Let’s talk toxic ingredients. I get many questions from people making the switch to natural beauty. The top question is, “What ingredients should I avoid?” My first suggestion is to get acquainted with either the Think Dirty app or look at the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. You can see my post on the Think Dirty app here to help you get started. As you use these resources, you will get more familiar with which ingredients are the biggest and worst culprits.
Why should you care?
There is a major loophole in the FDA’s federal law that allows manufacturers to include tons of ingredients (meaning any ingredient—even toxic) into their products without even actually listing them. Think about that for a minute. You may be putting something on yourself or your family that you think is a healthy choice, but it is not.
With that said, it is time to take back your health. Here are the top 3 ingredients I would absolutely avoid.
Fragrance: Fragrance is a fancy way of the beauty industry telling you that they have a secret blend of ingredients in their products. But be wary because this secret blend is laced with a concoction that contains tons of hidden chemicals. Fragrances have been associated with dermatitis, allergies, asthma, as well as potential effects on the reproductive system. Fragrance is in perfumes, colognes, body washes, shampoos and conditioners and much more, so keep an eye out for it on labels. Using a product that contains fragrance means you have no idea what chemicals you are putting directly on your body since they are not disclosed. When you see fragrance on your personal care products it means hidden chemicals.
Parabens: Parabens are used like preservatives in personal products to prevent bacteria, mold, and yeast from growing in your various containers. And while it may seem like this additive is doing something positive, you need to be aware that when parabens are put on your body, they go in your body. They mimic estrogen and may cause women to have infertility issues and impair fetal development. Parabens can be found in cosmetics, body washes, soap, skin, body, and hair care products, deodorants and even toothpaste. When you are looking at an ingredient label for a product, any name that has paraben at the end of it is bad news. Some names you may identify them with on labels are: isobutylparabens, alkyl parahydroxybenzoate, propylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, and methylparaben. They have so many negative effects. Stay away from them.
Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are used as a carrier for synthetic fragrances and they also increase the flexibility and softness of plastics by making them more pliable. They are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased chances of breast cancer, early onset of breast development in young girls and reproductive birth defects. They go by names like dibutyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate, basically any term that has phthalate behind it, is exactly that. They can be found in nail polishes, lipstick, hairspray, perfume/colognes, deodorant, and lotions. —And the list goes on unfortunately.
These are only 3 culprits, but remember there are so many more—this is the tip of the iceberg. A rule I follow is —if it is a title with a long scientific name that takes me 5 minutes to sound out, then most likely I wouldn’t want it on or in my body. It is important to begin to read labels and see what you are putting on your skin and make a conscious effort to be aware of how it could be affecting your health. It may be impossible to avoid every single toxin, but by educating and empowering yourself to make healthy decisions you can do your part in limiting the number of chemicals that you are exposed to.
How many of your products have these ingredients labelled on them? You don’t have to throw everything out at once. I get it. Replace them one by one. You are on the right path. If you are looking for a one-stop-shop for all clean items, talk to me, I can help.