The 10 Most Unwanted Ingredients In Personal Care Products

Are you aware that most of the shampoos and personal care products used today contain cancer-causing agents and other health compromising substances? Here is an overview of the Top 10 Unwanted Ingredients commonly found in shampoos and skin care products and their possible side effects.

1. Isopropyl Alcohol – Isopropyl Alcohol is a solvent and denaturant, which translates into a poisonous substance that changes another substance’s natural qualities. Isopropyl Alcohol is found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances and many other cosmetics. It is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac. According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis and coma.

2. Mineral Oil – Mineral Oil is a byproduct of the process that turns petroleum into gasoline. It is commonly used, for example baby oil consists of 100% Mineral Oil. Petroleum derivatives coat the skin comparable to a plastic wrap. The skin’s natural immune barrier is disrupted as this plastic coating inhibits its ability to breathe and absorb. The solvent in firm skin’s ability to release toxins is impeded, which can promote acne and other disorders. This process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing the skin to prematurely age.

3. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) – Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is used in making cleansers to dissolve oil and grease as well as used to thicken products. Because of their effectiveness, Polyethylene Glycols are often used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners and yet many personal care products contain them. Polyethylene Glycols  contribute to stripping the natural moisture factor, leaving the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially carcinogenic.

4. Propylene Glycol (PG) – Propylene Glycol (PG) is one of the most widely used cosmetic ingredients. It is a synthetic obtained from the hydration of propylene oxide, a petroleum derivative. It absorbs moisture, acts as a solvent and emollient. It can cause allergic and toxic reactions. Propylene Glycol acts as a surfactant or wetting agent and is the active component in antifreeze.

There is no difference between the Propylene Glycol used for industrial purposes and the one used in personal care products. It is used to break down protein and cellular structure, which is what the skin is made of, and yet it is found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shave, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpaste, even in food processing. As it is produced by fermentation of yeast and carbohydrates, it can be called a carbohydrate when used in food.

Because of Propylene Glycol’s ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with this toxic substance. The Material Safety Data Sheets warn against skin contact, as Propylene Glycol has systemic consequences such as brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. Consumers are not protected because they are not informed of the danger. While industrial size containers of propylene glycol have warnings to avoid contact with skin, there are no warning labels on products such as stick deodorants where the concentration is greater than in most industrial applications.

5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – Used as detergents and surfactants, these closely related compounds are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. Yet both SLS and SLES are used more widely as one of the major ingredients in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioner and about 90% of all shampoos and products that foam. Mark Fearer in an article, Dangerous Beauty, says “… in tests, animals that were exposed to SLS experienced -eye damage, along with depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and corrosion and death.” According to the American College of Toxicology states both SLS and SLES can cause malformation in children’s eyes. Other research has indicated SLS may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties.

It is possibly the most dangerous of all ingredients in personal care products. Research has shown that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, when combined with other chemicals, can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens, which cause the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate-contaminated food. According to the American College of Toxicity report, ”Sodium Lauryl Sulfate stays in the body for up to five days…” Other studies have indicated, that “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate easily penetrates through the skin and enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, lungs and brain. This poses serious questions regarding its potential health threat through its use in shampoos, cleansers and toothpaste.”

6. Chlorine – You will not see chlorine as an ingredient on personal care product labels, yet it is important to protect your skin and when bathing, showering and swimming in chlorinated water. The fact that chlorine dries skin and hair is one undesirable effect. Even more concerning are the potential health implications.

According to Doris J. Rapp, M.D., author of Is This Your Child’s World? chlorine exposure through tap water, showers, pools, laundry products, cleaning agents, food processing, sewage systems and many others, can effect health by contributing to asthma, hay fever, anemia, bronchitis, circulatory collapse, confusion, delirium, diabetes, dizziness, irritation of the eye, mouth, nose throat, lung, skin and stomach, heart disease, high blood pressure and nausea. It is also a possible cause of cancer.

7. DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (momoethanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine) – The Ethanolamines are chemicals, which disrupt hormones and form cancer causing nitrates and nitrosamines. Almost all personal care products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers contain them. On the show, CBS This Morning, Roberta Baskin revealed that a recent government report shows MEA and DEA are readily absorbed in the skin. Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois said, “repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancers.” John Bailey, who oversees the cosmetic division for the FDA said the new study is especially important since “the risk equation changes significantly for children.”

Monoethanolamine (MEA) and Diethanolamine (DEA) are usually listed on the ingredient label in conjunction with the compound being neutralized, for example as Cocamide DEA or MEA or Lauramide DEA.  For example, the name Cocamide DEA means, that part of it is derived from coconut fatty acids and as a part of surfactant formulas, it emulsifies and can improve the density and stability of foam.

8. FD & C Color Pigments – Artificial colors are generally labeled as FD&C or D&C followed by a number. Although the FDA approves them for use in drugs, cosmetics and sometimes food, most are toxic. Many color pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and even death according to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Debra Lynn Dadd says in Home Safe Home: ”Colors that can be used in foods, drugs, and cosmetics are made from coal tar. There is a great deal of controversy about their use, because animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.”

Other approved dyes should be avoided for your health and the environment: Azo Dyes, which can cause tumors, Nitro Dyes, associated with liver damage and lack of oxygen in the blood, and Quinolone, containing formaldehyde which is highly toxic and carcinogenic.

9. Fragrance – When you see the word Fragrance by itself on a label, it is an artificial and synthetic scent and can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients.

Fragrance is present in most deodorants, shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care and baby products. Many of the compounds in Fragrance are carcinogenic or toxic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors have shown that exposure to Fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes.

Source: Home Safe Home

10. Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin – Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoinin  are just two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde, also called formaldehyde-donors. According to the Mayo Clinic, formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep. It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma. Serious side effects include weakening of the immune system and cancer. Nearly all brands of skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde-releasing ingredients.

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