CHEMICALS FOUND IN BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Have you wondered about what chemicals are in the products we put on our skin?

The average woman puts over 500 chemicals on her body every day. Most do not know what these chemicals are and what effect they have.

Did you know that the skin is our largest organ and that on average it only takes 26 seconds for the chemicals in these products to enter your bloodstream after being applied to the skin? Makes you think doesn’t it, what is in these products?

There was an article in the Daily Telegraph back in 2009 that stated that ‘cases of eczema have risen more than 40% in four years.’ Could there be a connection? I know personally I have managed to control (and possibly even cure) the eczema I have suffered since being a child through the use of natural products and avoiding some ingredients not just in my beauty products but also in my cleaning and washing products too.

Who am I and Why am I an Expert? 

So before I get into why we should care and details on the different chemicals, I thought it was important to share with you some of my journey.

As a child I suffered terribly with eczema, luckily for me it was areas of the body that are not always visible, the worst one was on the back of my neck under my hair. I went to doctors for years who would repeatedly give me steroid creams which would fix the issue temporarily before it returned again. Of course now I know that the steroid creams weren’t fixing my eczema but instead taking off the top layers of my skin to remove the visible issue but never actually dealing with the issue itself. I just got used to putting up with it to be honest, if it was visible maybe it would have been a different story, but to look at me you wouldn’t know about the eczema or the pain and itching I had most of the time.

Fast forward a few years, a friend told me how her sons eczema was helped using a flower remedy product and it started me thinking about the ingredients in the products I was putting on my skin, body and of course hair where it would affect my neck. It led me down a rabbit hole and after a lot of research I started to only use natural products without certain ingredients and my eczema over time healed itself. I now haven’t had eczema for years.

Since then I have become a passionate natural beauty advocate and as a result for the last two years have feature on the Natural Beauty Magazines list of ‘Who’s who in natural beauty’

The following article on why we only sell natural products, why you should care and what you can look out for is based on my experience and what I have cut out of my routines to heal my skin and body. I have to state that I am not a doctor and have not had any medical training.

I have included links to some of the best resources I know including documentaries and books and case studies/ research carried out by medical professionals in case you would like to read and learn more. These can be found right at the bottom of this page.

If you read this and do have any questions do not hesitate to get in contact, I would more than happy to help in any way I can.

Why Should You Care About Different Ingredients Found In Products?

Everything is effectively a chemical made up of elements however some are harmful to us and affect our long term health. These are normally synthetic chemicals (not normally plant based) and can be used in consumer products for a variety of reasons.

Of course there are always exceptions to this, some plants can be harmful to our health too but we wouldn’t normally find these as ingredients on a bottle of our favourite face cream!

These toxic chemicals can also have a detrimental effect on our environment when in products such as sunscreens.

Recent studies have shown that chemicals in our bloodstream are being passed onto our unborn children via the umbilical cord and once they are born via breast milk. So that lead based lipstick that your great great grandmother used in the 19th century probably has toxic remnants still travelling round your bloodstream. Based on these studies it is fair to say that we are the most toxic generation to have ever lived.

These toxic chemicals affect our health and well being not just of us but of future generations.

SOME CHEMICALS TO AVOID

This is a list of some of the worst offenders. This is not a full list but is instead a good starting place.

Parabens

Parabens are used as a preservative to give a product a long shelf life. Found in 75-90% of all cosmetic products on the market.

Effect: Endocrine distributors, possible carcinogens and possible links to breast cancer.

How they are listed on products: Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben

Phthalates

Used as plasticizers (to give products increased flexibility and durability)

Found in many perfumes and scented products and hairspray.

Effect: Endocrine distributors, respiratory toxicants, can cause birth defects and infertility in men, may lead to pregnancy loss in women, may alter childhood brain development.

How they are listed on products:
Commonly hidden under “fragrance” or “parfum”; Anything with “phthalate” in its name, or DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

Used in products to create a foam and prevents separation of ingredients.

Found in Face wash, body wash, shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, and more.

Effect: Common irritants, penetration enhancers, may be contaminated with known carcinogens.

How they are listed on products: Sodium lauryl sulphate or SLS

Triclosan

Used to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination.

Found in deodorants, anti-perspirants, soaps, toothpastes.

Effect: associated with a decrease in the levels of thyroid hormones, contributes to making us resistant to antibiotics, also links to skin cancer (studies ongoing)

How they are listed on products: Triclosan

Artificial Scents and Synthetic musk’s

Used as an artificial scent.

Found in many perfumes and scented products.

Effect: No detailed information is given about what these artificial fragrances actually contain. They are likely to contain synthetic and potentially allergenic compounds.

How they are listed on products: Fragrance or perfume without details of where these came from. If an ingredient is truly natural it will show something like fragrance* (lavender oil) or something similar. Synthetic musk’s could show as Galaxolide (HHBC), Tonalide (AHTN), Musk keytone

Formaldehyde

Used for its antibacterial and preservative properties. Yes this is the same formaldehyde used in a morgue to preserve the body before burial!

