At LISA NOTO natural cosmetics, the quality of our products is a priority. The importance of making eco-conscious choices in our skincare and makeup products, as well as in our household cleaning products and everything else that surrounds us, is the basis of our motivation to serve you every day.
Using toxic-free cosmetics affects our overall health, well-being and ultimately our quality of life.
To make good choices, it is important to know how to read the labels of the products we buy. Here is a list of ingredients to look for on the ingredient lists of your toiletries in order to avoid them.
Toxic ingredients to avoid in your beauty products:
BHA & BHT: BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are closely related synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers, among other cosmetics. They are also widely used as food preservatives. can induce allergic reactions in the skin. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies BHA as a possible human carcinogen. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has also listed BHA as a Category 1 priority substance, based on evidence that it interferes with hormone function. Last but not least, it is listed as a chemical of potential concern, noting its toxicity to aquatic organisms and potential to bioaccumulate by the the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic.
Coal Tar derivatives: Coal Tar is known as a human carcinogen and is a mix of chemicals that often contains heavy metals such as aluminum and lead. Coal Tar derivatives are often found in many lipsticks and lip glosses meaning that these heavy metals are easily ingested and absorbed into our bodies. On labels, search for p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number in order to avoid it.
DEA (diethanolamine) and DEA compounds: They are used to make cosmetics creamy or sudsy. DEA also acts as a pH adjuster, counteracting the acidity of other ingredients. DEA is mainly found in moisturizers and sunscreens, while cocamide and lauramide DEA are found in soaps, cleansers, and shampoos. DEA and its compounds cause mild to moderate skin and eye irritation i . In laboratory experiments, exposure to high doses of these chemicals has been shown to cause liver cancers and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid. MEA (monoethanolamide) and TEA (triethanolamine) are related chemicals. Like DEA, they can react with other chemicals in cosmetics to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Search for those acronyms on labels to avoid applying them to your skin.
DBP: Dibutyl phthalate (pronounced thal-ate), or DBP, is used mainly in nail products as a solvent for dyes and as a plasticizer that prevents nail polishes from becoming brittle. Phthalates are also used as fragrance ingredients in many other cosmetics, but consumers won’t find these listed on the label. Fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets, so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients. It is absorbed through the skin. It can enhance the capacity of other chemicals to cause genetic mutations, although it has not been shown to be a mutagen itself. In laboratory experiments, it has been shown to cause developmental defects, changes in the testes and prostate, and reduced sperm counts. The European Union classifies DBP as a suspected endocrine disruptor on the basis of evidence that it interferes with hormone function, and as toxic to reproduction on the basis that it may cause harm to the unborn child and impair fertility among other things.
Other phthalates are widely used as fragrance ingredients in cosmetics — in particular diethyl phthalate (DEP). DEP is suspected of interfering with hormone function (endocrine disruption), causing reproductive and developmental problems among other health effects. Because fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets, the best bet to avoid phthalates in fragrances is to use products that are “fragrance-free” (but beware of products marketed as “unscented” — see Fragrance/Parfum).
Formaldehyde: These formaldehyde-releasing agents are used as preservatives in a wide range of cosmetics. These ingredients are a concern because they slowly and continuously release small amounts of formaldehyde, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies as a known human carcinogen. Laboratory studies suggest that formaldehyde in cosmetics can also be absorbed through the skin.
As well, DMDM hydantoin and quaternium-15 can irritate skin and eyes and trigger allergies at low doses.
Formaldehyde is a restricted ingredient in cosmetics in Canada. It cannot be added in concentrations greater than 0.2 per cent in most products. However, there is no restriction on the low-levels of formaldehyde released by DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quarternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, nor on the use of these ingredients themselves.
Parabens: They are the most widely used preservative in cosmetics. They are also used as fragrance ingredients, but consumers won’t find that listed on the label. Fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets, so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients (see also Fragrance/Parfum). An estimated 75 to 90 per cent of cosmetics contain parabens (typically at very low levels)Parabens are used as a preservative in many hair care lines and products, moisturizers, creams and lotions. They are a hormone-disrupting chemical known to “copy-cat” estrogen making it dangerous to children and teens. It has been esti?mated that women are exposed to 50 mg per day of parabens from cosmetics. It easily penetrate the skin.
PEG's: (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases. They are also used in pharmaceuticals as laxatives. They may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane known as a possible human carcinogen. Ethylene oxide can also harm the nervous system and the California Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development.
Propylene glycol (see below) is a related chemical that, like PEGs, functions as a penetration enhancer and can allow harmful ingredients to be absorbed more readily through the skin. It can also cause allergic reactions. Health Canada categorized propylene glycol as a “moderate human health priority” and flagged it future assessment under the government’s Chemicals Management Plan.
Other ethoxylates may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. These ingredients usually have chemical names including the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
Propylene Glycol: Propylene glycol is a related chemical that, like PEGs, functions as a penetration enhancer and can allow harmful ingredients to be absorbed more readily through the skin. It can also cause allergic reactions. Health Canada categorized propylene glycol as a "moderate human health priority" and flagged it future assessment under the government's Chemicals Management Plan.
Mineral Oil: Mineral Oil is a petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. It interferes with skin's ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders and slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Used in many products (baby oil is 100% mineral oil!) Any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH's (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons).
Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.
Lanolin: Lanolin itself is perfectly safe. But cosmetic-grade lanolin can be contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides such as DDT, dieldrin, and lindane, in addition to other neurotoxic pesticides.
Talc: Cosmetic talc is carcinogenic. Inhaling talc and using it in the genital area, where its use is associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer, are the primary ways this substance poses a carcinogenic hazard.
FD&C coloring agents: Don’t be fooled by the seemingly harmless acronym for “Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act,” which mandated the certification of select color additives. Almost all FD&C pigments are carcinogenic. The coal tar deposits the toxins from heavy metal salts directly onto skin, causing irritation and sensitivity. And that is the least extreme of reactions: Certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.
- BHA and BHT.
- Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number.
- DEA-related ingredients (also MEA-TEA).
- Dibutyl phthalate (DBP-DEP).
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quarternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate).
- Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
- PEG compounds.
- Mineral oil.
- FD&C coloring agents.
Most of the information in this article comes from the David Suzuki Foundation website. Stay informed to protect yourself and improve your overall health.
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