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I'm not ashamed to admit that reading ingredient labels on beauty products can turn my head. The polysyllabic words and stickers that boast on their own with these vibrant, clean, and natural monikers are enough to cause a mental madness. Combine all of this with the fact that anyone From scientists to overconfident Twitter "experts", the opinion of which ingredients in skin care should be avoided is enough to put someone on a mental spiral. Does everything cause cancer? Is Moisturizer Toxic? What is the truth?
"We live in a time when consumers are making consumers aware of any ingredient that is suspected of causing harm," said Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat. "In fact, any ingredient studies that have shown the slightest safety concern may warn others to avoid this ingredient if consumers get wind of it. If this message comes up, some manufacturers may choose not to use this ingredient for to avoid consumers. " Game even when these studies were flawed or not done in context. "Anne-Claire Walch, PhD, pharmacology expert and founder of the upcoming skin care brand Náu, agrees, but notes that constant education and innovation are required to ensure that the products we use are not only effective but also safe "As scientific and clinical research advances every day, we can discover new ingredients and new techniques faster, and recognize the health effects of certain ingredients with repeated use," she says stay up to date with the latest scientific knowledge. "
Which ingredients are safe and which are not? I would love to give you a definitive answer to this question, but the fact is it doesn't exist! However, there are certain ingredients that experts believe should be avoided based on numerous studies suggesting that they could cause significant harm from irritation to endocrine disruption. Make sure to check out the top 10 top ingredients you think Robinson and Walch should avoid beforehand, as well as some safer options to replace them with.
Where they are often found: Face creams, body lotions, mascaras, shampoos, conditioners, hair styling products, antiperspirants, shaving products
What they do: Parabens, which can be identified on ingredient labels by working out prefixes such as methyl, propyl, butyl, ethyl, and isobutyl with the paraben suffix, are preservatives. "They protect cosmetics from dirt and act as preservatives to extend the shelf life of products," explains Walch.
Why steer clearly: You've probably been approached with parabens avoidance instructions before, but do you know why? According to Walch, parabens can cause allergic skin reactions, redness, itching, and even damage to the endocrine system. "It's usually a small percentage in a product, but according to some studies, with long-term use, it builds up in the body where it can affect the endocrine system," she says. In the worst case, as Robinson told me, they can potentially be carcinogenic or carcinogenic.
Possible replacements: Benzoic acid or sorbic acid
Where it often occurs: solid and liquid soaps, deodorants, bubble baths, shampoos, shaving products
What it does: Like other relatives of parabens, triclosan is a preservative that acts as an antibacterial and antifungal agent.
Why steer clearly: "Triclosan has become more and more harmful over the past four decades," says Walch. "It has been shown to cause allergies, damage the skin's natural acid protection, and damage the liver. When a toothpaste contains triclosan, it can kill the beneficial bacteria that are part of healthy oral flora and when they are swallowed and in the It can cause unwanted damage to the intestinal flora. It has also been linked to cancer, developmental disorders, and liver damage. "
Possible replacements: Phenethyl alcohol, sodium levulinate, sodium anisate
* Walch notes that natural preservatives cannot protect the product from microorganisms in the long term like parabens, but that there is a lot we can do by protecting our cosmetics from touch, air and dirt. She says the best way to store our cosmetics is in airtight containers.
Where they are often found: Detergents, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, shower gels
What they do: Sulphates are detergents or detergents that create foam.
Why steer clearly: Robinson says sulfates are hard at heart. "They can rid the skin of natural oil and cause irritation and allergic reactions," he says. Walch agrees, adding that the harsh nature of these chemicals can actually weaken your skin's ability to do its job. "They are an aggressive substance that dries out the skin and weakens its immune system. It can cleanse the skin, but it is easier for harmful substances to get into the body through the skin." She also says that while she believes sulfate use could certainly cause problems, there is still more to be determined about the actual risks. "Expert opinions are very contradicting, so we recommend careful use. To reduce the risk, avoid or reduce the daily use of these substances as much as possible," she advises.
