Friday, November 8, 2013

Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare Products

This month at Pasture Living, we are doing a series on how to take care of our skin naturally. The skin is the body’s largest organ and it absorbs everything we put on it directly into the body’s bloodstream; bypassing the organs that would filter out harmful ingredients. This is why it is so important to know what we put on our skin.

Even the best and most expensive skincare products may contain questionable ingredients. A simple product may still contain many chemicals. Reading ingredient labels are your best bet, but here is a list of ingredients that you want to avoid in any skincare.

1. Parabens: It is a preservative used in almost all beauty products and have been linked to breast cancer, lowered reproductive functions and malignant cell growth.

2. Phthalates (often found in fragrances): You may have seen "phthalate-free" labels on children’s toys because it has been linked to reproductive abnormalities and allergies and the risk was significant enough for manufacturers to get rid of any phthalates in toys that could be chewed on by babies. Unlike the toys industry, the cosmetic industry continues to put phthalate in beauty products (commonly found in fragrances) because individual ingredients don't have to be listed in fragrances, thus it is not easy to detect phthalates cosmetic label. 

3. Sodium lauryl sulphate: This is a detergent (foaming agent) used in shampoos and soaps that is harsh and linked to eye/corneal damage. It may also cause irritated skin and a flaking or irritated scalp.

4. Petroleum and its derivatives (including mineral oil and petrolatum): They are used in many cosmetics and there is a concern over long-term effects on the skin and that potential contaminants from the manufacturing process can cause a health risk. 

5. Propylene glycol: It is linked to increased risk of respiratory and immune disorders in children.

6. Cocamidopropyl betaine: A foam-boosting ingredient that is linked to allergic reactions and skin sensitivities.

7. DEA (diethanolamine): It is a skin irritant and may contain carcinogens.

8. Chlorinated water: It may cause skin irritations and is linked to skin dryness, aging, and allergies.

Simply put, if you don't understand what they are, you don't want them on your skin. Do a little experiment and check the ingredient labels of some of your personal skincare products. Think about all the skin issues that plague so many of us today - skin rash, eczema, acne, itchy hair, flaky scalp... I believe it's partly because we have been exposed to way too many chemicals that our skin is not meant to handle. Try nourishing our skin naturally. It's not only better and safer for our skin, better for our environment, it will also save you some bucks! :)

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