Found in many nail polishes and other nail products, creams and moisturisers.

Effect: Can cause watery eyes, burning sensations, coughing, wheezing, nausea, skin irritation and links to cancer.

How they are listed on products: Formaldehyde

Other Chemicals to watch out for:

Aluminium Salts – used in deodorants and anti-perspirant, it blocks pores (and glands) to stop sweating and is linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Ethanolamines (MEA (Monoethanolamine), DEA (Diethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine)) – Found in face and body washes, shampoos, hair colours etc. Is a foaming agent that also prevents separation of ingredients.

Hydroquinone – Found in hair dye, nail products inc polish, skin lightening and acne products. Hydroquinone decreases the formation of melanin in the skin. Used in high doses hydroquinone has the potential to cause cancer.

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) – Found in lipsticks, creams and moisturisers as an antioxidant and preserving properties. BHT accumulates over time in the body impacting the lungs, liver and kidneys and some research suggests causes cancerous tumours to grow.

UV FILTERS such as Octinoxate – Sunscreens, lip balms, nail polish, foundations, fragrances, shampoos, conditioners, creams and moisturisers etc. Endocrine disruption, reproductivity toxicity, organ system toxicity, irritation and in some cases cancer.

SUNSCREENS

There are two types of sunscreens; chemical and mineral.

Chemical sunscreens contain chemicals such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone which create a chemical reaction and work by changing the UV rays into heat and absorbing them into the skin. These chemicals are harmful to us and our watery friends.

Mineral sunscreens contain chemicals such as titanium dioxide or zinc, which work by creating a barrier on the skin and deflect any damaging UV rays away from the skin.

Make sure it’s a reef safe or reef friendly sunscreen.

How to tell the difference: 

Sunscreens; Chemical vs Mineral

Our Sunscreen Choice and the Oceans

Sunscreens also have a further reach that just our health. Studies have been done in the USA on the effects of mineral and chemical sunscreens on coral reefs. In this particular study they added oxybenzone to the water (found in chemical sunscreen) and within 14 days of exposure this is the effect it had on the coral.

Now imagine the number of people going swimming near reefs with sunscreens on! Its easy to see how this can have a long term damaging effect on the oceans. Hawaii has already banned the use of Oxybenzone in the sunscreens on the islands.

Coral reefs may only make up approx. 1% of the ocean but they are home to more than 25% of all marine life. They are vitally important for a healthy ocean.

If you are planning on wearing a sunscreen in the water make sure its a reef safe one!

All the sunscreens sold on GreenerBeauty.com are reef safe and only contain non nano titanium dioxide and non nano-Zinc oxide.

Photo below is of a healthy coral reef and then after it was bleached by sunscreen.

Knowledge is power!

Hopefully this information will help you make better and informed choices that are right for you and your loved ones.

Of course we at Greener Beauty do not advocate the use of any of these ingredients listed above so everything we sell at Greener Beauty is free from all of these.

FURTHER READING/WATCHING AND REFERENCES

Further Reading/Watching:

Documentary – The Human Experiment.

Documentary – Toxic Beauty

Breast Cancer UK – This charity actively promotes the use of safer cosmetics and they have lots of valuable information on their website.

Book – Toxic Beauty: Your guide to ingredients to avoid and products you can trust.

Book – Toxic Beauty by Dawn Mellowship

 

References 

Chemicals

Analytical Science Journals – A study into parabens and their connection with breast cancer.

EWG – A study into the pollution of unborn babies via the umbilical cord.

MPPL – A study into the relationship between everyday use cosmetics (specifically parabens) and female breast cancer.

Science Direct – A study into the effect of parabens on our health.

US National Library of Medicine – The effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals on our health and the associated disorders.

US National Library of Medicine – A study into chemical exposures during pregnancy and early development of children via the umbilical cord and breast milk.

US National Library of Medicine – A study into the connection between parabens and breast cancer.

 

Sunscreens and Coral Reefs

Coral Reef Alliance – Protect your skin and the coral reefs by buying mineral sunscreens

International Coral Reef Initiative – A study carried out in Sweden in 2018 on the effects of chemical and mineral sunscreen on coral reefs. As a result of this study it is recommended to only use mineral sunscreens when going into the oceans or waterways that lead to the ocean.

International Coral Reef Initiative – Palau bans the use of chemical sunscreen to protect its coral reefs.

National Geographic – How to protect you and the oceans.

Ocean Service – The use of chemical sunscreens which is used in its thousands to protect against harmful effects of ultraviolet light threatens corals and other marine life.

Scientific America – The use of nano particles in sunscreens.

Springer Link – A study on the toxicopathological effects of the sunscreen UV filter, Oxybenzone, on coral planulae and cultered primary cells in Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands.

US National Library of Medicine – A study into how coral reefs are being bleached not by the sun but by chemical sunscreens.