Like most women, I love beauty and personal care products. But I’ve learned quite alarmingly that products in the US contain toxic chemicals that other countries have banned! In fact, manufacturers are not required to prove that the chemicals are safe before selling products that contain them. The burden is on us. Do we really know what we are putting on our faces and bodies? I didn’t.
When I started Little Moony, I knew I wanted to shift my way of living and participating in the world. I wanted to be surrounded by less artificiality, consumption, and live in a more holistic and simplified manner. Coupled with my desire to become a mother, I started on my private journey.. to question my environment, question the choices I have made and am making because in the near future, my choices can affect another life. As this blog post is about toxic beauty chemicals, my focus is on understanding what I’m buying and using on my face and body. I have always assumed in the past that what is being sold to me HAS TO BE SAFE. Right? Wrong. I do not think we can avoid chemicals altogether, but I figure beauty and personal care products are relatively easy, “low hanging” fruits -at least for me- to evaluate and replace with more natural products. Or perhaps eliminate altogether. Less is more, not just on the wallet but on your face and body.
Here are the list of chemicals I’ve started to avoid. Also, I’ve switched to Dr. Hauschka beauty and skin care products altogether. I will write a post about this amazing product line. Please note, I'm not a doctor. The information I've gathered are from my own reading as a a consumer. You should consult with your doctor or other experts for verification.
1) Diethanolamine (DEA): diethanolamine, oleamide DEA, lauramide DEA and cocamide DEA. Each year, more than 100,000 tons of DEA are sold in the United States. It is one of the most commonly used in detergents in personal care products such as creamy and foaming products such as moisturizers and shampoos. This chemical has been linked to cancer and may inhibit the brain development of unborn babies.
2) Parabens: These chemicals are used in variety of cosmetics as preservatives. They are also used as fragrance ingredients, but consumers won't find that listed on the label. They are endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
3) Fragrance: Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as "unscented." Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Heavy fragrances may also contain toxic phthalates, which can disturb fetal development. I've eliminated perfumes altogether and am now using natural oils.
4) Toluene: This chemical is found nail polishes, nail treatment, and hair color/bleaching products. It may affect the respiratory system, been linked to immune system toxicity, and cause development damages to the fetus. Toluene may be labeled as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene.
5) Aluminum chloride hexahydrate: This is found in antiperspirant or deodorant. May be actually been linked to breast cancer in several studies. Check for aluminum chloride hexahydrate and aluminium chlorohydrate. I'm still looking for a natural deodorant for myself. Thank goodness I don't sweat!
6) Beta hydroxy acids: BHA ingredients may be listed as Salicylic acid, 3-hydroxypropionic acid, trethocanic acid and tropic acid. They are found in skin-care products and cosmetics. High doses of the acid in its oral form have been shown in studies to cause birth defects and complications during pregnancy.
7) Chemical sunscreens: octocrylene, oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor. Studies indicate that chemical sunscreens may mimic hormones and disrupt the hormone system and can be toxic to reproductive systems or interfere with normal development. I don't wear sunscreen at all, as I am hardly in the sun for more than 15 minutes. When I do, yes I do now wear a natural sunscreen. More on this in a later post.
8) Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): Found in self-tanners; could be harmful if inhaled. Some medical experts believe DHA has the potential to cause genetic alterations and DNA damage. Spray-on tanners are the culprit in question, but I’m not taking my chances. I’m guilty of using self tanners so this one will be eliminated altogether. Is it really necessary, especially at $12 a bottle? No.
9) Formaldehyde: Found in hair straightening treatments, nail polishes and eyelash glue; look for formaldehyde, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol). Known to cause cancer. This chemical may be harder to avoid because it found indoors and outdoors in so many products, including furniture.
10) Hydroquinone: This is a lightening agent found in skin products to remove spots, freckles, acne scars and other problem spots on the body. While it is FDA-approved, hydroquinone is a possible carcinogen. Avoid hydroquinone, idrochinone and quinol/1-4 dihydroxy benzene/1-4 hydroxy benzene.