10 Toxic Chemicals in Skincare
There isn't much regulation in the makeup and skincare industry when it comes to what chemicals are allowed. Unfortunately, that means that a number of them are potentially toxic. Research has shown that as many as one in eight ingredients can be classified as industrial chemicals. The following list shows ten toxic and unfortunately common chemicals in skincare.
This is a chemical group that classifies as an endocrine disturber which can interfere with hormone balance. Phthalates are used to make products more flexible and to stabilize scent and color. They can be found in lip balm, deodorant and nail polish among other products. The worst part is they may not be identified on the label at all. Instead, they're found under the umbrella term "fragrance", which companies are not required to reveal.
These are commonly found in any type of makeup or skincare that is water-based. You'll find it in lotion, body wash and foundation among others. It may be part of a larger word such as proplyparaben. These are also endocrine disturbers and can cause an increase in estrogen.
This is a chemical solvent found most often in nail polish and hair dye. It is potentially toxic to the immune system and is especially dangerous to women who are pregnant as it can cause birth defects.
4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate:
Sometimes called SLS and SLES, these are chemicals that cause foaming. They are commonly found in toothpaste, hair products and body wash. They tend to trigger skin irritation and for people prone to canker sores in the mouth, these chemicals can make the condition worse. They are also considered to be carcinogenic.
5. Artificial colors:
These can be identified by the letters D or C before a listed color. Considering the amount of makeup that uses color, it's easy to see why this one is hard to avoid. The worst part is that they are carcinogens, and when you consider that they're often found in lip color, it means that they are being ingested on a regular basis.
6. Chemical Sunscreen:
These chemicals may be listed as avobenzone, homosalte, benzophenone, oxybenzone, PABA and exthoxycinnmate. They are considered endocrine disturbers and can cause cancer and cell damage through absorbing UV light. An alternative sunscreen ingredient often found in natural products and not listed as toxic is zinc oxide. The problem with the aforementioned list is that they're not just found in items listed as sunscreen. They're often added to moisturizers, lipstick and lip balm and foundation as well.
This is an antibacterial chemical that was once very common in antibacterial soaps. However, it was banned from use in health care environments in 2016. That doesn't mean it's completely banned though. It's still found in many personal cosmetics. Not only does it help bacteria become more resistant to antibiotics, but it also functions as an endocrine disturber.
This chemical is a preservative, and you might recognize the name as it's one of the chemicals used to preserve dead bodies. It's commonly found in nail polish, hair care products, cleansers and eye makeup. The main risk with this chemical is through inhalation. It can cause asthma and is a known carcinogen.
Most people understand the dangers of lead. As a neurotoxin, it was banned from use in paint. Unfortunately, it's still ending up in cosmetics, including lipstick, toothpaste and foundation. Lead isn't purposely added to cosmetics, but instead gets in through contamination from color additives. You can avoid lead contamination by also avoiding synthetic colors.
10. PEG compounds:
These are compounds based on petroleum, which work to thicken and soften various cosmetics and skincare. These are mainly harmful due to contamination from the carcinogen ethylene oxide. Another way they can be harmful is by facilitating skin penetration from other ingredients. However, if the ingredients are also harmful, then it's like receiving a double dose of toxins.