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Personal Care Products: Ingredients to Avoid

When it comes to products, it’s hard to know what’s safe, what’s not, what to buy, what not to buy, etc.

I thought I would do a little research and put together a short list of things to avoid in products. This is by no means a complete list, but at least some of the worst offenders to avoid. I hope you find this helpful. Happy shopping!

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate – Often called SLS
SLS is a surfactant. It is often used for it’s ability to lather and remove oils. It can be found in so many personal care products: Shampoos, Toothpastes, Body Wash, Shaving Cream, etc. It can also be found in Engine Degreasers, Household Cleaners, Car Wash Soap, etc. It can cause skin and eye irritation.

Parabens – Methyl, Ethyl, Butyl and Propyl Parabens (keep an eye out for anything ending in -paraben, there are lots!)
Parabens are used as preservatives in personal care products. There is some concern that these chemicals are carcinogenic, especially in breast tissue. They have also been found to mimic estrogen, again being found in breast cancer tumor samples.

Propylene Glycol – Also keep an eye out for Polyethylene Glycol and Polypropylene Glycol
Used as a surfactant and helps break down oils. Also a thickening agent. Known to cause rashes and dry skin. Also an ingredient in oven cleaners and antifreeze.

Phthalates – Look for “fragrance” DBP (Di-n-butyl Phthalate), DEP (Diethyl Phthalate) and BzBP (Benxylbutyl Phthalate)
These are hormone disrupting chemicals, often shown simply as “fragrance”. Try to find products that you know use natural fragrances, or say so on the label. Can also cause nausea and headaches.

Cocamide DEA, MEA and TEA – Diethanolamine, Momoethanolamine and Triethanolamine
Often used as a emulsifiers and/or a foaming agent. Suspected to affect hormones and produce carcinogenic nitrates and nitrosamines. Can cause eye and skin irritation, as well as other allergic reactions.

Diazolidyinyl Urea, Imidazolindinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin and Quaternium-15
Preservatives like Parabens. Can cause skin irritation, migraines and allergic reactions. Release formaldehyde (known carcinogen).

FD&C , D&C Color followed by a number – Synthetic Colors
Used simply for appearance, along with synthetic hair dyes. Many are carcinogenic.

Talc
Probable carcinogen. Shown to cause tumors. Related to carcinogenic asbestos.

Petrolium – Petroleum Jelly
Mineral oil, derived from crude oil. Interferes with the skin’s ability to breathe. Can lead to dryness and chapping.

Toluene
Solvent used in nail polishes. Known to cause damage to the liver, kidneys and nervous system.

*If you think there is something that should be on this list, please feel free to comment or email me :)*

There are lots of great resources to check your products and ingredients. For a more indepth look at these things, please check out the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.

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