Are harmful chemicals hiding in your skincare products?
Have you ever stopped to think about what’s in the skincare products that you slather on your face every day? It’s so easy to get swept away by a product’s packaging, price tag, and promises of a better complexion without considering what lies beneath it all. But there could be more than just natural and beneficial ingredients inside those bottles – some products are hiding hazardous chemicals and ingredients that can have serious implications for our health.
So, what are the usual harmful chemicals found in skincare products?
When it comes to skincare, it is vital to be aware of the ingredients in the products you are using. Unfortunately, many skincare products contain harmful ingredients that can worsen skin conditions such as acne, redness, and irritation. Commonly found in makeup, cleansers, lotions, sunscreens, and other products, many chemicals can potentially cause skin damage.
One of the most prevalent harmful chemicals found in skincare products is Parabens. Parabens are preservatives commonly added to creams, lotions, and cosmetics to prevent bacteria growth and extend their shelf life. However, studies have linked Parabens to skin irritation, allergic reactions, and an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Therefore, it is essential to find skincare products free of parabens.
Another frequent and harmful chemical found in skincare products is Phthalates. Often found in fragrances, these chemicals are used to increase the scent's staying power. Unfortunately, the chemicals can be absorbed through the skin leading to a possible increased risk of asthma and infertility. Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to the skincare products' labels to ensure they are free of Phthalates.
Another hazardous additive often found in skincare products is Formaldehyde. This chemical is used as a preservative and can be coupled with other ingredients, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate. It can cause skin irritation, respiratory irritation and is known to have potential carcinogenic properties. It is ideal to find skincare products that are Formaldehyde-free.
A lesser-known yet equally dangerous ingredient often lurking in skincare products is Petroleum. Petroleum components like mineral oil and petrolatum are used in creams and lotions as moisturisers. They can reduce water loss, but they are known to clog pores and slow down the skin's natural renewal process leading to wrinkles and premature ageing. It is best to research the benefits of natural plant-based oils and find skincare products that are free of Petroleum.
The dangers of using skincare with harsh chemicals
The main danger of skin care products with harsh chemicals is that they can irritate the skin. These harsh chemicals, such as alcohols, sodium hydroxide, and even fragrances, can be over-drying, especially for sensitive skin. They can strip away natural oils, break down your skin's natural barrier, and make it easier for bacteria and irritants to penetrate the skin. Prolonged use can lead to redness, pimples, and inflammation.
Another danger of using skincare products with harsh chemicals is that they can disrupt the body's endocrine system. Many ingredients, such as parabens and phthalates, are endocrine disruptors, meaning they can interfere with the body's hormonal balance and lead to health issues such as reproductive and cancer.
Finally, a more overlooked danger of skincare with harsh chemicals is that they can clog your pores. This can lead to many problems, such as blackheads, whiteheads, and cystic acne. Products with comedogenic ingredients are particularly problematic, as these can cause skin eruptions, enlarging existing pores and creating new ones.
Why we should switch to Non-Toxic Skincare
Using non-toxic skincare products is a great way to ensure that we are not exposing our skin (or our bodies) to potentially harmful ingredients. The main reason to switch to non-toxic skincare is to help reduce the risk of developing long-term health problems.
Many of the chemicals used in skincare products, such as parabens, phthalates, and formaldehyde, have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, hormonal imbalances, and other long-term health issues. While no definitive studies are proving that these chemicals are definitively linked to long-term health issues, it is best to always be on the side of caution and switch to non-toxic products whenever possible.
Besides avoiding potential health risks, there are other benefits to using non-toxic skincare products. Non-toxic ingredients are typically more natural and gentle on the skin. This means that their products can be used safely and effectively on even the most sensitive skin types. Non-toxic skin care products are less likely to irritate or cause skin reactions, such as rashes, breakouts, or contact dermatitis.
Non-toxic skincare products are often eco-friendly, meaning they are made with minimal environmental impact. Many non-toxic skincare products are vegan, cruelty-free, and sustainably sourced, meaning they don’t contribute to animal suffering or environmental degradation.
Benefits of using Non-Toxic Skincare
Non-toxic skincare products contain natural ingredients containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential oils.
Vitamins are necessary for healthy skin since they help to repair skin cells, promote collagen production and provide natural protection from environmental pollutants. Minerals help to regulate sebum production, control breakouts, and hydrate and replenish the skin. Antioxidants help to fight against free radical damage, which can cause premature ageing of the skin, and help to protect your skin from environmental toxins. Essential oils may help reduce inflammation, inflammation-induced ageing and improve the skin’s overall texture and appearance.
