Most of us buy skincare products because we want them to help our skin. However, did you know that most skincare products contain a multitude of chemicals that can harm us? In fact, this issue is so prevalent that scientists have put together a “Dirty Dozen” list, based on the list of the most pesticide-laden produce. Given below are four chemicals from this list and a short summary of what makes them so harmful.
What: Parabens are the most commonly used preservatives.
Where: Parabens are found in every single beauty product, ranging from moisturizers to toothpaste and makeup.
What is the Deal?: Parabens interfere with the human body’s hormones, specifically estrogen. This leads to a risk of breast cancer, and the development of female body parts for males. It can also cause skin irritation.
FYI: Since fragrance recipes are ‘trade secrets’ and the ingredients do not need to be disclosed, there is a high chance of parabens being used in popular perfumes.
What: DEA stands for diethanolamine and is used to make products sudsy and creamy. They also adjust pH.
Where: DEA is commonly found in moisturizers and cleansers.
What is the Deal?: For humans, DEA can cause mild skin and eye irritation. However, especially in the case of cleansers, when the product is washed off, it goes back into the water system and the environment. The DEA can then bioaccumulate in fishes and sea creatures and poison them and their predators.
FYI: The European Commission has banned the use of DEA in cosmetics. The FDA has not.
What: Coal tar is a by-product of burning coal.
Where: Coal tar is used in the artificial coloring of makeup products and hair dye.
What is the Deal?: Coal tar is linked to various types of cancer including lung, bladder, kidney, and the digestive tract. It can also cause skin tumors and various neurological problems, including sleep disturbances.
FYI: Hair dyes and skin products that contain coal tar must have a label on the packaging. They must also include precautions for the product.
What: Siloxane is a man-made molecule that contains different chains of silicones and hydrogens.
Where: It is used significantly in cosmetics and hair products. Some of the things siloxanes does is, it defrizzes hair, makes products dry quickly, and helps keep products creamy.
What’s the Deal?: Siloxanes are toxic and are known as endocrine disruptors. They also bioaccumulate in organisms and are very hard to remove.
FYI: Siloxanes are made of D4, D5, and D6 siloxanes. If you see dimethicone or Cyclomethycaine on your shampoo bottle, it contains siloxane!
This is most definitely not a complex list of hidden chemicals. However, we hope this inspires you to watch out for these chemicals in your own products. Keep a lookout on Plantie for the second part of this series!