The following list of some of the harmful chemicals found in cosmetics
Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate
Perhaps one of the most common chemical groups used in cosmetics, this sudsing agent gives liquid soaps and shampoos their foam-ability. Regardless of whether it’s derived from petroleum or coconut, isa harsh skin irritant may also cause the skin to dry out as well as a host of other allergic reactions like rashes, eye irritation, and dandruff. These sudsers can be damaging to the immune system, and their residue can show up in the heart, liver, and lungs.
Diethanolamine (DEA) + Triethanolamine (TEA)
Long used in industrial strength lubricants and as surfactants (wetting agents that help products spread) in cosmetics, DEA and TEA are known eye, skin, nose, and throat irritants and can cause liver cancer in rats. “They can form nitrosamines, a carcinogen, when combined with other ingredients.
While much of the haircare industry continues to use polyvinylpyrrolidone, a petroleum-derived chemical, some studies suggest its toxicity. It’s particularly harmful when inhaled, which is a problem because of its use as an anti-static agent and a binder for styling products such as hair sprays.
First used by the fabric and paper industries as a softener and an anti-static agent, stearalkonium chloride is now commonly found in the cream rinses and conditioners used to soften our tresses. Yet the hard facts on this cationic surfactant show that it is a toxin known to set off allergic reactions. “Although it’s a proven irritant, many companies use it in hair conditioning products because it’s cheaper and easier to incorporate than proteins or herbals,” says Masters.
Petroleum + Mineral Oil
Both of these petrolatum-derived products are prized by the cosmetic mainstream for their emollient properties.When you have mineral oil on your skin, nothing goes in and nothing can get out. Mineral oil in lotions forms a barrier when applied, so that skin can’t eliminate toxins. With repeated use, moisturizers that include either petroleum or mineral oil can clog pores, setting off skin conditions such as acne and dermatitis.
If you’ve noticed “paraben-free” stickers popping up on bottles of lotions and soaps, it might be linked to the Environmental Protection Agency’s classifying these antimicrobial preservatives as having hormone-disrupting effects.
Second in use only to parabens, ureas appear as preservatives in a wide range of products. They trigger contact dermatitis, headaches, fatigue, and depression.
Sure, they make your favorite products look inviting, but synthetic tints can contain a host of unnamed, and unsafe, ingredients.
The catchall terms “fragrance,” “parfum,” and “perfume” can conceal thousands of synthetic ingredients. Numerous reports have linked fragrance oils to such conditions as birth defects, cancer, brain damage, respiratory disorders, chronic skin reactions, and environmental damage through waste water. “Many constituents of synthetic fragrances, including phthalates, can be absorbed into the body through the skin, inhaled as fumes, and ingested when they’re in products like lipstick.