It is no secret that most cosmetics and personal care products are a threat to our health. This applies to both branded cosmetics and cheaper cosmetics. Simply put, concepts such as “safety” and “naturalness” are very rarely actually related to cosmetics.
Cosmetics: how do you protect yourself from poisonous substances?
Nowadays, most of the components of natural origin are replaced by more simple “chemistry”: extracts, dyes, additives, emulsifiers, fragrances, etc.
The list of chemicals allowed to be used in cosmetics is constantly changing. One can think of such an antiseptic as hexachlorophen. Until the 70’s it was widely used in various cosmetics: deodorants, shampoos, toothpastes. Once its toxic effects were detected, it was banned. Today there is a list of potentially dangerous substances that should be treated with care.
What dangerous substances can cosmetics contain?
- Deodorants, perfumes, hairspray, etc. contain phthalates – some of the most dangerous substances: they change the hormonal background, cause birth defects, depress childbearing function. Especially they are dangerous for pregnant women. Measures have been taken in the European Union to prohibit the use of di(2-ethylhexine)phthalate and di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) in cosmetics. It is still difficult to find phthalate-free products in the cosmetics market today.
- soap, shower gel, shampoo. Contains toxic foaming agents: diethanolamine (DEA, DEA), triethanolamine (TEA, TEA), lauretzulfate.Danger: provokes allergic reactions, dry skin and hair, eye irritation.
- Hair conditioners, the cream may contain stearalconium chloride, which causes allergic reactions.
- Deodorants, toothpaste and soap may contain parabens and triclosan. Although the health effects of these chemicals have not yet been sufficiently studied, it is nevertheless known that parabens are estrogen-like substances that affect the female genital system.
If you take a shower, triclosan in lotions and gels reacts with chlorine from tap water. The reaction results in chloroform, a potential carcinogen that can enter the body through the skin.
- Wash foams, tonics and other daily care products contain preservative stabilizers that inhibit microbial growth: methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens. These substances have hormonal effect (more precisely, estrogen-like). Especially dangerous for pregnant women (cause pathologies of reproductive function of the future child) and for women who are contraindicated oestrogen (for example, at a breast).
- Moisturizing creams contain dangerous propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol. They can cause hives and eczema.
- Many cosmetic products contain toxic preservatives Hermol II and Hermol115 (Germall II, Germall 115). Causes contact dermatitis.
- Hair products, facial cleansers: lotions, tonics may contain dioxane, the strongest carcinogen. It is not added to cosmetic products. However, it has a number of derivatives of compounds that are no less dangerous and occur in care products. Derivatives of dioxane are substances in the group with the end of -laureths, as well as ethylene oxide. They are used in cosmetic production as surface active substances (SAS), emulsifiers and film-forming agents.
In addition, dioxane derivatives include polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyoxyethylene, substances with -eth and -oxynol endings, and Sodium oleth sulfate.
How can you protect yourself from buying such cosmetics?
The main features of safe cosmetics:
1) safe cosmetics are not stored for long. Natural preservatives which are part of such cosmetics can be stored for no more than one and a half years. These substances include sorbic acid, benzoic acid, salicylic acid, essential oils and vitamin E (has even shorter shelf life).
2) such cosmetics have distinctive packaging: they are metal-free and recyclable.
3) the list of natural cosmetics components should not contain petroleum refining products (mineral oil).
4) bottles of natural cosmetics may have the following wording on them: “before use, shake them intensively”. In the manufacture of such cosmetics do not use emulsifiers, so it may have a heterogeneous composition.
5) no dyes or fragrances are added to safe cosmetics.
Choose safe cosmetics with minimal amount of potentially hazardous substances.