Are synthetic chemicals really so dangerous and scary? First off, we're not raging anti-science folks. We recognize the importance of synthesized materials and chemicals as long as they're developed, produced, used and recycled responsibly. We just strongly believe that synthetic chemicals DO NOT belong in beauty or food products where they merely replace natural ingredients and pollute our bodies and our environment (not to mention extensive animal testing).
Take a closer look at the ingredient list on your cosmetic bottle. Remember, your skincare can only be as good as the ingredients in it. Good ingredients do not offset, minimize or neutralize the damage that bad ingredients can inflict. A rule of thumb - if the name of the ingredient sounds "synthetic", don't buy the product right away and give yourself time to learn more about the suspicious looking ingredients. However, some ingredients may sound deceitfully natural (for example, Grapefruit Seed Extract and Japanese Honeysuckle extract - both contain parabens) and the overall product appeal goes through the roof - along with its price. We are covering in this section what you need to watch out for and try to avoid in your beauty products.
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Alcohol denat (denatured alcohol):
A petrochemical byproduct. Usually contains benzyl alcohol, making it undrinkable. Can cause systemic eczematous, contact dermatitis and chemical sensitivities. Used in all commercial perfumes as solvent.
A common ingredient in antiperspirant sticks and some makeup. Skin irritant, linked to Alzheimer's and lung disease.
A preservative derived from petroleum. Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Severe irritant for eyes, skin and respiratory system.
Bismuth is put in cosmetics because it gives a sheen to the face, is soft to the touch, and is extremely inexpensive. A byproduct of lead and copper refining, bismuth oxychloride is a heavy metal. Heavy metals have been linked to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. Many people demonstrate acute sensitivity to this substance and suffer from rashes and bad irritations. Often found in “pure” mineral makeup.
BHA and BHT:
Encourages the breakdown of vitamin D, can cause lipid and cholesterol levels to increase. Linked to cancer and endocrine disruption.
Emulsifier used in regular creams and lotions. Highly irritating and already banned in Canada as a cosmetic ingredeint.
DEA is used as a skin softener and humectant in personal care products. It can be carcinogenic when combined with other ingredients. It's a skin irritant. Similarly to DEA, TEA and MEA share the same hazardous characteristics.
Chemical compounds made as reaction products involving ethylene oxide. Ethoxylated materials include ingredients such as Laureth, Myreth, Ceteth, Ceteareth, Glycereth, etc. Trace contaminants in some ethoxylates have been implicated as potent carcinogens.
A preservative which includes Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin and Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate. A known irritant and carcinogen. It is often hidden in other ingredients.
also called Parfum Companies are not required to disclose the chemicals used in fragrances. All synthetic fragrances (and unlesss they are essential oils or certified organic flavorings – fragrances are synthetic!) contain phtalates. Phtalates are allergens and hormone disruptors. Fragrance as a whole is toxic to people suffering from asthma, allergies and scent sensitivities. Fragrance can also contain hidden preservatives – highly toxic and causing permanent health issues.
Used as solvents for preservatives, fragrance, and other substances. Also is referred to as humectant, emollient and preservative. Glycols are irritating and harmful to the skin. This group includes Propylene, Butylene, Pentylene, Hexylene, and Caprylyl Glycols, Capryl Cglycol, Caprylic Glycol.
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE):
A “natural” preservative used in “natural” skincare. Long time was believed to be the only one truly natural preservative on the market. Independent analysis showed that most commercially produced GSE and employed in skincare preservation was contaminated with parabens which lend the preserving qualities to this ingredient.
Japanese Honeysuckle extract:
Used as a new “natural” preservative in “natural” skincare products and it contains parabens. Many companies that use Japanese Honeysuckle extract label their products as "paraben free" or "preservative free" which in our opinion is misleading. However natural this ingredient sounds, information available to the public about it is very limited and lacks transparency.
Phthalates are synthetic chemical compounds mainly used as softening agents and to create fragrance. Look out for your plastics - squeeze bottles, shower curtains, soft plastics. Possible carcinogen.
Parabens are synthetic compounds used as a preservative in a vast majority of cosmetic products, including skincare, makeup and even makeup tools (for example, pressed or loose powder puffs). Include methylparabens, propylparabens, butylparabens, and ethylparabens. Parabens cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. They are known estrogen mimickers and may cause hormonal disbalance.
Derived from non-renewable raw materials, such as oil or natural gas. These include acrylamides, ethoxylates, mineral oil, polyethylene glycol (PEG), and propylene glycol.
PEG (Polyethylene Glycol):
Emulsifier and plasticizer. Contains carcinogenic impurities.
or petroleum jelly- Highly occlusive, clogs pores and causes acne, a suspected carcinogen. Petroleum by-products can pass through the brain barrier and cause ADD/dyslexia symptoms.
A synthetic ether alcohol preservative. Causes contact dermatitis.
A synthetic emollient which provides glide to the formula. Cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Methicone, and Phenyl Trimethicone can be harmful or irritating to the skin. Widely used in skin care and hair care preparations.
SLS (Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate):
Widely used in soaps (including soap bars), shampoos, thoothpaste and cleansers for easy foaming and other properties. A harsh detergent which dries out skin and hair and is a known skin irritant. Responsible for more frequent occurrences of recurrent aphthous ulcers in prone individuals.
Synthetic dyes are byproducts of the petroleum industry. The molecular structure of these products are so small that they can pass through the brain barrier. This can manifest itself as turning numbers backwards when writing or reading, peeling skin, acne, or ADD symptoms. Many people have allergies to artificial colorings.
Talc has asbestos in it. Asbestos is a very powerful and dangerous carcinogen, linked to ovarian cancer and is a suspected respiratory toxin. Most often used in baby powders, foundation and even some skincare.
Contains ammonium salts. It is a toxic eye irritant and sensitizer.
Widely used in liquid and hard soap, cleansers, shampoos, creams, lotions and other preparations. Helps easily produce rich lather and is used in skincare as emollient and preservative. A known skin irritant.