Common Ingredients to Avoid in your Skin Care Routine

Sometimes you are lucky. You walk into a store, and spot a perfectly organic box of makeup or skin care, which also happens to be exactly what you were searching for – right shade, right price, the right thing, period. There are no suspicious ingredients, no hints of allergens, and a sales girl with a glorious fresh face assures you that that is exactly the thing she uses all the time…

And sometimes you are desperate. Your skin is dry as a parchment, your forehead is so red, it could stop traffic, and your lashes are as good as gone. And you are miles away from that health store you trust.

What do you do then?

You search for something new. You search for something as natural as possible, trying to avoid the worst that the skin care industry has to offer.

And to help you in your search, I’ve spent the last few nights compiling the short list of the most harmful ingredients out there. It is now presented here for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

May the next addition to your bathroom sink avoid the following:

Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum

These are byproducts of petroleum. Yes. When they produce gasoline, the by-products of the distillation process. I’m still getting over the fact that another name for mineral oil is baby oil. As in, the baby oil most touted for “soothing gentle baby skin” is petroleum derived mineral oil!!! What’s next? “dip your baby in natural gasoline?” Are people insane?

Petroleum products block your skin – they coat it like plastic, and clog up the pores. Naturally that way your skin can’t function properly. It can’t breath properly. It builds up toxins and leads to all kinds of issues. It is also a suspect cause of cancer. Which makes sense – cells that can’t breath or function properly, are bound to die or mutate…

Parabens

Chances are, if you heard of one ingredient you’d be best to avoid, it’s paraben. And you probably are having the hardest time avoiding it. Cause it is, literally, everywhere. Your odds of finding paraben-free products in a main stream cosmetics isle are almost equal to your odds of finding snow in the Sahara desert. This widely used preservative finds its way even into many so-called “natural” products. And that is despite the fact that it has been linked to cancer and is known to disrupt hormones (it mimics estrogen). Arguments about it’s safety go back and forth, ever since the first studies pointing to the danger emerged. FDA currently thinks it’s safe, until further notice… Kind of reminds me of that “smoking is perfectly safe” argument…

Phenol/Carbolic Acid

This precious little thing can be found in your faithful lotion and skin cream. What are its benefits? Let me quote Dr. Mercola for you: .”Can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma and even death from respiratory failure.”
Holly c@#$…

Acrylamide

Acrylamide is a known carcinogen. It made a strong impact on the media when it was found in fast food. You might be interested to know that it can also be found in your hand and face cream…

Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate (SLS) = sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

It’s a skin irritant. It can lead to hair loss. It breaks down the skin barrier, allowing itself to penetrate, as well as other chemicals. It’s corrosive. It may or may not be linked to cancer (depending who’s arguments are louder), but heck, no one argues it’s an irritant…

So why is it in so many of your cleansing products? Cause it’s cheap. It’s used as for car-wash, for engine degreasing, for garage floors , and… for your lovely facial cleanser and shower gel… Yup… Cause, presumably, your skin gets as dirty as that garage floor, and nothing milder could handle it…

Dioxane

1,4-Dioxane is a chemical “known to the State of California to cause cancer”. In fact, it’s carcinogenicity has been reported since the mid sixties. So, for a change, there is no controversy that it is harmful per se. Yet it finds its way into a myriad of common skin care products – lotions, body washes, soaps…

Dioxane has been making lots of fuss in the green blogosphere due to being spotted even in “organic” labeled products. You can check the shocking Organic Consumers Association press release here. Now, honestly, how do you go about trusting anyone after this? Remember I said in my post about organic certifications, that things aren’t always what they say? Goes to show… Now, if the “naturals” are detected to carry it, I can’t even begin to imagine what the main-streamers do…

The Organic Consumer Association recommends that To avoid 1,4-Dioxane, consumers should search ingredient lists for indications of ethoxylation including: “myreth,” “oleth,” “laureth,” “ceteareth,” any other “eth,” “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” or “oxynol,” in ingredient names.

Fragrances/Parfum

These words may evoke the sexiness of Chanel, or the sent of a daisy field, but they really are a cover-all words for thousands of different chemicals. A typical cosmetic can contain 50-100 chemicals in the perfume. About 2,600 chemicals are commonly used in perfume; 95% of chemicals used in perfumes and as fragrances in cosmetics are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. Because perfumes are of low molecular weight they can easily penetrate the skin. (I got this information from here.) Realistically, companies cannot list all these ingredients on a bottle. So, you’ll probably never know the truth of what is hiding inside. Sometimes it’s better to err on a side of caution…

The above list is by no means exhaustive or authoritative. It is merely a result of my personal search for information. And by no means do I want it to cause you a panic attack next time you are searching for a foundation.

I remember watching the movie “Aviator”. In a scene where Howard goes completely nuts cause everything seems unclean to him, (mind you, I watched the movie once, so I don’t remember all the detail…) his girlfriend comes through for him. And she says, something like this: “Nothing’s clean… But we do our best”.

So do your best. Buy as natural as possible. Try to avoid the offending ingredients. But don’t go crazy if you can’t find that one tried and true 100% certified organic bottle. Or you’ll risk offsetting the benefit of a more pure product by all that stress you put yourself through while searching.

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