In the past two decades, more and more of us have begun to question not only what we put in our bodies but also the products we apply topically. US studies show that over 10,000 of the 82,000 cosmetic ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, with approximately 60% of the chemicals we apply to our skin being absorbed into the bloodstream. As a consumer it can be overwhelming and frustrating trying to avoid the various questionable ingredients, and more often than not we are not fully aware of exactly why they are considered harmful. Here's the first part of a 2 part list of some common culprits. Remember, you won't find these in our products.
Parabens are synthetic chemicals used as preservatives in a variety of cosmetic products such as shampoo's, conditioners, cleansers and lotions to inhibit microbial growth. The can be listed as:
Parbens are absorbed through the skin and digestive system into the blood and stored in our fatty tissues. Parabens are suspected hormone disruptors and have been linked to increased breast cancer risk as well as reduced fertility in males. Some studies show little risk in the use of parabens. We feel that until the results are 100% conclusive that parabens are safe, they should be avoided.
Phthalates are chemicals widely used in cosmetic products to hold colour and fragrance and as a plasticizer in products like nail polish. They may be list as:
- dibutyl phthalate
- or, not listed at all
It's wise to look for products that are specifically fragrance and paraben free to avoid phthalates that are not listed. DBP is a suspected hormone disruptor connected to birth and developmental defects and has been banned from use in cosmetic products in the European Union.
Petrochemicals are often listed as:
- mineral oil
and are petroleum by products widely used in the cosmetic industry particularly in moisturizing products. They are used primarily because they are extremely cheap, have no colour or odour and can sit on a store shelf for years without spoiling. Though some claim they may be carcinogenic this has not been substantiated. Mineral oil is an occlusive ingredient, creating a barrier on the skin's surface. Though this property can help to prevent moisture loss, it can also disrupt the skins natural barrier function and renewal processes, leading to congested pores and blackheads for some individuals. Also, this inert substance does not have the nourishing, nutritive qualities of vegetable based oils which the skin is able to metabolize.
Watch for part 2 coming soon.