Personal Care Products: Avoid Harmful Ingredients

Personal Care Products-1

Personal Care Products: Avoid Harmful Ingredients

A new study involving teenage girls revealed that their contamination levels dropped by up to 45 percent after just 3 days of avoiding makeup, soaps, shampoos and lotions that contained hormone-disrupting chemicals.

However, wouldn’t it be better to avoid toxic chemicals in your personal care products in the first place? Since your body absorbs about 95% of what you put on it topically, it’s important to avoid putting toxic ingredients on it.

There are two ways to avoid toxic ingredients in personal care products. First, buy organic products and organic cosmetics from companies with strong reputations for making and selling eco-friendly products.  Second, thoroughly read product the labels of everything you intend to put on your body.

Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

Many people understand that the food they eat should be free of poisons and toxic chemicals, since experts have confirmed that toxic ingredients lead to obesity, hormone disruption, allergies, cancer and, overall, just make you feel bad. However, did you know that the same thing holds true for what you put on your body, face, and hair?

When products contain toxic chemicals, don’t buy them and definitely don’t incorporate them into your daily habits, long-term routines and green lifestyle!

It is still legal for personal products to contain a variety of known or suspected toxic ingredients. You can find them in body washes, soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners and hair dyes, almost all types of makeup, anti-aging creams and other products. So, not only is it wise to always read product labels so you can avoid them, but it’s also smart to buy from companies that you can trust and that are known for caring about the good health of people and the planet.

19 Personal Care Products Ingredients to Avoid

Coal Tar. Found in dry skin treatments and also used in anti-lice and anti-dandruff shampoos, hair dyes, lotions and soaps. This known carcinogen has been banned from use in the EU, but it still an ingredient used in the United States and Canada. It has been linked to neurological problems, sleep and emotional troubles, loss of coordination and cancer.

DEA/TEA/MEA (Ethanolamine Compounds).  Suspected carcinogens used as emulsifiers and foaming agents for shampoos, body washes, soaps and shaving creams, eye makeup of all types, face makeup of all types, and sunscreen.  blush, make-up bases, foundations, fragrances, sunscreens.

Formaldehyde. Often used as a preservative, formaldehyde is a probable carcinogen and skin and respiratory irritant. It is found in eye makeup remover, nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos and other products.

Fragrance/Parfum. An umbrella for concealing hidden chemicals, including phthalates, fragrance is connected to headaches, dizziness, asthma, allergies, cancer and reproductive toxicity. (It is similar to “flavorings” in food, since additives listed as flavorings are not required to be listed separately on the label.) It can seem as if  almost all most personal products contain fragrance. Many of the ingredients on the list you’re reading right now can be hidden under the “fragrance” umbrella.

Hydroquinone. This ingredient is often found in skin lightening products. It is associated with cancer and reproductive problems.

Lead. Often found in lipsticks and hair dyes, lead has been associated with cancer, hormone disruption, and allergies.

Mercury. Known allergen that impairs brain development, it is an ingredient that is sometimes found in freckle lighteners, mascaras and eye drops. It is illegal to make personal products that contain mercury in the United States, since is mercury is known to cause cancer. However, they are sometimes sold and brought into the United States from other countries.  Mercury can be labeled as: mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, mercurio, or mercury.

Mineral Oil. Made from petroleum, mineral oil can be found in products like skin moisturizers, hair conditioners and lipsticks. It creates a filmy covering that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.

Oxybenzone. Commonly used as an active ingredient in sunscreens, it collects in fatty tissues and has been associated with allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, and low birth weight.

Parabens. Often used as a preservative, parabens can be found in many products. However, they’ve been linked to cancer and also endocrine disruption and reproductive system damage.

Paraphenylenediamine (PPD). Although sometimes used in hair products and dyes, PPDs are harmful to skin and immune systems.

Phthalates. Although these “plasticizers” have been banned in Californian children’s toys, they are still found in fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, and lotions. They are associated with cancer, hormone system disruption, and can damage livers, kidney and lung function.

Placental extract. Used in some skin and hair products. Supposedly it is a source of protein and hormones, but it has been linked to endocrine disruption.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG). Used to help products better penetrate, PEGs are often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both recognized carcinogens.

Silicone-derived emollients. Added to products to make them slippery and soft, “cones” aren’t biodegradable and have been associated with tumors and skin irritation.

Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES).  Used as an effective industrial degreaser, this ingredient is now sometimes included personal products to make them foam. However, it irritates eyes, lungs and skin is a known hormone disruptor.

Talc. A finely ground substance found in products like baby powder and hair dressing products, this toxic ingredient has been associated with ovarian cancer and breathing difficulties.

Toluene. Frequently used in nail and hair products, toluene can disrupt immune and endocrine systems and negatively affect fetal development.

Triclosan. Sometimes available under the brand name Microban, Triclosan is associated with cancer and is a known hormone disrupter. Look for it in antibacterial products, including toothpaste, home cleansers, hand sanitizers, and deodorants.


UC Berkeley News

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Brush Your Teeth Without Wasting Water

Brush Your Teeth Without Wasting WaterYou’ve probably been brushing your teeth for years by now, so you can get along just fine without a primer on how to do it. However, this post will explain how to brush your teeth without wasting water in three easy steps, while using only about three cups of water.

Step #1

Fill a cup with with water. Then, turn the water faucet off and do not turn it on again until step #3.

Step #2

Swish your toothbrush in the water-filled cup, load it with toothpaste and brush your teeth. Use the water in the cup to wet your toothbrush several times as you brush your teeth. (Your dentist probably already told you to brush your teeth for about 2 minutes,* so we’re not going to mention anything like that here.)

Step #3

Empty and rinse the cup. Then, fill the cup with water and use half of the water to thoroughly rinse your mouth. Use the other half to rinse your brush. Wash the cup and and set it aside. (Repeat Steps 1 through 3 in the morning and before you go to bed.* As before, we’re not going to mention any dentist recommendations, but brushing your teeth twice a day is a good idea.)

Why This Is A Good Green Habit

Most bathroom faucets run about two gallons of water per minute. This means if you brush your teeth for two minutes,* twice a day,* with the water running, you will waste about eight gallons a day brushing your teeth. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you can save over 200 gallons of water per month by turning off the water. And, now you know how to brush your teeth without wasting water and feel darn good about it!