5 Harmful Ingredient To Avoid In Body Care Products
of whether you have dry or normal skin, I am pretty sure you use body lotion on
a daily basis. What’s more, you probably apply it two times a day – in the
morning and in the evening. By mentioning all this, I am not trying to say it’s
a bad habit (it can’t be, because it keeps your skin elastic and hydrated) but
are you sure that your favorite body
lotion is safe for use?
the fact that body care products are the ones we use the most amount of, and
the fact that our skin absorbs approximately 60% of what we put on it, it’s
very careless to just slather body lotion all over our bodies, without at least
checking what’s on its ingredient lists. Unfortunately, many of us still do it.
thousands of chemicals used in personal care products and you can only guess
how many of them enter our bodies. Even though all this may sound scary, there
is a simple way to make sure that you are not threatening your health – read
the labels and make informed choices. Today, we’d like to help you get familiar
with 5 of the most commonly used ingredients in body lotions that are big no-no if you
don’t want to sacrifice your health in the name of beauty.
also known as Petrolatum or Petroleum jelly is the most widely used ingredient in the cosmetic industry, after water. It’s extremely cheap and easy to obtain,
which is why it can be found on virtually every ingredient list – starting from
facial creams and hair serum and ending at body lotions and shampoos.
is a distillation product of petroleum that has no color, no odor + relatively
long shelf life. Manufacturers love it because of its extremely low price and
because it is considered to be superb moisturizing agent (which is questionable,
but that’s a whole other story and we’ll talk about it some other time).
though mineral oil is GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by FDA, if not purified
well, it might contain traces of PAHs (most often benzene), known to be
carcinogenic and extremely harmful for the human health. Some scientist
categorize mineral oil as xenohormone (means “foreign”) and claim that it can
interfere with the normal function of your endocrine system, affecting
negatively your immunity.
So, speaking of good moisturizing agents – trust me,
there are many others (especially natural and organic) that are way better than mineral oil – ones that do not
carry any risks for your health and at the same time, do their job petty well.
Are you still using regular skin care? Read this!
PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are a
family of ingredients derived from petroleum and preferred by manufacturers
because of their versatile application. PEGs function as
emollients (help soften and lubricate the skin), as emulsifiers (allow
water-based and oil-based ingredients to mix properly), and as vehicles that
facilitates the absorption of active ingredients. So far so good, but are they
While it is
true that PEGs have very low toxicity, their use in personal care products should
be avoided because of the high risk of contamination with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane
– human carcinogens that easily penetrates the skin and gets into the
bloodstream. Besides, ethylene oxide may interfere with the normal human
development and also – to have neurotoxic effect on the brain.
To get a
rough idea of the probability to stumble upon contaminated products, we’ll give
you the following example: In a study of personal care products marketed as “natural”
and “bio” (not certified by any official certifying body), U.S. researchers found 1,4-dioxane
as a contaminant in 46 of 100 products analyzed. Enough said.
In the past
few years a lot has been said and written in regards to the use of parabens in
personal care products, primarily because of their questionable safety. Due to
this, many companies started labeling their products as “Paraben-free”, tricking
customers into thinking that what they buy is 100% safe. Sadly, most of the
products that are parabens-free contain phenoxyethanol. Phenoxyethanol is
relatively cheap preservative that limits bacteria growth and is often used as
substitute of parabens or in conjunction with them.
The primary problem
with phenoxyethanol is that it is highly irritating. Not only it can cause
severe allergic reactions, but it is also suspected to trigger eczema in susceptible
individuals i.e. people who are genetically predisposed to develop eczema at
some point in their life. What’s even worse is that according to some sources,
parabens can actually increase the negative effects phenoxyethanol has. So,
next time you reach for a parabens-free product, make sure to check the label
for phenoxyethanol, before you spend your money on something that is not as
good as you think.
How many of
the products in your bathroom have “Perfume” or “Fragrance”, mentioned
somewhere on the ingredient list? Quite a few, I suppose.
As a result
of the lack of regulation in the cosmetic industry, in many cases,
manufacturers are not required to specify the exact type of ingredient they use,
but instead, are allowed to generalize. Sadly, this is the case with fragrances.
Fragrance is a term created to protect a
company’s “secret formula” i.e. their own proprietary blend of scents. Nowadays
fragrance is used to describe more than 3,000 compounds, many of which are
known allergens and/or xenohormones. Some are even suspected to
have potential side effects on the reproductive and the respiratory system. So,
is there a way for you to find out what is the exact type of fragrance the
manufacturer used? Unfortunately, no.
If you don’t
feel like putting your health at risk, look for fragrance-free body lotions or
ones that contain essential oils. For those of you who have hypersensitive skin
fragrance-free products are recommended, because essential oils may irritate
your skin. Overall, essential oils are great, but not all individuals tolerate
them well. Beautifully scented body lotions are pleasant to use, but they are
not for everyone. Keep that in mind.
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in combo with its “relatives” methylchloroisothiazolinone and
benzisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone (referred to as MIT) is yet another
very powerful and widely used preservative, loved by the industry, primarily because
of its low cost.
In spite of
the fact that methylisothiazolinone is indeed very potent biocide (chemical substance
capable of killing/suppressing the growth of bacteria and fungi) it is also “famous”
for being strong irritant and sensitizer. Methylisothiazolinone can cause
allergic reactions, contact dermatitis and even nerve damage.
In the past
few years, there have been a lot of discussions in regards to MIT’s safety and
after the conduction of several studies, it’s been stated that MIT has toxic
effect on developing neurons, even in relatively low concentrations. This led
to certain changes in the regulatory requirements towards European manufacturers,
in terms of maximum concentration allowed for leave-on products (like hand
creams and body lotions). Do manufacturers stick to these requirements? – We
can only guess.
long-term neurotoxic effects of chronic, low-concentration exposure have not
been studied thoroughly, we’d rather not take the risk. Better safe than sorry.
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