If you want to stay away from these chemicals stay out of mainstream drug stores, department stores, and grocery stores. You can also make you own cosmetic products, which I will discuss later. Start shopping for body care products at Natural food stores but this is no guarantee. Some so-called natural companies are better than others. You still have to learn to read labels before you purchase or use anything on your body. Think of it this way; don't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't eat. Look for products made from herbs and plants found in nature.
Beware of these following claims:
1. Not tested on animals. Just because the finished product wasn't tested on animals doesn't mean that the individual chemicals in the product weren't!
2.Natural- Means absolutely nothing.
3.Organic-Only one ingredient in the formulation has to be organic for this claim to be made.
Avoid Certain Ingredients:
I can't possibly mention all the ingredients to avoid. Rule of thumb, if you can't pronounce it don't use it. Here are just a few:
1) Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, and Ethyl Parabens- Preservatives derived from petroleum used in 99% of all hair and skin products today and in many so-called 'natural' products. They are highly toxic, mimic estrogen, cause hormone imbalances, and are linked to reproductive cancer. They may play a role in falling sperm counts and rising breast cancer rates. Companies use these because they are extremely cheap and they extend the shelf life of the product by inhibiting microbial growth.
2.) Formaldehydes: DMDM hydantoin, Quaternium 15, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol-Widely used as preservatives second only to the parabens. They release formaldehyde at just over ten degrees. They are known to be irritating to mucus membranes, can cause an inability to urinate, skin rashes, internal bleeding, and are known carcinogens.
2) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)-This toxic synthetic (used for its foaming properties) is a harsh detergent believed to case urinary tract, bladder, and kidney infections, genital disorders, eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp problems similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions. It forms carcinogenic nitrogen compounds when combined with specific ingredients. It penetrates the skin and has long-term retention in the body. Almost every "regular' conventional shampoo contains it. Also found in toothpaste. It is frequently disguised in so called "natural" cosmetics with the explanation that the source is " from coconut."
3) Synthetic Colors- Labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color number (such as FD&C Yellow 6) Developed from coal tar, aluminum salts, and lead. Lead toxicity primarily targets the nervous system, kidneys, bones, heart, blood and poses greatest risk to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Many colors are considered to be cancer causing. Some dyes are a risk to asthmatics, eczema sufferers and people sensitive to aspirin. Some cause hyperactivity in children, severe headaches, blurred vision and itchy/watery eyes and nose. (When you wear lipstick with these colors--and most contain them--you are EATING them!)
4) Synthetic Fragrances-When a label simply lists "fragrance," it can refer to any combination of up to 200 cheap, synthetic, toxic ingredients that can cause headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Fragrances can affect the central nervous system causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes. They mimic estrogen, remain in body fat, and have been found in mother's breast milk.
5). Parraffin -Derived from petroleum in the form of wax, mineral oil or petrolatum jelly. Paraffins promote sun damage, as well as coating the skin and interfering with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism. They mimic estrogen. They create the very conditions they claim to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap. Found in chap sticks, lip sticks, lotions, and other personal care products.
6.) Aluminum -Aluminum is mostly absorbed through the skin, lungs, and intestinal tract. Too much aluminum may cause problems with metabolic processes, particularly those concerning calcium, phosphorus and iron. Aluminum may also contribute to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, dementia, and other neurological disorders. It is carcinogenic, toxic and mutagenic; a coloring agent found in eye shadows, toothpastes, hair dyes, antiperspirants, lipsticks and more.
7.) Sunscreen-Avoid conventional sunscreens. Avoid these ingredients: Octyl-Dimethyl-Para-Amino-Benzoic Acid and Oxybenzone. Research shows that a factor in skin cancer may be a result of the sunscreen chemicals absorbing into our skin and the toxins mutating in the hot sun. Look for natural sunscreen with Titanium Dioxide (a mineral) and other natural ingredients.
