"Your skin is designed to protect you from countless insults: from air pollution to murky lake water, from dirty gasoline-pump handles to staph. Skin cells provide a physical barrier, sort of like bricks and mortar, to keep the bad stuff out -- most of the time, says Francesca J. Fusco, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "The cells aren't as tightly packed as real bricks, though, which means things can squeeze by and penetrate." That's good news if you want, say, an anti aging wrinkle cream to wage war against your crow's feet or an anti-itch product to tackle that exercise-induced rash on your inner thighs. Bad news when strong chemicals meet sensitive or thin skin, cause an allergic reaction, or dangerously flood your bloodstream." Source: cnn.com/health
Alkyloamides- Thickening agents, emollients and emulsifiers in lotion.
1. DEA – diethanolamides
2. MEA – monoethanolamides
3. TEA - triethanolamides
4. MIPA – monoisopropanolamides
5. PEG or ethoxylated alkyloamides
They are manufactured by using fatty acids as the starting material. Not considered toxic, but can become contaminated with nitrosamines. ' Nitrosamines are considered cancer-causing. Other chemicals that can cause nitrosamine contamination are: Cocoyl Sarcosine, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Hydrolysed Animal Protein, Lauryl Sarcosine, Quaternium-7, 15, 31, 60, etc, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate.'*
Aluminum - Metallic element used in antiperspirants and antiseptics. Certain scientists have established links between aluminum and breast cancer. It's use in antiperspirants blocks the pores of the skin, preventing the toxins we already have from being excreted in that area. The toxins then go to the closest fat reserve: the breasts or even the brain. Some suspicions have been equally raised about it's association with Alzheimers. For some this is a hard habit to break. Tom's natural deoderant works surprisingly well, better than other deoderants. It also heals and soothes under the arms. I like the apricot scent. They also carry unscented. It's a little over $4 per stick. One stick lasts a long time. A few dollars more a month for our health is definately worth it. Arm & Hammer aluminum and paraben free deoderant also works well. It has a nice citric scent and a reasonable price. If you sweat alot, just apply twice a day. They don't leave a heavy film like antiperspirants. Please consider avoiding aluminum as much as possible. Only wear antiperspirant when absolutely necessary and avoid other products containing aluminum all together, like lotion. You may see it listed as Magnesium Aluminum Silicate or another aluminum compound . Aluminum compounds are known to be neurotoxic to humans
Alcohol - Alcohol is the natural fermentation of sugar but should only be considered for topical use on small areas of the skin infrequently for only a handful of reasons. Otherwise, 'it strips our skin's natural acid mantle opening it up and leaving it vulnerable to bacteria, molds, viruses, carcinogens and other environmental toxins. It also severely dries and ages the skin and can be an allergen or irritant to many. It is made from propylene, a petroleum derivative. It may promote brown spots and premature aging of skin.'*
Aminomethyl Propanol - A buffering pH adjuster. This ingredient is considered mildly toxic. There are federal restrictions on the amount that can be used in cosmetics. There are reports of neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, endocrine distruption, ecotoxicity. It may contain harmful impurities. If nitrosamine compounds are present because of nitrosating agents, this ingredient is considered a carcinogenic, or cancer causing. (It is impossible for a comsumer to know whether nitrosamine compounds are present unless they get the product tested.)
Borax - Someone out there decided that borax was safe and natural to use in skin care products to whiten products and prolong their shelf life. This is not true. Just because borax is a naturally occurring mineral made of boron, sodium, oxygen and water, does not mean it is safe. What's disturbing is how often it is used in baby products and how especially harmful it is for babies. It can be very irritating to sensitive skin. Borax-Chemical Formula: Na2B4O7
Sodium borate decahydrate,
Sodium tetraborate decahydrate,
Sodium pyroborate .
Butylated hydroxianisole (BHA)/Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)- "Synthetic antioxidant – avoid - BHT is a suspected human carcinogen. Animal studies showed BHA & BHT to cause metabolic stress, depression of growth rate, loss of weight, damage to the liver, baldness & fetal abnormalities. BHA & BHT are suspected causes of hyperactivity and behavioral disturbances in children. BHA & BHT both act as a synthetic oestrogen or xeno-oestrogen. Causes allergic contact dermatitis. Is a skin & eye irritant and slowly corrodes metals. Up to 13% of the BHT is absorbed through the skin" Source:http://www.earthtobody.ca
Ceteareths - Potentially contaminated with impurities linked to cancer and other significant health concerns. Classified as a Penetration Enhancer (not good in lotion) which alters the skin structure allowing chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin, increasing the amount of toxins that reach the bloodstream. This is not a good chemical to have in a lotion full of toxins. Also, based on the limited data on Ceteareths and the extensive data on chemically related ingredients, these ingredients should not be used on damaged skin. Much more studies need to be conducted on this ingredient before we use it any further.
