7 Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics

We have put together a list of the top 7 ingredients to avoid in cosmetics. According to a non-profit organization, the Environmental Working Group, only 11% of the 10,500 ingredients in cosmetics have been tested for safety.

Number 1: Coal Tar

Coal tar is a known carcinogen currently in use of dandruff shampoos, anti-itch creams, and as a main base for many dyes used in mouth washes and toothpastes, that’s right we’re putting this stuff in our mouths!

Number 2: Fragrances

Fragrance is a very non-descriptive term used to mask over 500 ingredients of which most have not been tested for safety. Among those ingredients are phalphates, which disrupt the endocrine system and are linked to re-productive and developmental harm

Number 3: Hydroquine

Hydroquine is a neuro-toxin and severe allergenic substance used in many skin lighteners and facial moisturizers

Number 4: Aluminum

Aluminum rolls up as number 4 on the list as it is a known carcinogen and has been found to be mutagenic. 90% of deodorants contain aluminum and it is found in many eye-shadows as a base.

Number 5: Triclosan

Triclosan is used in the majority of anti-bacterial products which include toothpaste, soap, and cosmetics. It’s often contaminated with dioxins which can weaken the immune system, decrease fertility, and cause birth defects.

Number 6: P-phenylediamine

The next tongue twisting chemical is known as P-phenylediamine and is found in most drug store hair dyes. It can cause lung irritation, be damaging to your nervous system, and cause severe allergic reactions.

Number 7: Toxic Metals Lead and Mercury

The last but certainly not least chemicals are toxic metals lead and mercury. The tricky thing about these neuro-toxins is that they do not appear under these names. Lead can often be found in tooth paste under “hydrated silica” or can be found as lead acetate in men’s hair dyes. Mercury is found in a cosmetic preservative called “thimersol”.

Although I may have just painted a scary picture in your head there are some safe natural products out there that are gentle and effective yet won’t wreck havoc with your hormones, lungs, and liver. While shopping for beauty products exclude using anything toxic and carcinogenic and opt for natural and organic whenever possible. But be wary because natural and organic are claims that can be based on as low as 5% of the product content and these terms are not regulated so you must check the ingredient list.

Interested in learning how to read cosmetic labels and protect yourself from “green-washed” marketing scams? Check out the next Free Radical for an easy guide on how to read labels and make better beauty buys. While you’re at it, read this

Consumer Update — FDA admits inability to ensure the safety of personal care products (2005).