Other list of ingredients to avoid (not all inclusive): PROPELYNE GLYCOL, DMDM HYDRATOIN, TEA (Triethanolamine)/ DEA (Diethanolamine) , BEHENTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, MERCURY, THIMEROSAL, LEAD ACETATE, FORMALDEHYDE, TOLUENE, PETROLEUM DISTILLATES, ETHYLACRYLATE, COAL TAR, DIBUTYL PHTHALATE, SELENIUM SULFIDE, DIMETHYLAMINE, ZIRCONIUM SILICATE, ACRYLAMIDE, PHENYLPHENOL, HEXACHLOROPHENE, LIDOCAINE, HYDROXYANISOLE, BHA, LITHIUM CARBONATE, DIMETHYL SULFOXIDE, IODINE, PHENACETIN, PHENOLPHTHALEIN, PROGESTERONE, ALUMINUM ZIRCONIUM TETRACHLOROHYDREX GLYCINE COMPLEX, ANHYDROUS, FERRIC AMMONIUM CITRATE, 2- AMINO- 4- NITROPHENOL, BRUCINE, DIPHENHYDRAMINE HCL, TETRAHYDROZOLINE HYDROCHLORIDE, LIDOCAINE HCL, 2- METHYLOXIRANE, HYDROABIETYL ALCOHOL, LITSEA CITRATA (VERBENA) OIL, DIETHANOLAMINE CETYL PHOSPHATE, TALC, LANOLIN, GLYCOLIC ACID, BISMUTH OXYCHLORIDE . . .
Most of the information from this article I got from: http://www.beautytruth.net/
Sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate are alkyl sulfates and are surfactants widely used in most shampoos, toothpaste, lotions and creams today. Labeling regulations allow "derived from coconut oil" which is untrue today because they are synthetically produced now from petroleum but was true in the 1940’s when originally developed. The chemical industry considers them to be some of their most gentle cleansers for the skin and hair, especially sodium laureth sulfate. In high concentrations they both are very irritant, drying to skin, hair, irritating to eyes, caused damages like cracking, severe inflammation and cause allergic reactions. They both have a lot of potential to become contaminated with nitrosamines. Sulfates are used to manufacture these synthetic surfactants and are harmful to marine life and the environment.
Alkyloamides have actions that are thickening, gelling, emulsifying, foam boosting, foam stabilizing and opacifying, which changes appearance from clear to cloudy, sometimes making white pearl-like appearance. 4 Main groups of alkyloamides are: diethanolamides (DEA), monoethanolamides (MEA), monoisopropanolamides (MIPA), ethoxylated or PEG alkanolamides. All are harmful to environment and can become contaminated with nitrosamines.
Amodimethicone is silicone fluid used to give a smooth feel which causes allergic reactions.
CA-24 (chloroacetamide) also known as acidamide is used as antimicrobial in shampoos and bath lotions at concentrations up to 0.3%. People have had allergic reactions from it using as little as 0.1% dilution. The European Economic Community requires label warnings on products containing chloroacetamide.
Cocoamide DEA is a synthetic foam stabilizer and thickener which may be contaminated with carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Cocamidopropyl betaine causes eyelid dermatitis.
Sodium Myeth Sulfate is a synthetic detergent and not biodegradable.
DMDM Hydantoin is a form of formaldehyde and is used as a preservative.
Ext. D&C Color certified as safe for drugs and cosmetics, not for food. It is a synthetic, coal tar color and is toxic. Coal tar has been shown to be carcinogenic in animal tests and many people are allergic to it.
Ext. D&C Violet #2 is in the anthraquinone family of coal tars which is made from phthalic anhydride and benzene. This chemical mix causes tumors in lab rats and causes serious skin rashes. Benzene is a petrochemical solvent known to cause depression, convulsions, coma and death with prolonged exposure suspected to cause leukemia. Even inhaling the vapors can be absorbed through the skin and cause irritation.
Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen and found in many preservatives including the hydantoins. It’s extremely toxic when inhaled or swallowed. Nearly half of all people exposed to it experience a toxic reaction. In the past the FDA banned formaldehyde in cosmetics but is still used in shampoos. EEC requires label disclosure if it used in a certain percentage.