Color - (Natural colors are prettier anyway) "FD&C Blue 1 and FD&C Green 3 are carcinogenic, and FD&C Red 33, FD&C Yellow 5, and FC&C Yellow 6 have been shown to cause cancer when applied to the skin. Some artificial coal-tar colors contain heavy-metal impurities, including arsenic and lead, which are carcinogenic (and toxic in other ways as well). Since moisturizers lie on large areas of the skin for extended periods of time, exposures are increased." Crayons contain toxins. Food coloring contains paraben preservatives. Remember, it is less harmful to eat the paraben preservative than it is to put it on our skin. Berries and flower petals make the best, natural colorants. Teas can be very colorful as well.
Disodium EDTA (and it's salts) - Basically what I got from researching this ingredient is that it is toxic if you inhale it or eat it or it is absorbed into your system. So basically, stay away from products that contain it in a spray or powder and stay away from it in a lotion or cream. This toxin is cytotoxic and weakly genotoxic, but not carcinogenic. This has also shown to be a reproductive toxin.
Distearyldimonium Chloride- Quaternary ammonium salt that is toxic to the environment. It is also harmful to the eyes of humans and animals, including water animals. It can be an irritant to eyes, skin and lungs but the most serious danger is to the eyes.
Farnesol - May cause skin irritation according to the material data safety sheet. It should not be used by people with perfume allergies. It is a natural- organic compound which is a sesquiterpene alcohol found as a colorless liquid.
Fragrance - "Phthalates, a family of chemical plasticizers that are used in personal care products to moisturize skin and as a solvent, are almost synonymous with fragrance. Phthalates have been shown to cause birth defects, reproductive impairments, and liver damage in lab animals." In most fragrances there are over 5000 toxins and irritants causing our bodies an array of problems. Headaches, dizziness, nausea and respiratory problems are the most common. Essential oils are the best choice when it comes to making lotions and creams smell good- second to non-toxic, non-petro based fragrance oils.This is why cosmetics only list "fragrance" instead of what the fragrance is .
Glyceryl Oleate- Toxic to humans, including carcinogenic, reproductive and developmentally toxic, neurotoxic, and acute toxicity. It is also an environmental toxin. Toxic to aquatic animals.
Glycols - Propylene glycol is considered safe and unsafe by just as many credible people. I don't mark propylene glycol red when listing the harmful ingredients in name brand lotions. The other glycols however are recognized as more toxic "Derived from hydrocarbons, glycols are often used as humectants in moisturizers. The glycol family includes:
The FDA warns that glycols can cause adverse reactions in users. A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients warns that "ethylene glycol, carbitol, and diethylene glycol are hazardous in concentrations exceeding 5%, even in preparations for use on small areas of the body" and advises that in sunscreens and lotions, which are applied all over the body, they not be used at all. Glycol ethers are often used as solvents in cosmetics. Some glycols can affect the reproductive system or cause birth defects, and overexposure can result in kidney damage and liver abnormalities. Glycols may also cause contact dermatitis. Avoid the following: EGPE, EGME, EGEE, DEGBE, PGME, DPGME; and those with methyl in their names."
Lanolin - Though lanolin itself is natural and non-toxic, derived from the wool of sheep, any chemical used on the sheep or wool contaminates the lanolin. 'The majority of lanolin used in cosmetics is highly contaminated with organo-phosphate pesticides and insecticides.'* And beware- most humans seem to develop an allergy to lanolin products when applied to the skin repeatedly. Especially when used in lotions and creams that don't wash off. This is especially true with the use of lanolin alcohol.
Laureths- Almost always contaminated by the carcinogens 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide. Very dangerous.
Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone - Both are used as antimicrobials but have shown to be skin irritants. More importantly, there is great concern that these chemicals have potential dangerous neuro-toxic effects on humans. More testing is needed. Until testing is finished and safety is certain, I personally don't think using a skin care product with either of these ingredients in it, which have such a big potential health risk, is necessary.
Natural Preservatives - Please read the next page on natural preservatives. Those can be harmful as well if too concentrated or in the wrong combination.
Oxybenzone- Organic compound used in sunscreens. Blocks UV-A rays. It comes from benzophenone which is known to attack DNA when illuminated therefore this ingredient should not be used in lotions and especially sun block. It can penetrate and photosensitize the skin. photo carcinogen.
Petro-products -"Also of concern are common moisturizers such as petrolatum and ceresin (wax) (better known as Vaseline, petroleum jelly, or paraffin jelly). All are derived from petroleum, a non-renewable source. it is a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil." 'It coats the skin like plastic, clogging pores and preventing it from breathing, releasing toxins and regenerating properly resulting in premature aging and other minor to major skin conditions'*. Baby oil is pure mineral oil. Almost all feminine lubrication products, which are made to go inside of women, are petroleum based. (pure apricot oil makes a wonderful, safe lubricant) Petro-based products are also horrible for tattoos. They dull the color of the and contribute to scaring as tattoos are healing because they do not allow for proper cell regeneration. Isoparaffine is synthesized from petroleum products in Japan. They claim they found no skin irritation in their testing. I still don't like it.
