Although ingredients in skincare & makeup seems to be
generally improving slowly but surely, as more people become savvy to the
effects of certain ingredients, there are still a bad-bunch hanging around! Our products are laden with a scary amount of chemicals – some of them are great for us & our skin, but some are far from it! From simple irritants, to
hormone-changing carcinogens, here are some of the baddies to watch out for!
a bit of a disclaimer; although the below is based on extensive research, all
claims are subject to further research and tests. Affects might only become
apparent after extensive use, or not at all! But still, the facts we know
already are scary enough to make you stand up an pay attention to your next
product’s ingredients list!
Although they are used for a really important reason, which
is to help prevent the growth of bacteria in our beauty products, Parabens are
not great news for us and our bodies…
They react in a bit of strange way when they make their way
into our bodies, as they have been found to mimic the naturally occurring
hormone Estrogen. Ultimately, this is not good news for our bodies, as
excessive estrogen has been linked to an increased chance of breast cancers.
Frighteningly, parabens have been found in many breast tumour biopsies. Yet
they are still widely used in (typically, cheaper) beauty products; make up,
skincare, shampoos etc. Luckily, the beauty industry has seen a surge in
paraben-free products – and with any luck, Parabens will soon be banished for
I’ve added fragrance to the list because of how freely and
vaguely it is added to ingredients lists without much or any description!
Sometimes labelled as ‘perfume’, fragrance could be just about anything, if you
think about it! Obviously it’s used to make sure a company can keep some
secrecy to their products, but I can’t deny it freaks me out! Fragrances are
linked to causing all sorts of skin irritations, and cause havoc with sensitive
skin! They have also been linked to respiratory issues and reproductive issues
problems – scary! I good way to avoid these potentially hidden nasties is to
opt for perfume free skincare and make up.
A scary additive that is sometimes missed completely from
ingredients lists, as it may be contained within the ‘fragrance’ heading (see
above). Phthalates are a pretty awful bunch of chemicals that are primarily
used to increase softness & flexibility. Found in a lot of beauty product,
there are many types of phthalates including; dibutyl phthalate (nail polish),
diethyl phthalate in perfumes & creams and dimethyl phthalate in hair
spray. Another culprit for mimicking a hormone when entering the body,
phthalates mess with the endocrine system & have been linked directly to
early on-set breast cancer and also reproductive defects.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
Found a lot in foaming products (body wash, foam cleansers
etc.), SLS’s can be found a massive amount of products. They are linked to
varying levels of eye, lung and skin irritations and are known in as a
‘surfactant’, and some variations are known to be highly toxic to humans! The
main concern surrounding their use is their ability to react and combine with
other ingredients and chemicals, and create a carcinogenic chemical cocktail! I
think I’ll stay clear of foaming products for a while thank you very much!
As ‘paraben-free’ products become ever more popular in the
world of beauty, replacement chemicals are emerging more and more. But are they
any better for us?
Phenoxyethanol (also known as ethylene glycol monophenyl
ether) is a recent replacement for parabens and is a preservative that is
growing in popularity. In small quantities, the product is perfectly safe, but
studies on moderate to excessive use have shown that issues with reproduction,
nervous system damage and skin irritation are quite apparent.
These studies have resulted in a 1% concentration limit in
most countries (including the UK), while Japan has banned the substance