Cosmetic Chemical Concoctions | Toxicity in Makeup & Skincare


Do you remember watching your mom put on makeup when you were a little girl, or the first time you put on mascara? We all have our go-to's when leaving the house - mine are mascara and a little concealer, along with my coconut oil I keep in the car to apply as a lip gloss when I'm out.

We love our makeup and hair products, and there's nothing wrong with that! My mom always said that makeup is made to enhance the beauty that God has already given us, and she is right! But while using cosmetics and skincare is perfectly OK, the ingredients inside them may not be. Many of them not only irritate our skin (ironic, huh?), but disrupt our endocrine system, hormone balance, and could even cause cancer. Even our children are affected by the products we use. 

Europe has banned over 1,300 chemicals that we use here in America each and every day. Over there, it's considered harmful until proven otherwise, where as over here, it's the opposite. The FDA has only banned less than 10.

Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid

These chemicals are found in most all of our beauty and skincare products like makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos, cleansers, scrubs, sunscreens, glosses, perfumes, and more. They're seriously in everything. Please read your labels and do your own research after skimming this article!

Parabens - Though there is no direct link between parabens and cancer, these chemicals mimic estrogen, and with an over-abundance of estrogen in our bodies, tumors and breast cancer can form. They're used in beauty products to preserve and prevent bacteria growth, and extend shelf life of the product.

Synthetic colors - When you see "FD&C" or "D&C" followed by numbers and letters in the ingredients list, it stands for "Food, Drug, and Cosmetics". Something like "FD&C Red 27" will be what you see on the label. These are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources and are suspected to be a human carcinogen. 

Synthetic colors have been linked to ADHD in children.

Fragrance - This word really means "secret concoction". The companies hide behind this word, because they know they don't have to tell you what's in it. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, respiratory distress, neurological problems, and effects on the reproductive system. Major hormone disruptor. Only about 20% of the 4,000 chemicals used as fragrances have been tested for toxicity.

"Fragrance in the workplace is the new second-hand smoke" - University of Maryland researcher. 

Phthalates - These chemicals are solvents used for flexibility and as a softening agent in lotions and things. They're also used for in plastics, making the plastic flexible and harder to break. They also hold color and perfume really well, so they're used in things that need to smell good or be really colorful, like your child's rubber duckies. Phthalates and are found in many things, not just cosmetics. They've been linked to breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive defects in both females and males. These are undisclosed on many products because it's added to the fragrances category - and not listed as part of the ingredients. Phthalates can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, particularly in testicular development. The state of Maine has listed 13 particular phthalates as high-concerning chemicals because of their endocrine-disrupting effects. One of the very most concerning phthalates to avoid is called DEHP, which can be found even in our mac and cheese. Processed and fast foods are the highest offenders. This food goes through conveyor belts, tubes, and packaging processes in the warehouses where they're created so they pick up all of these chemicals along the way. The more fast food you eat, the more likely you are to ingest these dangerous chemicals. The good news is that these phthalates don't stay in our body for long, but the problem is that they're everywhere so minimizing our exposure is the tricky part. Eat fresh fruits and veggies and meat from humanely-raised animals, choosing organic when possible. By doing this, you can lower your phthalate level in your body by 50% in just a matter of days. Secondly, cut back on how many personal care products you use daily. Also, never heat plastic in the microwave or dishwasher. (Try and ditch your plastic food containers all together!) There's a greater chance of them seeping into your food if you heat the plastic. 

Most of the DEHP in our bodies comes from what we eat. A diet high in meat and dairy doubles our exposure to phthalates.

Triclosan - Another endocrine disruptor, especially thyroid and reproductive, this skin irritator is added to products as an antimicrobial chemical. It's found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps, and deodorants too. Studies have shown that this chemical may make bacteria antibiotic-resistant. It was developed in the 1960's to keep bacterial infection out of hospitals, but now it's become a common ingredient in our self care products. Triclosan has been linked to a rise in allergies too. In September of 2017, the FDA ruled the ingredient to be unsafe, so products should have phased it out by now, but be sure to check your products you currently use for it, especially since some products have warnings that the haven't been approved by the FDA. In our house, we use Young Living's toothpaste and also Tom's brand.

Triclosan is still on the market in soaps, popular brands like Colgate which uses .3% of it in their products to "fight harmful plaque germs".

