The cosmetics we use in our hair and on our skin can be absorbed by our bodies. It is important to learn what is in the products we use so that we can make informed choices as consumers.
There are several resources on the web that can help us better understand these ingredients and their effects on our bodies. These include EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and http://www.safecosmetics.org.
To make it easier for you, we’ve assembled the most common ones below and the page will be updated regularly. If there’s something you would like us to add, please leave details in the comments section.
Chlorine: Exposure to chlorine in tap water, showers, pool, laundry products, cleaning agents, food processing, sewage systems and many others, can effect health. Even though you will not see Chlorine on personal care product labels, it is important for you to be aware of the need to protect your skin when bathing and washing your hair.
DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (momoethanolamine), and TEA (Triethanolamine): These are hormone disrupting chemicals and are known to form cancer causing nitrates and nitrosamines. These are commonly found in most personal care products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers.
FD & C Color Pigments: Many color pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and even death according to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients.
Fragrance: Fragrance is present in most deodorants, shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care and baby products. Many of the compounds in fragrance are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic.
Imdiazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin: These are just two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde (formaldehyde-donors). Formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep
Isopropyl Alcohol: Also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac, this hair product ingredient is no good for hair regrowth.
Mineral Oil: This derived substance is commonly used petroleum ingredient. It coats the skin just like plastic wrap. It stops the skin fro releasing toxins and can slow down normal cell development.
PEG-Polyethylene Glycol: Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease as well as thicken products. PEG contribute to stripping the Natural Moisture Factor, leaving the immune system vulnerable.
Propylene Glycol (PG): Used as a “surfactant”or wetting agent and solvent, this ingredient is actually the active component in antifreeze. It is used in industry to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of) yet is found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shave, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpaste.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Used as detergents and surfactants, these closely related compounds are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. This ingredient is particular harmful to promoting hair regrowth. For more information check out our article on SLS.