Most of us naturally turn to skincare and beauty products as soon as we enter the teen age. However, this can backfire on us, since many cosmetics and personal care items we use daily are packed with a myriad of chemicals that could be connected to a host of skin health problems. It is on you to make a decision whether and which chemicals you're willing to expose your skin to through the products you use. However, below we’ve listed the most common toxic ingredients you should stay away from.
These chemical preservatives are present in a lot of personal care products, from moisturizers, through makeup, to shampoos. It depends on your skin type and sensitivity, but parabens may lead to different kinds of skin damages or health issues. Some studies show that an excessive amount of exposure to parabens may even lead to breast cancer, while others show no harm caused at all. Although opinions are widely divided when it comes to this chemical, it's safe to moderately use products that contain it or look for many alternative products without parabens.
You probably use sulfates daily without even thinking about it. It's everywhere, especially in products such as toothpaste and cleansers, since they need an ingredient which will help with foaming. There are various types of sulfates, but the most common ones are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Sulfates strip away valuable moisture and protective layers, leaving your skin prone to sun damage, allergies, and acne. Just like with everything else, if consumed in small amounts, it shouldn't cause any problems, but in combination with other substances or larger amounts, it's said, yet not proved, that it may cause skin cancer.
We get it, everyone likes nice-smelling shampoos, lotions, and cleansers. But is this fragrance good for you, besides the pleasant scent? Fragrance is a blend of aromatic extracts from natural and synthetic ingredients, and it has a lot of unknown toxic chemicals. Because of the appealing effect, fragrances are used in nearly 50% of beauty products. They can cause skin irritation, allergies and sores, and, in the long run, may cause hormone disruption and cause cancer. No matter how fabulous they smell, switch from chemical to natural skincare brands in order to avoid these no-so-fabulous consequences.
But not all alcohols. There are good alcohols which cause no harm if used properly. On the other side, there are bad alcohols like methanol, isopropyl alcohol, propanol, benzyl alcohol, and sd alcohol. These can be extremely harmful to your skin, because they strip the skin off of its natural protective barriers, leaving your skin vulnerable to external bacteria and infections. Alcohol can also cause inflammation and lead to an increase of acne-causing bacteria.
You have probably never heard of this, and therefore, never paid attention if it was in the ingredients list on the back of the product package you're buying. Derived from petroleum, Butylene Glycol is used to dissolve other ingredients, and as a humectant, to hold moisture to the skin. Since it's found in so many beauty and skincare products that it is difficult to keep track of how much you're exposed to it, it's best to avoid it at all costs. Side effects are numerous, most important being skin irritation, dermatitis, and hives.
Despite the positive features chemicals can have, they are also proved to have a wide range of negative effects on your skin and health. The good news is that, nowadays, there are plenty of alternatives if you wish to escape the harmful chemical ingredients we’ve listed above. Be wise and think about what's best for your skin next time you go to a cosmetic shop.