How many of you have taken the time to read the ingredients of the products that you put on your skin every day? Did you know that many of the ingredients in popular over-the-counter skincare brands/products contain synthetic chemicals that are skin irritants, skin penetrators, carcinogenic (cancer causing), and endocrine disruptors?

Healthy skincare products should include omega-rich seed based oils, antioxidants to protect against free-radicals, and botanicals to fortify the skin barrier.

Here are the Top 12 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl- parabens): 
Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives used widely in cosmetics. The CDC has detected parabens in virtually all Americans bodies. According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutyl parabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin are associated with increased risk of breast cancer and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. They can be found in makeup, body washes, deodarants, shampoos and facial cleansers, food, and pharmaceutical products.

Synthetic colors:
If you take a look at your product label and notice FD&C or D&C, they represent artificial colors. F — representing food and D&C representing drug and cosmetics. These letters precede a color and number (e.g., D&C Red 27 or FD&C blue 1). These synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. Synthetic colors are suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant and are linked to ADHD in children. The European Classification and Labeling considers it a human carcinogen and the European Union has banned it.

Phthalates: 
A growing number of studies indicate that this chemical family damages the male reproductive system. Pregnant women should avoid nail polish containing dibutyl phathalate. Everyone should avoid products with “fragrance” indicating a chemical mixture that may contain phthalates. They are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to the increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females. They can be found in deodorants, perfumes/colognes, hair sprays, and moisturizers.

Fragrance: 
This category is concerning, because what does “fragrance” mean anyway? This term was created to protect a company’s “secret formula.” But as the consumer you could be putting on a concoction that contains tons of chemicals that are hazardous to your health. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. It can be found in many products such as perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturizers.

Triclosan:
Tricolson is widely used antimicrobial chemical that’s a known endocrine disruptor — especially thyroid and reproductive hormones, and a skin irritant. Studies raise concerns that triclosan contributes to making bacteria antibiotic-resistant. There also wasn’t enough supporting evidence that washing with antibacterial soaps containing triclosan provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water. Tricolson can be found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps and deodorants.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES):
This surfactant can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products (think foaming products). SLS’s are known to be skin, lung, and eye irritants. A major concern about SLS is its potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. These combinations can lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage. They can be found in shampoo, body wash/cleanser, mascara, and acne treatment.

Formaldehyde:
Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRP’s) preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth. This chemical was deemed as a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) and has been linked to occupational related cancers: nasal and nasopharyngeal. It is known to cause allergic skin reactions and it may also be harmful to the immune system. It can be found in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments.

Toluene:
A petrochemical derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. You may see it on labels listed as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene. Toluene is a potent solvent able to dissolve paint and paint thinner. It can affect your respiratory system, cause nausea and irritate your skin. Expecting mothers should avoid exposure to toluene vapors as it may cause developmental damage in the fetus. Toluene has also been linked to immune system toxicity. It can be found in nail polish, nail treatments and hair color/bleaching products.

Propylene glycol:
Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent. It’s classified as a skin irritant and penetrator. It has been associated with causing dermatitis as well as hives in humans — these sensitization effects can be manifested at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2 percent. It can be found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.

PEGs/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compounds: 
A family of conditioning and cleaning agents that are known by many names. These synthetic chemicals are frequently contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which the U.S. government considers a probably human carcinogen and which readily penetrates the skin. Cosmetics makers could easily remove 1,4-dioxane from ingredients, but tests documenting its common presence in products show that they often don’t.

Petroleum distillates: 
Petroleum-extracted cosmetics ingredients, commonly found in mascara. They may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities. They are produced in oil refineries at the same time as automobile fuel, heating oil and chemical feedstocks.

Remember that your skin is the largest organ in your body and should be handled with care. While it is impossible to avoid every synthetic chemical in the market, you can do your part to limit the amount of toxins your body is exposed to. Educate yourself by reading product labels and research. Use professional products when available, avoid chemically processed foods, and drink filtered water. Take care of your body now so that you don’t pay for it later with an illness.

Our professional analysis includes a complimentary review of your current skincare regimen. Bring your products to your next appointment and learn more.