Glyceryl Stearate S.E. a synthetic used for a pearlizing effect, emulsifier and opacifier (changes appearance from clear to cloudy) which can cause irritation and clogged pores.
Imidazolidinyl urea (also known as Germall and phenoxyethanol) is a synthetic preservative that can release formaldehyde at temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Irgasan DP 300 ( also named Triclosan) is phototoxic, an environmental pollutant because hydrocarbons are known to pollute the air, water and land, and a suspected carcinogen because it comes from coal tar.
Lauramide DEA is a surfactant, foam-builder, can be irritating to the skin and can be contaminated with nitrosamines.
Laureth 1-40 a synthetic surfactant and foaming agent.
Laurylmyrist-oleamidosulfo-succinate a synthetic fatty alcohol used as a dispersant and a surfactant that causes allergic reactions and damages the environment.
Linoleamidopropyl ethly dimonium ethosulfate can be contaminated with carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Methylparaben a synthetic preservative.
Mineral Oil is manufactured from petroleum and causes allergic reactions with topical use and many be phototoxic.
Propylene Glycol is considered safe by the FDA and is a petrochemical used in antifreeze and brake fluid. It is a cheap synthetic humectant and emulsifier made from mineral oil. Sweet and natural vegetable glycerin would do just as well and not be harmful. It’s use as a humectant and moisturizer is questionable because it replaces and repels important components for healthy skin. Skin functions on water and propylene acts as a replacement for water but the skin can’t use it. A low concentration of it is advised in products but you will often find it near the top of the ingredient list indicating a high concentration. High level of usage is a considered a possible cause of increasing liver and kidney related health problems. In 1991 a report to the American Academy of Dermatologists showed it to cause a significant number of reactions and was a primary irritant to the skin even in low levels of concentration.
Quaternary ammonium salts including stearalkonium chloride, quaternary-15 (a fungicide) are used in the paper and fabric industries, as fabric softeners, water repellents, anti-static agents and corrosion inhibitors. They are very common in hair conditioners and crème rinses. While initially giving a soft feel to hair they eventually make the hair dry and brittle also causing skin rashes and allergic reactions and environmental harm. The agents in conditioners and crème rinses can build up and coat the hair to such an extent that it takes stronger and harsher shampoos to lift the film. Quaternary-15 has caused severe sensitivities to medical drugs.
Nitrosamines All "amines" and "amides" are capable of forming N-nitroso compounds which, in animal experiments, have been found to be quite carcinogenic. One in particular that occurs in many cosmetics is identified as NDELA N-nitrosodiethanolamine which according to a 1977 FDA report is a potent carcinogen. The chemical, TEA (triethanolamine), extensively used in cosmetics is the one primarily suspected of creating NDELA. DEA (diethanolamine) is another one capable of forming NDELA. Not much press has been given to this subject but one consumer magazine has recommended not using products containing TEA or DEA. One study reported over 40% of TEA containing products tested contained nitrosamines.
Health conscious individuals take care to avoid eating food containing nitrates but even typical use of a shampoo contaminated with NDELA can lead to even higher levels of absorption than eating it.
Nitrosamines are contaminants of chemical based cosmetic products. Contamination can occur during many stages of manufacturing including certain pH balances, water solutions and in storage and shipment from the seams in the metal drums. Because of the chemical nature of common preservatives used in these conventional products, they either do not protect from nitrosamine formation or they actually contribute to further contamination.
Examples of typical ingredients likely to be contaminated with nitrosamines:
sodium lauryl sulfate, TEA-lauryl sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, TEA laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, lauroyl sarcosine, cocoyl sarcosine, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, sodium cocoyl sarcosinate, potassium coco-hydrolyzed animal protein, formaldehyde, hydrolyzed animal protein, imidazolidinyl urea, monethanolamine (MEA), quaternium-7, 15, 31, 60 etc., disodium oleamide sulfosuccinate, sodium dioctyl sulfosuccinate, sodium methyl oleoyl sulfate and sodium lauryl isoethionate, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, sodium nitrite, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol.