Since a comprehensive list of dangerous ingredients would be impossible to list here, to help you identify chemicals you should definitely avoid, begin by checking for some of the most commonly used and the worst enemies to our health. Here’s the short list:
Parabens. Used in about 99 percent of beauty products to prevent oxidation, kill bacteria. They are rapidly absorbed into skin. These are easily recognized since they end in “paraben” such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben. Parabens are cheap synthetic preservatives that can cause havoc on the hormone estrogen and may even increase breast and prostate cancer risk. Parabens are considered illegal in Europe.
Fragrance. Manufacturers are not required to disclose ingredients that make up a fragrance. Without transparency, if the label says “fragrance”, “parfum” or “perfume”, assume it’s a secret chemical cocktail with possibly hundreds of toxic chemicals that could possibly be damaging to your health. You may need to contact the company to see what they used but don’t be surprised if they don’t disclose the ingredients.
Phthalates. To help identify these, look for ingredients listed as DBP (dibutyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), BBP (benzyl butyl phthalate) or similar. These chemicals are used in many products like moisturizers and skin lotions to make them more liquid, hold color and scent and soften plastics. They are well-known for causing a wide range of issues including reproductive dysfunction, congenital disabilities, asthma, diabetes and even ADHD.
Triclosan or Microban. These are antibacterial agents used to prevent bacterial growth but don’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria. They may contribute to antibiotic resistance and even be responsible for the rise of superbugs and other dangerous illnesses. Look for these ingredients in your antibacterial soaps, detergents, toothpaste, deodorants, shaving products, hand creams, color cosmetics.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This is a common coconut-derived foaming agent in skincare and hair care products. It is a proven skin irritant and a possible carcinogen. It’s also been linked to kidney and liver dysfunction. SLES (Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate) contains the carcinogen contaminate 1,4-dioxane.
Sodium Benzoate. Mold inhibitor and is known to be a carcinogen.
Benzene. Derivatives can be carcinogenic.
Synthetic Dyes and Colors. Appear on labels as FD&C or D&C. followed by a color and a number i.e. Red No. 6 or Green No. 6.
Petrochemicals. These are derived from petroleum, natural gas or coal. They appear on labels as mineral oil, petroleum and paraffin wax. Identify these by prefixes and suffixes. Chemicals ending in “eth” means ethylene oxide was used to produce them i.e. myreth, oleth, laureth and ceteareth. Butanol can be identified by the prefix “butyl” i.e. butyl alcohol, butyl paraben, butylene glycol. Ethanol can be identified with “ethyl” i.e. ethylene glycol, ethylene dichloride, EDTA. Methanol can be spotted by “methyl” preceding its compound i.e. methyl alcohol, methylcellulose. Be alert to ingredients with “propyl” i.e. isopropyl alcohol. Look for abbreviations PEG and DEA. Petrochemicals can be absorbed through the skin and bioaccumulate in the organs and tissues, posing serious health risks.
Since your skin is your biggest organ, it can quickly absorb these chemicals and toxins from your personal care and skin products. It is these toxins and others that can make you more prone to disease. Do you really want them on or inside your body? Why not make the choice to avoid them?
There are so many environmental toxins around us that we can’t control. Think of the air you breathe, soil and water, food sprayed with pesticides, synthetic and artificial products, GMOs, etc. It’s downright scary to entertain what we may be accumulating inside. This is why it’s important to take control of what you can. It's up to you to choose whether or not to purchase products with these dangers.
It was my experience with two Stage 4 Blood Cancers that inspired me to dig deeper into the ingredients in the personal care products I’d been using.
My Alchemy Skin Care was created as a result of my own Beauty Detox while addressing skin issues chemo left me with. While I can’t control everything I put on or into my body, I can take control of what I can by making healthier and wiser buying decisions. I feel so much safer using My Alchemy Skin Care knowing on our watch there will never be any dangerous ingredients added to our products. When you choose our products, you can trust we care about you and our planet.
Co-Founder of My Alchemy Skin Care