Every day we become more and more conscious of the decisions we make regarding food – forget just fried vs fresh, now we have to worry about GMOs, hormones and whatever else is being pumped into it.
If you put this much care into what goes into your mouth, what about the products you use on your skin? When something causes an immediate reaction – hives, blotches, itchiness, etc – you're going to stop using it. But what happens when the effects of those ingredients aren't visible to the naked eye, or take years to show up?
When you really want to love the skin you're in, take a few minutes to look through the ingredients list of your favourite beauty products. If you find any of the following, it's time to ditch them in favour of something new.
Formaldehyde – Most well known for its use in preserving corpses, formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are used in cosmetic products to prevent the growth of bacteria. It has been deemed by the The International Agency for Research on Carcinogents (IARC) as carcinogenic to humans, and has been linked to occupational related cancers. It's also known to cause allergic skin reactions and may be harmful to the immune system.
Parabens – Parabens have long be used as preservatives in cosmetic products to prevent the growth of bacteria, mould and yeast, but they also to possess oestrogen-mimicking properties that have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity. Parabens can be found in makeup, body wash, deodorant, shampoo and facial cleansers, as well as in food and pharmaceutical products.
Sodium Lauryl (Ether) Sulfate (SLS, SLES) – once an industrial degreaser, and now used to make soap foam. It can cause skin irritations.
SLS is a surfactant (a compound that lowers the surface tension of a liquid) that is found in more than 90 per cent of personal care and cleaning products, and have been linked with skin, lung, and eye irritations. The main concern surrounding SLS is the risk of its potential to combine with other chemicals to form other carcinogenic chemicals that may lead to a host of issues, like kidney and respiratory damage. SLS can be found in shampoo, body wash/cleanser, mascara and acne treatments.
Toulene – a petrochemical additive that is derived from petroleum or coal tar sources, and is listed under benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, or methylbenzene. A potent solvent, toulene can dissolve paint and paint thinner. It can affect your respiratory system, and cause nausea and skin irritation. Women who are expecting should avoid exposure to toulene vapours. It has also been linked to immune system toxicity. You'll find it in nail polish, nail treatments, hair colour and hair bleaching products.
Triclosan – an antibacterial chemical, studies have raised concerns that triclosan contributes to making bacteria antibiotic resistant. There is insufficient evidence to support that washing with antibacterial soaps containing triclosan provides any benefits over washing with regular soap and water. Triclosan is found in toothpaste, antibacterial soaps, antibacterial hand lotions, and deodorants.
For additional information and a more comprehensive list on the skin care ingredients you should avoid, check out this article by the David Suzuki Foundation on “The Dirty Dozen”.