Tuesday, October 11, 2011


By now you have probably heard of what ingredients in products to stay away from or the ones that over time can cause health problems.  Or you have been using Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to check health concerns on ingredients in your products.  This is my favorite website to check on ingredients in products because it is easy to use, the explanations are simple to understand - though maybe a little scary and it is reliable, factual information.
Here is a list that is being called the "Dirty 30":
active ingredient in nail polish remover
Artificial colors (synthetic): labeled FD&C or D&C with a color and then number
Benzalkonium chloride: a preservative
Benzene: used in aftershave and is an additive in skin care products
Benzoyl peroxide: used to treat acne
Coal tar: primarily in products used to treat psoriasis and dandruff
Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA): used as emulsifiers and foaming agents
Ethylenediamine: used in moisturizers, sunscreens, and deodorant
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): a common preservative
Formaldehyde: created when other synthetic ingredients are used including quanternium-15, DMDM, and ureas
Fragrances (synthetic): made up of thousands of different chemicals to create one compound
Isopropyl alcohol: most dangerous in skin care cleansers
Lanolin: only the pure form should be used
Mineral oil: derived from petroleum
Monoethanolamine (MEA): adjusts skin pH
Nitrosamines: toxic impurities formed when chemicals such as DEA and TEA are used in cosmetics and skin care products
Octyl dimethyl PABA (also known as padimate-0 or p-aminobenzoic acid): often used in sunscreens
Parabens (methyl-, propyl, butyl-, and ethyl-): most common preservatives used in skin care
Petrolatum (petroleum jelly): suffocates the skin
Phenylenediamine (PPD): used in hair dyes
Phthalates: simply labeled as “fragrances” or used in nail polish, hair spray, and perfumes
Polyethylene glycol (PEG): a chemical used to make things thicker or stickier
Propylene glycol (PG): commonly found in moisturizers
Quaternium 15: a preservative that also creates toxic by-products such as formaldehyde
Sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate: often disguised in “natural” products as a coconut derivative, extracted using harmful petroleum solvents
Sodium cyanide: toxin used create EDTA
Stearalkonium chloride: often used in hair conditioners and creams
Talc/talcum powder: proven to cause respiratory problems
Triclosan: often used in antibacterial cleansers and toothpaste
Ureas (imidazolidinyl, diazolidinyl, and/or DMDM): most commonly used preservatives after parabens
These ingredients are used in almost all our skin care products that aren't considered natural and organic.  Please watch the labeling and advertising of some products.  They may advertise their products as natural or derived from botanical ingredients, please read the ingredient list - there may be natural and botanical ingredients listed but many on the above list will be listed too. 

If the company is labeling right - the first ingredient will be the main ingredient in the product and so on and the INCI name should be used (some of these can be hard to pronounce, but they will become familiar).  The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, or INCI, is a system of names for waxes, oils, pigments, chemicals, and other ingredients of soaps, cosmetics, personal care products, etc. based on scientific names and other Latin and English words.  Ingredients in the United States are not regulated on how they are labeled.  For example, 1,4-dioxane (found in baby/kid soaps, bubble baths, etc.) is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, so the FDA does not require 1,4-dioxane to be listed as an ingredient on product labels. Very hard to avoid a chemical and toxin when you don't know it is in the product.
You can always use the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to check on ingredients you are unsure about.  As far as those ingredients or byproducts that are not listed on the label, do your research.  I'm still behind on technology, especially when it comes to cell phones and their capabilities but their is an App for the database too.
Ingredients Part 2 will be coming soon...

Thank You!

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