SLS and SLES - Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates are in over 90% of our self-care and cleaning products, especially the ones that foam. Sulfates irritate the lungs, skin, and eyes, and could form nitrosamines (a carginaogen) when combining with other chemicals. These combos of chemicals can lead to kidney and respiratory damage. Sulfates can be found in mascaras, body washes, acne treatments, and more... It's a cheap sulfate in soaps that we find in the soaps at the car wash, car engine degreasers, and your shampoo and soap. It dissolves the oils in your skin, which can cause a drying effect. Wonder why you have dry skin? This could be why. Let your body's natural oils heal and moisturize your skin. Sulfates that dry out the skin leave our skin more susceptible for environmental contaminants to access our lower sensitive skin layers more easily.

shampoos are what's most frequently reported to the fda.

Formaldehyde - These and Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRP's) are used to prevent bacteria growth. The IARC (international carcinogen research company) deemed it a human carcinogen. It's been linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancers, and known to cause harm to the immune system and cause skin reactions. Formaldehyde is also present in many childhood vaccines, added to kill any unwanted bacteria and viruses that may contaminate the vaccine while it's being produced. Most of it is removed from the vaccine before it's packaged, but some of the substance is undoubtedly left behind.

Formaldehyde promotes risk for ALS and other nervous system problems, as well as being linked to asthma and allergies in kids.

Toluene - This chemical comes from petroleum and coal tar sources. It may be listed on the label as "benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, or methylbenzene", found in nail products and hair dyes, used as a solvent to dissolve other substances like resins and plasticizers. Toluene is a clear and colorless liquid that vaporizes when it's exposed to air at room temperature. It can have an affect on your respiratory system, brain, kidneys, and lungs, impair immune function, cause nausea, and irritate your skin. Pregnant moms should especially avoid it because it may cause damage to the growing baby. It's found in nail polish, nail treatments, and hair color or highlighting products. The most common form of exposure is through inhalation. Try to buy paints and adhesives that don't contain toluene, and ventilate your working space when painting, cleaning, painting your nails... etc.

Long-term exposure can affect the nervous system, and exposure to high concentrations can result in loss of consciousness and death.

Propylene Glycol - This is an alcohol most often used as a skin-conditioning agent or toner. It also increases your skin's propensity to absorb whatever it comes into contact with. But it can cause hives and dermatitis, with even as little concentration as 2%. This is found in hairsprays, creams, sunscreen, makeup, shampoo. This is also the in the liquid that turns to vapor in e-cigarettes. There are some controvertial views on whether or not this chemical is particularly harmful, so feel free to do your own research, as I've found some sites to say that it should be avoided due to skin irritation, and other sites that say it doesn't affect the skin much, and leaves the body pretty quickly with no bio-accumulation (buildup over time). So see for yourself; if you have particularly sensitive skin, maybe it's something you want to omit from your daily skincare routine.

PG is found in Covergirl mascara, jergins skin moisturizer, glade aerosol, windex, colgate toothpaste, and more...

Sunscreen - If you don't swap anything else, swap your sunscreen for something natural. Sunscreen is terrible. Sunscreening chemicals "may" cause cellular damage and cancer in the body. Common names for these chemicals that absorb UV light include "benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate, and ethoxycinnmate. 

a study conducted by the environmelta working group in 2017 found that nearly 75% of tested sunscreens didn't even work, and most contained harmful ingredients.

Where to start checking your ingredients:

Visit sites like these to rate your products based what's in 'em.

And as always, if you aren't sure about a product or ingredient, when in doubt - don't but it. I get so frustrated when I research all of this, wondering how and why the FDA allows all of these chemicals to make their way into our products and foods. (Um, because cancer and health problems are a BILLION dollar industry, but more on that at a later date.....) But it's overwhelming and enraging to me. But then I remember that to take a stand against this, I (and you!) can do these things:

1. Share what we've found with others, educating them on what many of us are blind to, myself included until I knew! We don't know until we know, ya know?

2. Stop buying the products! Choose alternative ways by either creating your own products out of safe and natural ingredients and oils, or by spending your money on trusted brands. By investing elsewhere, we are taking a stand and making a statement. Let's work together to put them out of business!

3. Stay the course. Companies will always be trying to find ways to make more money, entice us to buy the latest and greatest thing, but if we just stay focused on the health and betterment of ourselves and our families, we won't be sucked in! Invest in companies you trust, make choices you feel confident in, and always remember - it's a journey. Rome wasn't built in a day, I always say. Take one step at a time, one day at a time! There are multiple factors to our health and wellness, and only God knows the length of time we'll be on this earth. We're only in charge of making the quality of our lives well, and taking care of these wondrous bodies and planet he's given us. So don't stress about getting cancer from your toothpaste! Just chuck it if you need to, and use an alternative instead from now on. Relax, it's all good!