Thinking about migrating to a cleaner, less toxic lifestyle can get overwhelming. So here is a little guidance on what to avoid and the consequences they may have on your health.
First, let's talk about pthalates. This group of plasticizers is found in everything from face creams and conditioners to detergents, plastic toys and even vinyl flooring! Now, I don't know about you, but I am pretty sure that I don't want anything used to make my floors absorbing into my face or scalp. Sadly, pthalates are used in a lot of unexpected products to give them a smoother, more desirable feel. Phtalates are recognized as a carcinogen by the state of California and are a known endochrine disruptor.
For more information on pthalates and their impact on the body, check out this video:
Have you ever had a desire to bathe in antifreeze? No? ME EITHER. But that's essentially what we have naively done for decades. The glycols used as a primary ingredient in antifreeze - the same glycols used to remove barnacles from boats - are used in a wide range of skin care products like serums, lotions, and moisturizers. They work as a surfactant to quickly penetrate the skin and encourage absorption. Propylene Glycol is even finding its way into the food industry as an additive to keep food products like cookies soft.
You may be more familiar with this compound's other name - Draino. Now, a Draino product label contains ABUNDANT, very stern warnings that their product is a poison and should not be ingested, inhaled, or make contact with the skin. So, then why is sodium hydroxide in most common toothpastes? It's also in many facial cleansers. Hey, if it can dissolve the gunk out of your drains, just imagine the wonders it can work for your teeth and pores! YIKES.
Sodium Laurel Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate/Ammonium Laurel Sulfate
Love that rich lather of most shampoos, soaps, and shave gels? That's sulfate, a cheap and powerful detergent that has been linked to eye damage (even blindness), depression, digestive disorders, and more. Sulfates are known to overstrip hair and skin of their natural oils, resulting in hair that is dry and brittle, scalps that are irritated and inflamed, triggering an increase in scalp oil production. This creates a never-ending cycle of overwashing, which leads to increased scalp irritation and oil production, which then leads to more washing, increasing the damage to your hair each time the cycle repeats.
Sounds harmless, right? No, it's just petroleum, and it actually depletes the vitamins your skin and body need.
This may be one of the most contested ingredients on this list. Silicones provide some immediate effects that are very desireable, but it comes at a cost. Silicones come in a variety of formulations, so they can be difficult to detect on labels. Silicones prevent proper ventilation of the skin, exacerbating existing skin conditions and creating opportunities for bacterial growth and reactions to other ingredients in your skincare. They are very difficult to wash off of skin and hair, leading to build up and additional problems with repeated use.
Parabens are a cheap preservative used to keep beauty products shelf-stable for years, thereby increasing the profit margin of the manufacturer. They mimic estrogen, thus disrupting hormonal balance and the endocrine system. Excess estrogen has been linked to breast cancer. Watch the video below to learn more about the risks associated with parabens.
There are plenty of other chemicals that are concerning, but I have chosen to highlight the ones I have had personal experience with or have had the most difficulty avoiding. For an expanded list and more down-and-dirty details, watch this: