think you’ll be surprised at how you don’t miss the ingredients that aren’t there – or the worrying that goes along with them.