Toxic Beauty Ingredients You Probably Have In Your Bathroom Cupboard

It’s difficult to believe is just how easily accessible harmful beauty ingredients are. Just because you shop at your local pharmacy, it doesn’t mean the products are all that safe for you. So, the question here is this: Do you know how many toxic beauty ingredients there are in your cupboard right now?

Your skin plays an important role in your overall health.

Almost any particles that have direct contact with it can be absorbed through the dermal layers and move into the bloodstream. Now you may not be consciously aware of this – but we’re actually also exposed to hazardous chemicals every day too. Click here to find out more about this. Whether it’s through air pollution, the food and water we ingest, or the cosmetics we use, our bodies need to deal with that exposure on a daily basis.

For many beauty products, synthetic ingredients and chemicals are used to extend the shelf life of a product and preserve its integrity in a cost-effective way. And many brands do use them – however whilst most countries have decent chemical regulations and restrictions in consumer products – there’s something you may have overlooked.

Yes, exposing yourself to low doses of chemicals from reputable cosmetic products may not directly harm you. But, like I’ve just mentioned, we’re exposed to countless toxins every day due to so many factors. So if everything from your water bottle, to your bag of apples, and your cosmetics have chemicals in them – it can a seriously dangerous cumulative effect in our body. And what is this ‘dangerously accumulative effect’, you ask? Well the most common risks include: Skin sensitivities, intolerances and allergies; malignant cell formation; endocrine and hormonal disruption; reproductive, immune and nervous-system toxicity; and neurological damage.

What Toxic Beauty Ingredients Should You Look Out For?

I’d like to give you a word of warning before reading this list – you may not like what you hear and it’s likely you’ll throw out half your bathroom cupboard when you’re done – so please proceed with caution.

1. Parabens
These synthetic preservatives, in high doses, have been associated with endocrine and hormone-balance disruption and oestrogen mimicking. They also have carcinogenic properties.

2. Petrochemicals
Petrolatum, petroleum jelly, paraffin oil, mineral oil, and benzene are all derived from that stuff you put in your car – petrol. These chemicals are known to clog skin pores – trapping toxic elements and slowing skin cell growth. They can also absorb oil-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K from your body and excrete them. Yikes!

3. Propylene glycol and ethylene glycol
These ingredients are put into cosmetics to increase absorption. They contain a compound called dioxane, which can lead to dermatitis, kidney or liver abnormalities and stunted skin cell regrowth. They are also known carcinogens.

4.Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
Although these are used in a variety of water-based cosmetics to prevent contamination. They are easily absorbed by your skin which can often lead to allergic reactions, and in more severe cases, malignant cell formation.

5. Phthalates otherwise referred to as: DEP, DBP, and DEHP
These chemicals linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer. Although they have been entirely banned in the EU, they’re still quite commonly used in other countries.

How to keep your outlook realistic

Let’s get real for a second – eliminating all forms of chemical exposure from your skin in near impossible. International health standards do allow for a certain percentage of chemical ingredients to be used in cosmetics, if the quantity used isn’t directly harmful. In fact, most reputable international cosmetic products are not entirely free of synthetic preservatives. So if you want to keep your beauty regime safe, here are the three things you need to take into account:

  1. Know your country’s health regulations. The European Union has banned approximately 1 400 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. The US FDA has banned (or possibly only restricted) 11. So check out where your products are made.
  2. Decide where you want to limit your exposure to toxins and toxic chemicals. Although exposing yourself to low doses of chemicals from reputable cosmetic products may not be directly harmful, we are exposed to countless toxins every day due to a variety of factors. This can have an increasingly dangerous cumulative effect in our body. So try to see where you can afford to cut back.
  3. Monitor your body’s overall detoxification function before choosing a cosmetic product. Unfortunately with age our body’s ability to detoxify tends to weaken. It’s one of the reasons why your headaches get worse after indulging in too much vino, today, than it did when you were 20. Find out how well your kidneys and your liver are working, and you’ll be able to gage how much chemical exposure you can allow yourself.

After you pick up a product and start googling the list of ingredients you know little about – you may find some conflicting facts. To make your life easier – take a look at my top three recommended websites for trustworthy information on toxic beauty ingredients: EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database; The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics; and Ecocert.

I know all this information can be quite overwhelming. Senator Edward Kennedy once said: “The cosmetics industry has borrowed a page from the playbook of the tobacco industry, by putting profit ahead of public health.” So if you’re trying to get rid of the chemical-filled cosmetics that reign shop counters – you need to tackle the issue in the same way people have tackled the tobacco industry – dilute its popularity by keeping yourself and the people around you informed about the healthier side of beauty.