"Paraben-free" products are becoming more and more mainstream. While it's a great start, there are many other chemicals that can be found in personal care products that are just as toxic and irritating. Even in products that claim to be "natural".
What goes on your body goes in your body®.
That's why it's important to read the ingredient list on your favourite products. Check to see if any of the nasties listed below are in them.
We've compiled this Hot List based on David Suzuki's Dirty Dozen List. If you'd like to learn more about the science behind the list feel free to click here.
The general ingredient name is listed first with how it's usually listed in an INCI listing beside it in brackets.
1. PARABENS (methyl-, butyl-, ethyl-, propyl-): A synthetic preservative believed to be an endocrine disruptor that mimics Estrogen in the body. Elevated levels of estrogen can lead to certain cancers in women, lower birth weight in male babies and can cause young girls to enter puberty early.
2. PHTHALATES (seldom listed on the ingredient deck of a product. Often hidden under "fragrance" or "parfum".): Used as a fragrance enhancer, or penetration aid. Like parabens, phthalates are an endocrine disruptor. They are also known to be a common allergen and irritant.
3. SULPHATES (sodium laureth sulphate and sodium lauryl sulphate): This synthetic foaming agent is the leading cause of contact dermatitis and is a skin and eye irritant.
4. PETROLEUM/PEG (PEG followed by a number): Often used as an emollient or humectant, petroleum infredeints have been shown to cuase allergies and skin irritation. They are also comedogenic, so they are especially bad for those prone to breakouts.
5. BHT: This ingredient is used primarily as a preservative and is a common skin irritant. There is evidence that it is a potential cancer causing agent.
6. ARTIFICIAL COLOURS (FD&C and D&C followed by a number): These colours are often derived from coat tar and studies have shown these to be potentially carcinogenic and toxic.
7. DEA (Lauramide DEA or Cocamide DEA): This foaming agent is a stong skin irritant and studies have found a potential connection between DEA and certain kinds of cancer.
8. TEA (Triethanoliamine): Used as a pH balancer and emulsifier, TEA is a known skin and respiratory irritant.
9. PROPYLENE GLYCOL: A humectant that has been classified as a strong skin irritant and some studies have shown that when mixed with certain ingredients it can be a potential carcinogen.
10. DIAZOLIDINYL UREA: This preservative is know as a harsh skin irritant. It can also contain formaldehyde which has carcinogenic and skin irritant properties.