Using safe cosmetics from responsible manufacturers will go along way in boosting your immune system and overall health.
are some of the most common harmful personal care ingredients you'll
find in shampoos, conditioners, nail polish, makeup, deodorant,
toothpaste, body wash, etc.
Go grab some of those bottles and check out that label on the back. Don't be surprised to see:
Diethanolamine (DEA) is
a suspected carcinogen. Irritates skin, eyes, and mucous membranes and
can be harmful for the liver, kidneys and pancreas. This chemical forms
nitrosamines that are known to be highly carcinogenic. It is especially
dangerous for children as it is thought to inhibit brain development and
Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs) can
be tough to spot as manufacturers do their very best to hide them on
the ingredient label (in the U.S. anyway). Look for formalin,
Quaternium-15 dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea,
diazolidinyl urea, or 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bronopol). These
chemicals are linked to cancer and severe skin irritation.
a family of chemicals which are suspected to cause breast cancer and
are endocrine disruptors. A small number of people might also develop
skin irritations. They are easy to spot on ingredient labels, just look
for the paraben at the end - ethylparaben, isobutylparaben,
Phenylenediamine (PPD, P-diaminobenzene) is
found in all permanent hair dyes including the "natural" and "herbal"
hair colors. It is believed to cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple
myeloma, acute leukemia, and bladder cancer in long-term frequent users.
PPD causes allergic reaction and scarring in some people.
Sensitization dermatitis is also a concern and can cause lifetime
reactions to certain other dyes.
Phthalates are a group of
chemicals generally hidden by the ingredient "fragrance." They are
endocrine disruptors and can cause birth defects. Phthalates are being
phased out of many products in the U.S. and E.U. because of their
damaging health effects (but who knows how long that will take).
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) An
ingredient found in the vast majority of commercially available
shampoos and conditioners. It is an incredibly harsh detergent that
causes skin irritation, skin dryness, canker sores, and is suspected by
many organizations of causing cancer and reproductive toxicity.
a solvent used in nail polishes and is very similar to benzene. It
cannot be removed from the body through the normal pathways of urine,
sweat, or stool. It causes damage to the nervous system, liver and
kidneys with long term exposure. Inhalation can cause severe
Triclosan is the most common active ingredient in antibacterial soap and
other similar "germ-fighting" products. These products do not kill
germs any better than all natural soaps and are actually creating
bacterial resistance. Triclosan has been linked to cancer, liver
toxicity, hormone disturbances, and birth defects. It is also toxic to
animals and the environment. It won't necessarily be listed on the label
(companies figure it is better to hide it), but products that contain
triclosan say things like "fights germs" and "kills bacteria" and
Two toxic chemicals that are probably in your products, yet aren't listed as a personal care ingredient, are:
a carcinogen found mostly in products that make suds. Close to 25% of
all personal products contain this chemical (including over half of all
baby soaps). Product testing has shown these body care products have
over 1,000 times the amount shown to cause cancer in lab animals. The
FDA says it is easy and inexpensive for companies to remove this
chemical, yet most have refused to do so.
Lead is a proven
neurotoxin that has also been linked to decreased fertility and hormonal
changes in both men and women. It is currently legal in the United
States for cosmetic products to contain unlimited amounts of lead
without any kind of warning to us consumers. The FDA has tested
cosmetics for lead, but has refused to name which companies' products
contained the highest amounts.
There are many more toxic ingredients that do not have to be listed on the label.
is mostly because they are not an intended ingredient. Instead they
were created as byproducts of the manufacturing process.
FDA only requires intended products to be listed on the ingredient
label. Any unintended ingredients can stay hidden from consumers, no
matter how toxic.
And of course another reason is that the FDA
doesn't have the time or resources to make sure companies are labeling
their products accurately. It really is a jungle out there.
For a list of body care products that I use myself, see this page on non-toxic cosmetics.