Ingredients to Avoid

Here is a basic list of ingredients that you may wish to avoid. Personally, I am concerned about links to skin irritations, eczema and dermatitis. You will read that some ingredients are linked to cancer. I suggest further research is needed and individuals must decided for themselves whether they believe there is a connection. 
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) - is a surfactant (detergent) which is a foaming agent, found in cosmetic products and used as an industrial cleaning chemical (used to degrease engines!). It is has the potential to cause irritation to skin
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) & Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) - same as above. Derivatives of SLS may vary slightly in mildness BUT the general action and effects are similar.
  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate - an antimicrobial preservative that works by forming formaldehyde in cosmetic products. Can cause allergic reactions.
  • Parabens (Methylparaben/Propylparaben/Butylparaben/Ethylparaben) - a preservative ingredient which mimics estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptor.
  • Mineral oil (e.g paraffinum liquidum) - a petroleum derived ingredient, used as a skin emollient, no proven effectiveness, regarded as a cheap filler ingredient for personal care products.
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) - this can be from a natural source but it's usually a synthetic petrochemical mix 
  • Artificial Fragrance or Parfum - an undisclosed collection of chemicals due to being protected by Trade Secret Laws but it is associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory issues and potential effects on the reproductive system.
  • Artificial Colours - These are labelled as FD&C or D&C on the label, followed by a colour and a number. Worth noting that Carmine (aka Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red 4 C.I. 75470 or E120) is derived from boiling insects!
  • DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) 
  • Formaldehyde - common ingredient in nail polish and Brazilian Blow Dry. It is a carcinogenic impurity released by a number of cosmetic preservatives, including diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, and sodium hydroxylmethylglycinate. Linked to irritation of skin, eyes and lungs.
  • Urea - excreted from urine and other bodily fluids so may be derived from animals, if you are vegetarian/vegan you will probably chose to avoid. Can also be a synthetic ingredient.
  • Triclosan - antibacterial agent and preservative, persistent in the environment and may be associated with endocrine (hormonal) toxicity. Linked to skin irritation. 
  • Phthalates (DBP/DMP/DEP) & bisphenol A (BPA)  - mainly used as plasticizers and have raised health concerns. Tests on animals have shown plasticizers and BPA to affect reproductive systems. They act as endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals, mimicking sex hormones in the body.
  • Talc - can be contaminated with asbestos fibres, posing risks for respiratory toxicity and cancer.
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) - has recently been linked to a rise in cases of eczema and dermatitis. Some professionals would like to see a ban on its use in personal care products. 
  • Japanese Honeysuckle - often regarded as a controversial ingredient "natural paraben", more research is needed and within "green" community online opinion is divided over the safety of this ingredient.
  • Phenoxyethanol - as above divided opinions over the use of this ingredient. Often used as a replacement for parabens. Personally, I am cautious of this ingredient but have not eliminated completely.
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine  - a synthetic surfactant that has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis
  • Lanolin - extracted from sheep wool and a product of the oil from their glands. It is used as an emollient in skin care products and regarded as an allergen with no proven effectiveness. (look out for E913 on food labels)
  • Emu Oil - a popular ingredient in Australian skincare, it is a by-product of the meat industry, the emu is killed for it's meat and the oil is obtained from fat on the emu's back.
  • Silk - Silkworms (caterpillar stage of the silk moth) spin cocoons when in their pupal stage, silk thread is extracted from the cocoons by placing in boiling water, which kills the silkworms.
  • Shellac - natural polymer derived from lac beetles found in nail polish & food (look for E904)
  • Bee Venom - Bees are given a tiny electric shock as they enter the hive, not enough to kill them (debatable as I'm sure some would die) but just enough to put them in a bad mood so they will release venom. This method is regarded as cruelty free (?????) because the alternative would involve killing the bees by removing the stinger and venom sacks. I have discussed other bee by-products in a blog post, click here
  • Keratin Protein from horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals and popular in hair products. There are alternatives derived from fruit and nuts.
I also have a blog post briefly outlining my definition of natural products and greenwashing click here

1 comment:

  1. This list is so comprehensive and useful, thank you for having this on your blog!

    ReplyDelete
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