Chemicals to Avoid in Personal Care Products - Part 2
How is label reading going? In December, I was reading an article about the best exfoliants of 2021. I looked up the top product, read the ingredients label, and realised it contained one of the dirty dozen chemicals. A dermatologist had selected the winner. I guess ingredients were not part of the judging criteria, but perhaps should have been.
Again this list of chemicals comes from the article, “The Dirty Dozen: cosmetic chemicals to avoid” in the ‘Queen of Green’ section of the David Suzuki Foundation website (https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/dirty-dozen-cosmetic-chemicals-avoid/,)
Watch for: BHA and BHT, coal tar dyes, DEA-related ingredients, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, parabens, parfum (aka fragrance), PEG compounds, petrolatum, siloxanes, sodium laureth sulfate, and triclosan.
Here is a brief summary of concerns for the final six:
- Parfum (aka fragrance) “The term “fragrance” or “parfum” on a cosmetic ingredients list usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals. Some 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances. Of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances, most have not been tested for toxicity, alone or in combination. Many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms. “A survey of asthmatics found that perfume and/or colognes triggered attacks in nearly three out of four individuals.”
- PEG compounds “PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture- carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane as a possible human carcinogen. Ethylene oxide can also harm the nervous system.”
- Petrolatum “Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly (i.e. petroleum jelly). It is used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in a variety of moisturisers and also in hair care products to make your hair shine. A petroleum product, petrolatum can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Studies suggest that exposure to PAHs — including skin contact over extended periods of time — is associated with cancer. On this basis, the European Union classifies petrolatum a carcinogen and restricts its use in cosmetics. PAHs in petrolatum can also cause skin irritation and allergies.”
- Siloxanes “These silicone-based compounds are used in cosmetics to soften, smooth, and moisten. They make hair products dry more quickly and deodorant creams slide on more easily. They are also used extensively in moisturisers and facial treatments. Environment Canada assessments concluded that cyclotetrasiloxane and cyclopentasiloxane — also known as D4 and D5 — are toxic, persistent, and have the potential to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms. Also, the European Union classifies D4 as an endocrine disruptor, based on evidence that it interferes with human hormone function and a possible reproductive toxicant that “may impair human fertility’.”
- Sodium Laureth Sulphate “Sodium laureth sulfate (sometimes SLES) is used in cosmetics as a detergent and also to make products bubble and foam. It is common in shampoos, shower gels, and facial cleansers. Depending on manufacturing processes, sodium laureth sulfate may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. The International Agency for Research on Cancer cites ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane as a possible human carcinogen. Ethylene oxide can also harm the nervous system and the California Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a possible developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development.”
- Triclosan “Triclosan is used mainly in antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers as a preservative and an antibacterial agent. Triclosan can pass through skin and is suspected of interfering with hormone function (endocrine disruption). U.S. Centre's for Disease Control and Prevention scientists detected triclosan in the urine of nearly 75 percent of those tested (2,517 people ages six years and older). The European Union classifies triclosan as irritating to the skin and eyes, and as very toxic to aquatic organisms, noting that it may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.”
Taking time to read labels and make decisions about what products to use, or not use allows us to safely care for ourselves, and ultimately our loved ones. At Terra Supra, we believe great skin care options come from nature and are toxin free.