Non-toxic skincare products can also benefit people with sensitive skin or allergies, as some synthetic and artificial ingredients can irritate the skin. Non-toxic skincare products are made of pure natural ingredients, without any harsh chemicals or fragrances commonly found in traditional skincare products, making them safe and gentle to use.
Non-toxic skincare products can also be great for those looking for a sustainable and eco-friendly option. These products are made from naturally derived biodegradable ingredients and are free from artificial colours and preservatives. Non-toxic skincare also generally contains fewer synthetic ingredients, meaning there is less detrimental impact on the environment.
Tips for spotting hidden harmful chemicals in skincare
When shopping for skincare products, the last thing you want to worry about is buying something that contains potentially harmful ingredients. Unfortunately, those dangerous chemicals can hide behind seemingly innocuous labels and ingredients, making it difficult to identify the items that could be hazardous to you and your health. Here are some tips to help you spot hidden harmful chemicals in skincare products:
- Read the full ingredient list
The first step to avoiding potentially toxic substances is to read the ingredient list on the label of any product you’re considering. Look for anything unfamiliar or potentially dangerous, such as phthalates, parabens, sulphates, and formaldehyde. These chemicals are often used in cosmetics and other beauty products but may have adverse health effects if you’re exposed to them for prolonged periods.
- Research controversial ingredients
When you come across an unfamiliar ingredient on a product’s label, take some time to research it. Searching “ingredient safety” is an excellent way to start, as you can learn more about the potential dangers of each component.
- Check out cosmetic databases
There are several databases with ratings and reviews on cosmetics and beauty products. CosDNA, EWG, and the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database are all valuable resources to help you identify potentially dangerous items.
- Avoid synthetic fragrances
Synthetic fragrances are a common component of skincare products, but they’re often not disclosed on the ingredient list. Companies utilise a loophole that lets them simply label these scents as “perfume” or “fragrance” without specifying what exactly is in them. You should avoid products with extremely fragrant scents as these could mask a hidden hazardous component.
- Opt for natural alternatives
If you’re unsure about the safety of a particular product, it’s best to opt for natural alternatives. Natural products tend to be made from ingredients that are far less likely to contain dangerous components.
By following these steps and taking the time to research each item before you purchase it, you can be more confident that you’re avoiding any potentially hazardous products. In addition, by doing so, you can give your health the right amount of protection it deserves.
Spotting certification seals and what they mean
Typically, a third-party company or organisation will put certification seals on products. Through a rigorous process, these companies assess ingredients, how the product is made, and other aspects of the product's manufacturing process. A product will receive a seal if it is certified to meet certain standards.
- Organic and Natural Certification seals
The most common certification seals for skincare products are Organic and Natural Certification seals. These indicate that the product has been manufactured with organic and/or natural ingredients, which generally means fewer synthetic chemicals and preservatives. Ingredients that receive these seals meet strict standards set out by organisations such as the USDA and NSF International.
- Non-Toxic Certification
Another certification seal to look out for is Non-Toxic Certification. This means that the product has been certified to meet a set of standards that deem it “non-toxic,” which includes no presence of harsh chemicals or toxins. This certification is often given to products that use organic and natural ingredients and are free of artificial scents, dyes, and other harmful ingredients.
- Cruelty-Free Certification Seal
Cruelty-Free Certification Seal is another type of certification a skincare product could receive. This indicates that the product has not been tested on animals, which is often the case with some products that contain synthetic or chemical-based ingredients.
- The Leaping Bunny Certification Seal
The Leaping Bunny Certification Seal is another important seal to look for. This indicates that no animal has been used in the product in any way—including in the testing, formulation, and manufacture of the product.
Overall, when shopping for skincare products, it is vital to look for certification seals. These seals tell you what kind of ingredients have gone into the making of the product and whether it contains any harmful chemicals. By understanding the meaning of each seal, you can better ensure that you are purchasing a safe and effective product.
A few quick final thoughts
When choosing skin care products, it is vital to be aware of the ingredients that are used, as some common chemicals may have hazardous implications for our health. Parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and petroleum are among the most dangerous chemicals in skincare products, as prolonged use can lead to irritation and inflammation, endocrine disruption, and clogged pores.
Non-toxic skincare products are a great way to avoid any potential long-term health problems, as they are filled with natural ingredients that provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for healthy skin.
It is also essential to look for hidden chemicals, such as fragrances labelled as “perfume” or “fragrance,” and to research any unfamiliar ingredients. By replacing potentially hazardous skincare products with natural alternatives, we can ensure the safety of our skin and overall health.