Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What's in Your Beauty Products?

Have you wondered lately what those long technical names printed on the bottles of beauty products mean? Here's a list of what some of them translate into and what potential hazards they impose:

Acrylamides - These are thickeners. They stabilize a liquid and add richness and body. Restricted in European beauty products, they are suspected of being carcinogenous.

Alcohol denat or denatured alcohol - This is a petrochemical by-product that often contains benzyl alcohol. It is poisonous if taken internally. Used in commercial perfumes and also as a solvent, they should be avoided by those with sensitive skin.

Aluminum - Check your antipersperants and deoderants. Aluminum irrites skin and is linked to lung disease and Alzheimer's Disease.

Benzyl Alchohol - It's a petrochemical that is harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. It is extremely irritating to the eyes, skin and resperitory system.

Bismuth Oxychloride - This is in commercial cosmetics but it is a by-product of lead and copper refining. Yes! I said lead! It's a heavy metal - heavy metals are linked to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

BHA and BHT - Helps to break down of Vitamin D and also inccreases lipid and cholesterol levels in the blood. May cause cancer.

Diethanolamine - Often abbreviated as DEA, it's used as a skin softener. If combined with some other ingredients, it could be cancer causing. Though it's supposed to be a skin softener, it is a skin irritant.

Ethoxylates - These are chemical compounds that are made as reaction products involving ethylene oxide. They might include these common ingredients: Laureth, Myreth, Ceteth, Ceteareth, and Glycereth. Again, there is question as to whether they cause cancer.

Formaldehyde - Oooh. Most of you know what formaldehyde is used for in the world of undertaking - yes, as embalming fluid! You might not realize that it's in beauty and skin products! It's a preservative and is a known irritant and potential carcinogen. You might not recognize that it's in your products because it's quite often hidden in other ingredients. It's been banned in Sweden and Japan.

Fragrance - Sounds innocent enough, doesn't it? For some, fragrance can cause an allergic reaction. The problem here is that companies are not required to list the ingredients in the fragrance. They often contain large quantities of toxins and chemicals and you don't even know it. When you see the word "fragrance-free," be aware that the word means something different from what you think it does. What it actually means is that fragrance chemicals have been added to the product to mask the natural aromas of the ingredients. This tricks you into thinking it's natural. It's not.

Glycol - This is quite often used  as a solvent for preservatives and other icky stuff. Glycols are often irritating and harmful to skin. Some glycols are: Propylene, Butylene, Pentylene, Hexylene, and Caprylyl Glycol.

MMP - This is Matrix Metalloproteinase, an enzyme to break down collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. While they are used in wound healing, they can also cause early aging of the skin and promote tumor cell growth.

Methylisothiazolinone - With the craze over antibacterial products, especially with flu season, you might want to rethink your previous urge to buy things to kill germs. To think that you'll be protected from harmful germs found around the house by using products with Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) in them is erroneous. Actually, they do more harm than good, especially in the very young. This chemical is an antimicrobial agent found in soaps and other personal care products - even hand creams. Industrial workers use them like crazy because, again, they think they're protecting themselves from germs. What it actually does is inhibit the development of neuron structures that are absolutely essential  for transmitting signals between cells. After using MIT over a long course of time, a developing nervous system can be severely damaged. Read this article for some basic information about this.

Phthalates - These are synthetic chemical compounds mostly used as softening agents and also for fragrance production. Check what is in the plastics in your home, as they are potentially carcinogenic. Check out squeeze bottles, shower curtains and other soft plastics.

Parabens - Ah, they're everywhere. Parabens are synthetic compounds used as preservates. They're in just about every commercially created beauty product. Other names include: Methylparabens, Propylparabens, Butylparabens, and Ethylparabens. They often cause rashes and other allergic reactions. Interestingly enough, they've been found in breast cancer tissue and now researchers think they might be the cause of many other health problems.

PEG, or Polyethylene Glycol - It's a water soluble polymer used to emulsify and plasticize. Potentially carcinogenic.

Petrochemicals - These are mentioned in some of the other chemicals already listed. They're derived from petroleum and/or natural gas. Yeah, and it's in your beauty products.

Petrolatum - Again, it's petroleum in another form - petroleum jelly. Outside of the fact that it can clog pores, it's been linked to ADD and dyslexia. It might be carcinogenic, it causes dry skin, can make one dizzy, and contributes to respiratory toxins.

Phenoxyethanol - This is a synthetic ether alcohol preservative. Dermatology experts say that it is the number cause of contact dermatitis.

Silicone - This is an additive to provide emolliency. They can be harmful to the skin. Watch for these names: Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methicone, and Phenyl Trimethicone.

Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate - This is what caused my son's painful boils on his chest some time back. Used in soaps, cleansers, and shampoos (not to mention toothpaste), it causes a lot of foaming. Would you believe that I found it in the generic forms of Metamucil? People are ingesting the stuff! People also have the erroneous belief that suds are what clean. NOT TRUE! These two chemicals are so strong that they are used in mechanical garages as degreasers. They are rapidly absorbed into the heart, liver, brain, and eyes and can cause long term effects. They have even been linked to cataracts in adults and inhibited development in the eyes of children. I can't say it enough - DANGEROUS!

Synthetic Dyes - We get these from petroleum - again. Because the molecular structure of these dyes are so minute, they easily pass into the brain. Have you found yourself turning numbers backwards when reading or writing? Does your skin peel? Do you have ADD symptoms? The most common allergy to dyes is to Red 40. Natural dyes, like indigo, are not dangerous like this.

Talc - This has asbestos in it. We all know that asbestos is a carcinogen - if you've been exposed to it you can find a lawyer anywhere to represent you in a lawsuit! Never use talc on a baby. It is linked to ovarian cancer and might be toxic to the resperatory system.

TEA (Triethanolamine) - Contains ammonium salts, which irritate the eyes and is mildly toxic.

Information gathered from Good for You Girls and www.naturalnews.com

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