Polyacrylamide - This ingredient is highly toxic. It is a possible carcinogen. Further study is needed. It is extremely irritating to the skin and respiratory system. It is environmentally toxic to the air, soil and water. It is neuro-toxic and genotoxic to humans. Toxic to animals and fish. OSHA has added a skin notation to its PEL for acrylamide, indicating that workplace dermal exposure should be controlled. It soaks into skin immediately. It has no business in lotion.
Polyethylene- (PEG) compounds. Petroleum product. Plastic coating that prevents regeneration and is associated with pre-mature aging.
Preservatives - "Preservatives used in skin care products ensure that the products do not become contaminated with bacteria, mold or yeast and to prevent rancidity from oxygen; however, consumers should note the choice of preservatives, since many can have adverse effects."
Parabens were created to be a chemical food preservatives. Parabens are a group of the alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid and typically include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and benzylparaben. They cause skin irritation in some people but are tolerated by the general public. Parabens are classified as toxic chemicals when applied to the skin, especially in lotions and creams, in other major countries. There is a debate that parabens may be linked to the development of breast cancer. *According to a study published in 2004 in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, parabens have been found in some tissue samples from human breast tumors. But so far the American Cancer Society will not support that this study alone means parabens are linked to breast cancer. Parabens are weakly estrogenic. Too much estrogen causes cancer in women and causes developmental problems in prepubescent boys. Some scientists say Parabens are linked to testicular cancer. This is a hot topic. But people really love there paraben preservatives. I personally find them irritating to my skin as well as a couple of my children's skin and just not worth the serious risk for us.
Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate- Thought to possibly present risks to human reproduction and development by reducing fertility or reducing a chance for a healthy, full-term pregnancy. Suspected to be neuro-toxic Suspected to be gastrointestinal or liver toxic.
"Some preservatives release small amounts of formaldehyde, which the EPA classifies as a probable human carcinogen. Avoid the following ingredients, all of which contain formaldehyde, release formaldehyde, or break down into formaldehyde:bronopol (often listed as 2-brono-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol);diazolidinyl urea;DMDM hydantion;imidazolidinyl urea;quaternium 15." And a lot of people claim that Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is all natural. It is not. It is a chemically altered amino acid preservative. It can break down into a formaldehyde. This product is very irritating to the skin for many people, and is always irritating to the eyes. Imidazolidinyl urea and DM hydantoine (Germall Plus, Germall II and Germal 115) are toxic. (I can't believe how many "homemade", "healthy" and even "natural" products list this amongst their ingredients). They have the loosening effect of formaldehyde. They are the main cause of eczema and contact dermatitis in skin care product preservatives (according to the American Academy of Dermatology).
Phenoxyethanol is linked to cancer and in high doses it is linked to organ damage, developmental defects, brain and nervous system effects and is a skin allergen and irritant.
Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment and Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment - I debated whether or not to add these to 'harmful ingredients'. These compounds have not been assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel. However there is much evidence to suggest they are harmful lotion ingredients. they help penetrate the skin and bring everything else toxic in the lotion or the environment with them. Also, "Ferment" means fermentation... which is aging to the skin and, in combination with the metallic minerals zinc and magnesium, can be toxic.Silicone derived emollients - "Silicone emollients are occlusive - that is they coat the skin, trapping anything beneath it, and do not allow the skin to breathe (much like plastic wrap would do.) Recent studies have indicated that prolonged exposure of the skin to sweat, by occlusion, causes skin irritation. Some synthetic emollients are known tumor promoters and accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. They are also non-biodegradable, causing negative environmental impact. Dimethicone, Dimethicone Copolyol, Dimethiconol, Cyclomethicone etc. are all silicone derived emollients. Silicone was and still is used as breast implants. Tens of thousands of women with breast implants have complained of debilitating symptoms. Anecdotal evidence indicates silicone to be toxic to the human body. For more detailed information on the dangers of silicone simply key "silicone toxicity" into the Google search engine." Source: Healthreport/uk
- Sodium Hydroxide - "A powerful alkali used in industry for cleaning drains and pipe lines also used in oven cleaners. Workers exposed to steam containing sodium hydroxide have suffered lung damage and an increased risk of throat cancer. Used in toothpastes and as a pH adjuster in skin creams. Causes contact dermatitis and may sensitize individuals to other chemicals
Talc - Used especially as baby powder and in deodorant and antiperspirant products. Long term use can produce the same effects as long term exposure to asbestos. It is mined from the same place as asbestos. It is a carcinogen. It irritates the respiratory system, especially in infants. Talc particles have been found in tumors of female patients who use products with talc in them regularly on their undergarments or pads to absorb moisture.
Triethanolamine - Skin irritant, skin sensitizer, eye irritant, resporitory irritant, asthma trigger, moderate evidence human immune system toxin, limited evidence human carcinogen, limited evidence organ toxin. These findings are especially evident in products meant to be left on and soaked into the skin instead of washed off, like moisturizers.