There are so many skin care brands out there that miss the mark when it comes to avoiding the most unwanted chemicals.
Their products might have a nice feel, scent, or look well branded, but low and behold: the label indicates they are not truly green or participating in what many people refer to as "green washing".
Yes it's true that some natural or organic products might not have as long of a shelf life, but they are so much better for you.
In their everyday life, people are exposed to a great range of chemicals most of which occur naturally in the environment, but others are derived from human activities, being present in foods, water and various daily use products.
Some of the ingredients do in fact meet certain regulatory requirements, however, the use of many substances is allowed within certain limits, due to their toxicity at higher concentrations.
Other important aspects should be considered as, for instance, the possibility of long-term effects. Another issue with using these ingredients might be that they might cause some adverse side effects, like an allergic reaction or dermatitis.
Unfortunately the scariness factor increases when you consider the continuous exposure and daily use of some chemicals.
Using a wide range of personal care products with unwanted chemicals can cause the so-called “cocktail effect” due to the synergistic interaction of different substances and, also, the “additive effect” because of the presence of the same ingredient in many products.
Our study shows that the following ingredients are to preferably be avoided:
Limonene: This is on the list because it can cause skin irritation. It is not toxic but can cause some allergic reactions in a moderate amount of people.
Linalool: Just like Limonene, it is not considered a toxic but has been known to cause some adverse reactions to users.
Citronellol: This falls into the same catagory as Limonene and Linalool. Quite possible it will cause a negative reaction to your skin.
Geraniol: Geraniol is a moderate skin irritant and can cause allergies. Exposed to air, its oxidation products are more irritant and allergenic.
Coumarin: Coumarin is considered a toxin and is banned in the US.
Hexyl Cinnamal: This is a possible human immune system toxicant or allergen.
Phenoxyethanol: Used as an anti-bacterial in cosmetics and stabilizer in perfumes, phenoxyethanol is actually very harmful. It is harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin.
Sodium Benzoate: On it's own Sodium Benzoate is not considered toxic, unless it is formulated with Vitamin C. When sodium benzoate is combined with Vitamin C, a chemical reaction occurs that forms benzene. Benzene has been identified as a carcinogen.
Methylparaben: A number of studies show that methylparaben may cause cancerous skin damage. ... A similar study suggested that skin damage from exposure to sunlight while using a product containing methylparaben might lead to the formation of cancer.
MI/MCI: Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI), especially when paired with methylisothiazolinone (MI), is an effective preservative but in high concentrations it can be a skin irritant and even cause chemical burns.
PEGs: PEGs contain impurities, which include ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. These two are known carcinogens and respiratory irritants. Long-term exposure to ethylene oxide can cause serious health consequences, including damage to the nervous system.
Acrylate Copolymer: The International Agency of Research on Cancer as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have classified acrylates as a possible human carcinogen.
Petrolatum: When properly refined, petrolatum has no known health concerns, although it has it's environmental concerns. However, petrolatum is often not fully refined in the US, which means it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals.
Polysorbates: Despite the approval of polysorbate 20 by the CIR Expert Panel, there are concerns about the presence of ethylene oxide in this ingredient. This is because the process of ethoxylation may lead to contamination with 1,4-dioxane, a potentially dangerous by-product. In fact, 1,4-dioxane is a known animal carcinogen that penetrates readily into the skin. This ingredient has also been linked with skin allergies.
BHT: Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a chemical cousin to BHA that is also listed as “generally recognized as safe.” It, too, is added to food as a preservative. BHT is not a listed carcinogen, but some data have shown that it does cause cancer in animals.
Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is also known as Oxybenzone. When oxybenzone is absorbed by your skin, it can cause an eczema-like allergic reaction that can spread beyond the exposed area and last long after you're out of the sun. Experts also suspect that oxybenzone disrupts hormones (i.e., mimics, blocks, and alters hormone levels) which can throw off your endocrine system.
Benzophenone-1: Benzophenone is on the Proposition 65 list because it can cause cancer. Exposure to benzophenone may increase the risk of cancer.
Benzophenone-3: Benzophenone is on the Proposition 65 list because it can cause cancer. Exposure to benzophenone may increase the risk of cancer .
Cocamide DEA: According to the FDA, cocamide DEA is perfectly safe to use in personal hygiene products and cosmetics. However, an assessment by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) listed the chemical as known to cause cancer.
Toluene: You can be exposed to toluene by breathing it in, getting it on your skin, getting it splashed into your eyes, or swallowing it. Toluene exposure may cause liver and kidney damage. Toluene affects the central nervous system, eyes, skin, respiratory system, liver, kidneys.
There are many ingredients out there that might be approved by the FDA, but it's good to do your own research. Only rely on medical study information. A blogger's opinion might not coincide with actual study results, and someone's adverse reaction to an ingredient might not mean that it's bad for you or that you will have a problem with it. Do your research and if it's considered safe, try it to see if your skin responds well to it.
Do you know of some ingredients that you'd like to add to the list? Comment here and let me know!
Jeanette / Owner & Formulator