If you've been wondering how to protect yourself and your family from toxic chemicals in personal care products, look no further. You might be especially interested in the ten poisonous ingredients to avoid. Our simple guide breaks them down to bite-sized, manageable chunks.
We understand that chemical names can be confusing. We will help you familiarize yourself with them so you can recognize the ones to avoid while just glancing over product labels.
We want to empower you to make informed choices as you purchase beauty products. It's scary to think that something you use on your face could give you cancer or complicate your hormones. But when you know better, you can do better and protect yourself and your family.
Realistically speaking, we might not manage to eliminate all toxic chemicals from our lives, but we can certainly reduce them by using organic products.
These are a group of chemicals that have earned their place in the 'notorious ingredients' list. That is why these days, you see many skincare products labeled as "Paraben-free." A brief history:
The 1920's: Pharmaceutical companies began using a group of chemicals referred to collectively as 'Parabens' to preserve products. Soon food processing companies also started using them to preserve food products.
1981: Findings from an FDA report indicate that parabens are used in over 13,200 beauty product formulations.
1998: A study is published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (a scientific journal), which reveals that some Parabens are estrogenic. This means they affect hormonal balance by competing with estrogen for binding sites in the body.
2002: A report in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology sheds light on estrogenic effects of parabens, particularly the inhibition of specific estrogen receptors in the presence of high concentrations of parabens.
2004: According to a study published in The Journal of Applied Toxicology, higher concentrations of parabens are found in human breast tissue with tumors than breast tissue without.
Parabens (Beyond Skin Care):
Why are Parabens commonly used in personal care products? They suppress microbial growth in shampoo, conditioner, perfume, toothpaste, soaps, and other hygiene products. Apart from topical products, they're used in food products as well.
An excerpt from the 1998 study: "The average daily intake of parabens in food is estimated to be 1–16 mg/kg for infants and 4–6 mg/kg for persons aged two years or older."
As you can see, Parabens can (and are) making their way into our body systems in various ways. Don't be alarmed. By adopting a whole foods diet, you can eliminate or at least reduce your Paraben exposure from food. Go for organic produce, nuts, seeds, dried beans and grains, without additional flavoring. Avoid food that's sold in boxes and cans as much as possible.
On the labels, look for:
Phenoxyethanol: Not a Good Alternative to Parabens
Parabens have been proven to be harmful without a doubt. As an alternative, companies are now using Phenoxyethanol to preserve their products. It's supposedly safer, but several studies have already shown it to be toxic, even in moderate concentrations. Some of the adverse effects include:
Reproductive and developmental complications
Contact dermatitis (skin irritation)
Brain and nervous system damage
In Japan, Phenoxyethanol has been outlawed as an ingredient in all cosmetics, while most other countries have limited its use to 1% concentration.
So, What Should You Do?
There are several natural preservatives available! SOLE TOSCANA uses naturally derived Sodium Benzoate to preserve our products to help keep them fresher, longer.
It's awesome that instead of endocrine disruption, brain damage, and reproductive complications, you can use natural Sodium Benzoate to keep your products fresh. Of course, the shelf life might be shorter than products that use synthetic preservatives, but we think that's okay. Your health comes first!
Interestingly, Phthalates are often not listed on the label. When companies indicate "fragrance" in their ingredients, they're not obligated to disclose what the constituents of that fragrance are. Why? This is classified as 'proprietary information'. If you want to avoid this harmful group of chemicals, stay away from products with 'fragrance' on the label altogether.
Which Products Contain Phthalates?
It's difficult to say for sure. A wide range of products contain phthalates such as your everyday body lotion, deodorant, nail polish, and scented lip balm.
Phthalates are pretty good at mimicking human hormones, with disastrous effects.
Males are at risk of infertility, reproductive system issues, and decrease in testosterone levels as reported in a study by the University of Maryland.
Women are prone to endometriosis and premature delivery when exposed to Phthalates.