Are your skincare products causing more harm than good? Unfortunately, every day millions of people unknowingly use chemical-filled products that not only don’t help your skin, but actually harm your skin.
Many “moisturizing lotions” you see at the grocery store actually have a wide variety of harmful chemicals that can dry out and damage your skin. These lotions simply coat the surface of your body with a layer of petroleum to make it feel softer, and trap moisture in.
Why would they use products such as parabens, mineral oil, antifreeze, formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals? Because they are cheap. Mineral oil is a byproduct from the process used to create gasoline. Companies found out it was actually cheaper to give the mineral oil away rather than dispose of it.
Despite the big, bold claims you’ll find on many skincare labels, they often include ingredients that can cause a wide range of health problems.
In fact, eczema is often triggered by certain ingredients that are found in skincare products.
What’s worse, is that many eczema treatments contain harsh ingredients that may help reduce symptoms (itch and pain), while causing a whole new set of problems.
After familiarizing yourself with the top 10 skincare ingredients to avoid, you’ll want to stick with natural skin care products from here on out.
10 Cosmetic Ingredients To Avoid For Healthy Skin
1. Benzoyl Peroxide
Typically used in acne medications, this ingredient comes with a disturbing array of possible side effects. Did you know, for instance, that benzoyl peroxide is widely believed to be a tumor promoter? It’s toxic when inhaled, but even applying it to the skin can cause eye irritation, skin irritation and respiratory system issues. Some studies have even shown that benzoyl peroxide causes DNA damage in humans and other mammals.
2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate / Sodum Laureth Sulfate
Often listed as SLS and SLES respectively, these sulfates are found in 9 out of 10 products that foam. Disturbingly, this includes car washes and heavy-duty products like engine degreasers. A laundry list of possible side effects is associated with them, including skin irritation, diarrhea, depression, eye damage and even death.
3. Urea and DMDM Hydantoin
Because these ingredients act as preservatives, they’re found in countless skincare products. They release formaldehyde — the same chemical that’s used to preserve bodies. Formaldehyde has been shown to cause many unfortunate side effects, including chronic fatigue, chest pains, allergies, joint pain, skin reactions, headaches, ear infections, insomnia, dizziness, depression and cancer.
4. Propylene Glycol and Butylene Glycol
These ingredients are found in many skincare products, including some eczema treatments. They’re both petroleum plastics, and their effects on human health have been closely investigated by the EPA. Among the agency’s findings is the fact that skin contact with these ingredients may be linked to abnormalities in the brain, liver and kidneys. In fact, the EPA recommends that the raw form of these materials be handled using goggles and gloves and suggests burying it to dispose of it.
Unfortunately, these ingredients aren’t often listed on labels. To avoid them, look for products that explicitly state they do not contain them, or stick with natural skin care products. Phthalates have been shown to cause birth defects. They may also decrease sperm count in men, prompt early breast development in girls and boys and cause damage to the liver and kidneys.
6. Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
All three of these ingredients are foam boosters, so they’re most commonly found in face washes and products of that nature. However, they are easily absorbed by the skin and can accumulate in the brain and other organs. Many people develop contact dermatitis after using products containing these ingredients, which are also known eye and skin irritants.
This group includes variations like butyl, ethyl, methyl and propyl. Used as preservatives, parabens have been shown to potentially cause hormonal imbalances in women and sterility in men. They may also trigger early puberty and are sometimes even found in breast cancer tumors.
Like phthalates, dioxin doesn’t often appear on labels. It’s mostly used in antibacterial skincare products and ingredients, including triclosan. Dioxin may cause nervous system disorders, cancer, birth deformities, miscarriages, and it may also reduce immunity in some people.
9. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
This ingredient isn’t problematic in and of itself. However, it produces dioxin as a byproduct, so it can trigger the same side effects as that antibacterial agent. Fortunately, however, PEG is usually listed in ingredient lists, so it’s fairly easy to avoid.
10. Sunscreen Chemicals
Like any health-conscious person, you probably take care to use lotion with sunscreen to avoid the aging and cancer-causing effects of UV rays. However, some sunscreen chemicals cause all kinds of additional problems, so it’s crucial to read ingredient lists carefully. Common culprits include benzphenone, avobenzone, ethoxycinnamate and PABA, which are known to generate harmful free radicals. Free radicals cause significant damage to DNA and may even lead to cancer, so it’s best to steer clear of products containing these ingredients.
Now that you are familiar with the 10 most problematic skincare ingredients, it probably feels like no skincare products are safe.
Whether you need to treat damaged skin or something more basic, the best way to avoid these potentially harmful ingredients is by sticking with natural skin care products. They deliver all of the benefits without exposing you to chemicals that could cause way more harm than good.