If you have dry skin, avoid these ingredients in your moisturizer
According to the Environmental Working Group, the average woman uses 12 products every single day that contain a total of approximately 168 different ingredients.The problem with this is that when a product uses that many ingredients, it is challenging to regulate those ingredients. Many of these personal care products have chemicals that can affect hormonal balance, fertility, and some have been linked to cancer.
The American government does not require any health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals found in so many of the skin care products we use daily. This means that a product can go straight to store shelves from manufacturing without any type of approval or safety testing. The FDA regulates what is displayed on the package, not what is inside the package.
What’s more, companies don’t have to report any complaints to the FDA. For example, if a product causes a reaction and I complain to the company, they don’t legally have to do anything about it. It is up to you to educate yourself on which ingredients are harmful and how to choose the right products.
To help you out, here are the top 10 major ingredients found in personal care products, more specifically facial moisturizer, that everyone should be avoiding.
1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
These two ingredients are added to about 90 percent of personal care products to create foam, lather and suds. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and SLES has been known to cause skin irritation and disrupt your skin’s natural oil balance. There is also evidence that it contributes to eye damage and acne. One of the biggest concerns regarding the two ingredients, is the potential that exists to combine with other chemicals and create nitrosamines, a known carcinogen.
When a skin care product, like face moisturizer, contains “fragrance” in the ingredients list, it is actually a mask for a completely different ingredient list. Companies are not required to list any chemicals used in their fragrance mixtures, deeming it a “secret formula,” so you have no way of knowing exactly what is in the product. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.
3. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
This ingredient has been classified as a human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. It can cause liver damage and stomach cancers, as well as interfering with the development of the reproductive system and hormone levels. Butylated Hydroxyanisole is typically found in “fragrances,” which means you may never actually see this listed under ingredients because it is masked under the words “parfum” and “fragrance.”
4. Triclosan and Triclocarban
Triclosan and triclocarban are used as antibacterial agents in skin care products, such as face wash and face moisturizer. Both ingredients have been linked to hormonal disruptions, bacterial resistance, impaired muscle and immune function and an increase in allergies.
5. Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl)
Parabens are used as preservatives in over 10,000 different skin care products, including facial moisturizers. Parabens mimic the hormone estrogen, causing a hormonal imbalance, which links the ingredients to breast cancer, skin cancer, and decreased sperm count. Other strands of parabens, such as propyl and butyl, disrupt the endocrine and reproductive systems and may also cause developmental disorders. Avoid any ingredients with the suffix “-paraben.”
6. PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
Used in facial moisturizers and cleansers to thicken the product, polyethylene glycol reduces the skin’s natural moisture. They are synthetic chemicals that many times are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane— a human carcinogen.
This is another ingredient commonly disguised into the word “fragrance.” Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive birth defects in both men and women.
8. Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid and retinol
These ingredients are typically used in skin care products that are marketed as “anti-aging.” Because retinols become carcinogenic in sunlight, they do the exact opposite of what they are intended to do. They should only be used at night and you should never use a sunscreen containing any retinol ingredients. These ingredients are linked to cancer and cause developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Found in sunscreen and face moisturizers containing SPF, Oxybenzone is a high-risk chemical. It imitates estrogen, alters sperm production and is linked to endometriosis in women. Instead, look for SPF products that are made with zinc oxide or titanium oxide.
Hydroquinone is a highly toxic ingredient used in facial moisturizer and skin care products to lighten the skin. In the US, it is a suspected carcinogen, but in Europe it is banned completely. In addition, the bleaching chemical can cause a skin disease called ochronosis in which blue-black lesions form on the skin.
Approximately 60 percent of the products we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. The FDA has little control and regulation over what these skin products are made of, which is why we need to take matters into our own hands and be mindful of what products to trust.