Dangerous Chemicals in Skin Care Products

If you knew that many makeup and skin care products contain hazardous toxins, dangerous petroleum products, and cancer-causing carcinogens, not to mention irritating fragrances, would you still use them? Studies have shown that more than 4.5 pounds of chemicals are absorbed by the average consumer through skin care products.

The European Union has identified and banned about 1100 chemicals from their skin care products but the US has only banned about a dozen. About 50 US companies have voluntarily agreed to use the European standards, including the major companies Revlon and L'Oreal. However, many companies have not agreed to follow the higher standards, including the major companies Avon, Proctor and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, Unilever, and Colgate Palmolive.

Let's look at some of the potentially harmful ingredients. Mineral oil is found in many products. It is derived from petroleum and forms an oily film on the skin to lock in moisture. However, it also locks in toxins and it prevents dry skin from receiving moisture. Also, it was listed by a Johns Hopkins study as the # 2 cause of aging.

Dioxane and formaldehyde are carcinogens found in many products such as lotions, shampoos, and hand soaps. These chemicals are not actually added to a product but are a by-product of many commonly used preservatives. They can be found in ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate and PEG-100 stearate. They are also regarded as common skin irritants.

Methyl paraben is a highly toxic ingredient that is used to extend a product's shelf life and to inhibit microbial growth. However, it can cause dangerous allergic reactions and rashes. Also, parabens have been found in breast tumors. Look for this ingredient in body washes and cleansers

DEA and PABA are nitrosamine-forming agents which increase the risk of skin, liver, and kidney cancers. They can cause allergic reactions and irritate eyes. Sunscreens often contain these ingredients.

Antiperspirants and antiseptics often contain aluminum. This ingredient has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.

Collagen is a fibrous protein that is too large to penetrate the skin. In skin care products collagen is derived from animal skins and chicken feet. It is dangerous because the layer of film that it forms suffocates the skin.

Lanolin and kaolin are a couple of other ingredients that can smother and weaken the skin. Kaolin is a fine, white clay while lanolin is a fatty substance extracted from wool. Lanolin can also cause skin rashes and allergic reactions.

Glycerin is a syrupy liquid produced by combining water and fat. On the skin it has the effect of drawing moisture from deeper layers of the skin and holding it on the surface. The result is that it dries the skin from the inside out.

Petrolatum and propylene glycol are similar to mineral oil in that they can prevent toxins from escaping from the skin and can prevent the skin from receiving moisture. Both can be strong skin irritants.

Alpha hydroxy acid helps the skin exfoliate damaged skin cells and healthy skin cells. With extended use, this can result in long term skin damage.

Lastly, beware of fragrances that are commonly used in cosmetics and skin care products. They are usually petroleum-based and can cause headaches, dizziness, rashes, and respiratory problems.

Now that you know some of the hazards of common chemical ingredients found in skin care and cosmetic products you can better judge which products to use and which to avoid.