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Toxic Ingredients in Skin Care Products

Have you ever taken a close look at the ingredient listing on the labels of your skin care products or cosmetics? Do you know what those substances are?

Many of the skin care products and cosmetics you are buying contain ingredients that are not only harmful to your skin, but also to your health. Many are known carcinogens and are only in use because they're cheap.

You may think that it doesn't matter what's in skin care products or cosmetics. After all, you don't eat them. However, think of all the medicines that are delivered through skin patches these days. While your skin may not absorb as much of the skin care product as it does of a medicine specifically designed to be delivered through a patch, repeated application will definitely result in some of the substances in the skin care products being absorbed into your body.

The FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors states "a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA".

And an Environmental Working Group study showed that 89 percent of the 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the FDA or any other public institution.

The following are just some of the synthetic chemicals that have been identified by scientific studies to be harmful to our health.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS)
Frequently described as being derived "from coconut" to disguise their toxic qualities, these chemicals are a common ingredient in shampoos, toothpaste, facial and body cleansers and bubble bath. SLS and ALS can cause severe skin irritation, and are easily absorbed into the body, building up in the brain, heart, lungs and liver. This can lead to long term health problems. SLS and ALS may also prevent proper eye development in children and cause cataracts.

Parabens are widely used in cosmetics, deodorants, skin care and baby products, mainly as a preservative. They are known to be highly toxic and have caused rashes and allergic reactions. Recent scientific studies have pointed to a link between the use of parabens and the increasing rate of breast cancer in women. 90% of tested breast tumors showed a high concentration of parabens.

Propylene Glycol is found in many beauty creams, cosmetics and cleansers, and can cause skin rashes and contact dermatitis, and has been shown to cause damage to the kidneys and liver. Note that Propylene Glycol is one of the main ingredients in automotive antifreeze.

The similar-sounding Polyethylene Glycol or PEG is used as a thickener in skin care products and cosmetics, PEG interferes with the skin's natural moisture balance, leaving the skin vulnerable to bacteria and possibly causing faster aging.

Isopropyl Alcohol is used as a solvent in many skin care products. It strips the skin of its natural acid protection, promoting the growth of bacteria, molds and viruses. It may also cause premature aging of the skin.

DEA (Diethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine) and MEA (Monoethanolamine) are used in cosmetics and face and body creams as emollients. They can cause allergic reactions, and long term use of DEA-based products like Cocamide DEA have been linked to increases in the occurance of liver and kidney cancer.

Talc is a soft mineral used in talcum powders and cosmetic powders. Studies have shown that regular applications of talcum powder to the genital area are associated with a two hundred to three hundred percent increase in the development of ovarian cancer. Routinely inhaling cosmetic powders containing talc may also be harmful to long term health.

Aluminum is frequently an ingredient in antiperspirants, and has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease.

Mineral Oil is derived from petroleum. Itls frequently used as a main ingredient of face and body creams and cosmetics. Baby oil is 100% mineral oil. It clogs pores and prevents the skin from eliminating toxins, which can lead to acne and other skin disorders. Other petroleum based ingredients include paraffin wax, paraffin oil and petrolatum (petroleum jelly).

Examine the labels of your cosmetics and skin care products carefully, and learn to recognize ingredients that are harmful to your skin and to your health. Many web sites, such as the Environmental Working Group have some great information about the ingredients in skin care products.

Be sure to check out the ingredients list even if the front of the package screams "natural" or "organic". Many products contain lots of harmful synthhetic chemicals in addition to one or two natural or organic ingredients.

When feasible, choose products made from natural ingredients such as essential oils and herbs. Your skin will love you for it, and the rest of your body will aprreciate it too!

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