Harmful Beauty Ingredients

We spend small fortunes on health and beauty care products – on average using at least 10 varieties every day. But did you know that the products you use to cleanse, soften and hydrate may contain harmful additives that cause long term damage to vital organs and your immune system?

Read about (and avoid!) ingredients listed below...learn why beauty and health is not merely skin deep.

Anti-bacterial’s: Used too frequently, anti-bacterial ingredients can counteract resistance from disease-causing germs like e. coli and Salmonella.

Coal Tar: Often found in toothpaste, dandruff shampoos and anti-itch creams, coal tar is a carcinogen and leads to various types of cancers.

Diethanolamine (DEA): Drains the body of choline, a mineral vital to fetal brain development.

Formaldehyde: This toxic additive has extremely dangerous health effects including weakened immune-system, decreased respiratory function and cancer. Formeldehyde is hidden in the following labels: diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea and quaternium compounds. Surprisingly, formaldehyde can still be found in hair-dyes, baby cleansing products, lash adhesive and other personal care items.

Synthetic Fragrances: If you see the ingredient fragrance, steer clear. Typically added to mask phthalates, fragrances may cause reproductive difficulties and obesity. Enjoy fragrant products? Look for products containing pure essential oils. We recommend: Hawaiian Skin soothing all-over body lotion and aloe & shea cleansing wash.

Lead and Mercury: Trace amounts of lead will make its way into your system whether you like it or not. You can, however, do your part to minimize the levels that make it into your bloodstream by reading the ingredients of your daily care products carefully. Lead exposure is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and infants, stunting development. Mercury is often used as a preservative – it also damages your brain function. Labeled as thimerosol, this can still be found in some mascaras.

Nanoparticles: Small nanoparticles (which research finds may damage brain cells) is common in many sunscreens. Look for products that provide particles larger than 100 nanometers (the larger the particle, the more difficulty it will have reaching your blood stream).

Parabens: This is one of the most commonly used preservatives because it increases shelf life a great deal – this is why parabens are still found in millions of health and beauty products. Studies have shown that parabens decrease sperm count, as well as produce estrogenic activity found in human breast-cancer cell cultures. A controversial subject and one worthy of looking into – or avoiding all together. Look for the prefix: methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl-, isobutyl-.

P-Phenylenediamine: Often found in permanent hair color, this chemical damages the nervous system, as well as causing lung irritation and severe allergic reactions. It’s may be listed as 1,4-Benzenediamine; p-Phenyldiamine and 4-Phenylenediamine.

Be informed when you buy – be well inside and out!

Stefanie Payne

I am a product development lead in NASA's human exploration deep space program at headquarters in Washington, DC. When I am not telling the story of human exploration in space, my focus is on writing about travel on Earth—with articles appearing in The Huffington Post, The Travel Channel, blogs for The National Geographic Society, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessInsider, IBTimes and more. ...(Read More)

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