Possible replacements: natural sugar-based surfactants such as decyl and coconut glucosides
Where it often occurs: Hair products
What it does: "Formaldehyde is commonly used in hair straightening products," says Robinson. And while calling up a toxic hair product while discussing what not to put on our skin is out of the question, it's important to remember that our hair is growing out of our scalp, which is made of skin, like you have guessed it! Additionally, our hair products have a tendency to come in contact with our faces whether we rinse them in the shower or spray a little too casually.
Why steer clearly: Robinson confirmed that formaldehyde fumes are carcinogenic.
Possible replacements: Acids, proteins
Where it often occurs: Detergents, make-up removers, hair products
What it does: This substance is mainly used as a preservative and emulsifier to stabilize formulas.
Why steer clearly: Robinson says that in addition to being potentially irritating, quaternium-15 is a formaldehyde releaser and poses essentially the same carcinogenic threat.
Possible replacements: Benzoic acid, sorbic acid
Where they are often found: Face creams, body lotions, massage oils, baby oil
What they do: Petroleum derivatives – including mineral oil, paraffin oil, petrolatum, and liquid paraffin – often serve as emollients, creating an oily layer on the skin that traps water to make the skin feel softer.
Why steer clearly: According to Walch, these ingredients cover the skin like plastic, clogging pores and preventing the skin from breathing naturally. "They make the skin breathless and lead to acne and other skin problems," she explains. "They slow down skin function and cell development and cause premature aging."
Possible replacements: Seed oils, macadamia oil, coconut oil, olive oil, natural waxes, shea butter
Where they are often found: Face creams, body lotions, shower gels
What they do: PEGs are synthesized from petroleum and used as emulsifiers and auxiliaries. There are several types including PEG 20, 40, 80, etc.
Why steer clearly: Robinson says these additives primarily cause skin irritation, but Walch adds that they can also cause premature aging. "They can age the skin and decrease its natural moisture levels and make it more susceptible to bacteria," she says.
Possible replacements: Plant-based emulsifiers such as cetearyl olivate, sorbitan derivative and polyglycerol ester
Where they are often found: perfumed skin care products, body washes, nail varnishes, hairsprays
What they do: Robinson says phthalates like dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate help products spread more easily.
Why steer clearly: Although these days they're unlikely to find them on an ingredient list for things you'd put all over your face, the threat is enough that caution should be exercised nonetheless, especially since Robinson says they are potential carcinogens and endocrine disruptors .
Possible replacements: Acetyl tributyl citrate
Where it often occurs: Face creams, lotions, perfumes
What it does: No matter how man develops, Walch says we're idiots for good smells. "Fragrance is one of the most important ingredients in cosmetics because it is the starting point from which we can choose our favorite cream, body lotion or perfume," she says. "The vast majority of products contain purely chemically produced fragrance compositions that have been shown to cause allergic reactions on the skin."
Why steer clearly: Walch points out that manufacturers use thousands of fragrance components in their products, some of which are harmless. However, most are strong allergens. "Unfortunately, there is no rule that stipulates the listing of all components. Therefore, caution is advised in this case too." In addition to irritating the skin, these additives can cause headaches, allergies, dizziness, rashes, coughs, pigmentation, and hyperactivity, according to Walch.
Possible replacements: Natural essential oils * and hypoallergenic fragrances on a natural basis.
* Walch notes that pure essential oils can also cause allergic reactions. Therefore, people with very sensitive skin should avoid all fragrance ingredients.
Where they are often found: All kinds of beauty products for the face, body and hair
What they do: It's not difficult to guess what dye is used for. Robinson says food, drug, and cosmetic pigments – commonly referred to as FD&C pigments – are the most commonly used.
Why steer clearly: Robinson cautions that the risks associated with these types of pigments are skin irritation and possible exposure to carcinogens.
Possible replacements: Mineral and vegetable based pigments