The next time you’re in the store aisle designated for hygiene products, pick up a bottle of anything off the shelf and scan down to the ingredients listing.
Can you pronounce many of the words beyond ‘water’ and ‘alcohol?’
When it comes to the common products found on store shelves and how many the average person uses every day, there’s a lot of unwitting chemical mixing going on, says the Going Green Cheap and Easy report.
Think about the lotions, moisturisers, toners, cleansers and makeup you use just on your face on any given day. The chemicals in each of these products are mixed together in new and ‘interesting’ combinations, the effects of which are impossible to study, because everyone is using their own unique combination.
It’s estimated that women use about 12 personal care products per day and men use about seven. Add up the ingredients in each of these products for an idea of the daily chemical assault your body is under.
The truth is the industry isn’t looking out for you, it’s your responsibility to take better care of your skin.
Here are dangerous common chemicals found in a variety of personal care products.
Three dangerous chemicals found in skin care products
#1: Formaldehyde: Considered to be potentially toxic, an allergenic and a carcinogenic, formaldehyde has even been classified as a ‘probable human carcinogen’ by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says the Going Green Cheap and Easy report.
It’s used to preserve tissue specimens in laboratories and it’s this preservation capability that makes it attractive to manufacturers to use in cosmetics and shampoos. Some countries have banned its use in cosmetics.
Formaldehyde is also found in shower gels, nail hardeners and bubble bath.
Read your labels closely, especially baby-care products, which can contain formaldehyde.
Other names that formaldehyde could be listed under include: Quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, methanal, formalin and methylene oxide.
#2: Lead acetate: This chemical can be found in hair dyes, hair-styling products and scalp treatments. It’s a known toxin, damaging to the reproductive system and suspected in having an effect on foetal development, as well.
Lead acetate is toxic to the nervous system and possibly carcinogenic. It’s also considered toxic to both humans and the environment in that it accumulates at a greater rate than it can be broken down. It’s a type of lead, after all.
Use natural hair dyes, such as henna, for darker hair colour. For lighter hair, applying lemon juice can give natural highlights.
#3: Phthalates: These chemicals are commonly found in fragrances and are known to be hormone disruptors.
They’ve also been linked to birth defects, so pregnant women should be especially careful when choosing products containing fragrance additives.
Phthalates are found in deodorant, nail polish, lotion and hair care products. However, they’re not always listed in the ingredients.
A good rule to follow would be to question any products that are scented.
There you have it. Next time you’re shopping for skin care products read the label closely.