If one researches what ingredients are in various standard cosmetics and skincare products on the market, it is a minefield of science! Here are some of the ingredients you may find in your skin and beauty products and the dangers they can cause:
Found to reduce sperm count
Benzene/Benzoic Acid/Benzyl Benzoate
Considered a carcinogen, is an endocrine disruptor, and is suspected to cause birth defects
Known human carcinogen. Prohibited for us in cosmetics in the European Union. May contian harmful impurities or breakdown products. Found in dandruff shampoos, anti-itch creams and hair dyes.
Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Paraben
Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Studies have shown that they are weakly estrogenic and can be absorbed by the body through the skin. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic.
Prohibited for us in cosmetics in the European Union. Possoble human reproductive or developmental toxin. Endocrine disruptor. Found in some nail polish, perfume and hair spray.
Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA)
Often used in cosmetics as emulsifiers and/or foaming agents. They can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are "amines" (ammonia compounds) and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. Toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time. This chemical interferes with the body's ability to absorb choline which is needed for proper fetal brain development.
Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea
These are widely used preservatives. The American Academy of Dermatology has found them to be a primary cause of contact dermatitis. Two trade names for these chemicals are Germall II and Germall 115. Neither of the Germall chemicals contains a good antifungal agent, and they must be combined with other preservatives. Both these chemicals release formaldehyde, which can be toxic.
This is an extreme irritant to the mucous membranes with often destructive effects. It is also considered to be a neurotoxin and carcinogen.
The label of "Fragrances" can mask a multitude of toxic, synthetic chemicals, many of which suppress the immune system, are endocrine disruptors, and cause cancer. When looking for scented products, make sure it's scented by essential oils -- which are expensive; therefore, companies usually list what essential oils are contained in the product without reverting to the generic term "Fragrances".
This is a skin irritant that causes flushing, pulse rate fluctuations, dizziness, headaches, and nausea.
Known human reproductive and developmental toxin. Prohibited for use in cosmetics in the European Union. Found in some hair dyes and cleanser.
Possible human carcinogen. Possoble human reproductive or developmental toxin. Found in some eye drops and ointment.
Methylisothiazoline, or MIT
This can cause skin and eye irritation and is known to cause neurological damage.
Parabens (Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben)
Increases a person's risk of breast cancer. These class of chemicals are also endocrine disruptors and have been linked to fertility problems.
Also known as petroleum jelly, this mineral oil derivative is used for its emollient properties in cosmetics. It has no nutrient value for the skin and can interfere with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dryness and chapping. It often creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.
Possible human carcinogen. May contain harmful impurities or breakdown products. Prohibited for use in cosmetics in the European Union. Found in some mascara, perfume, foundation, lipstick and lip balm.
This has been linked to damage of the organs -- kidneys, lungs, and liver -- as well as the reproductive system.
Ideally this is a vegetable glycerin mixed with grain alcohol, both of which are natural. Usually it is a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. It has been known to cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema. When you see PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol) on labels, beware—these are related synthetics. Although exposure to high levels of Propylene Glycol is known to cause serious and potentially irreversible health conditions, the chemical industry tell us that "small" quantities or low level exposure of Propylene Glycol is "safe" to use on the skin and in food. According to the safety data sheets of industrial chemical manufacturers, chemicals such as Ethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol will cause serious health conditions, including liver and heart damage and damage to the central nervous system if sufficient is absorbed by the body.
A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, styling aids and other cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since inhaled particles can damage the lungs of sensitive persons.
Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate
A cheap, harsh detergent used in shampoos for its cleansing and foam-building properties. Often derived from petroleum, it is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the phrase "comes from coconuts." It causes eye irritation, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, skin rashes and other allergic reactions.
A quaternary ammonium compound used in hair conditioners and creams. Developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, it is a lot cheaper and easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins or herbals, which are beneficial to the hair. Causes allergic reactions. Toxic.
Used to make cosmetics "pretty," synthetic colors, along with synthetic hair dyes, should be avoided at all costs. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Many synthetic colors can be carcinogenic. If a cosmetic contains them, don't use it.
The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are, since on the label it will simply read "fragrance." Some problems caused by these chemicals include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation—the list goes on. Advice: Don't buy a cosmetic that has the word "fragrance" on the ingredients label.