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20 Toxic Ingredients That Are Commonly Found In Beauty Products

20 Toxic Ingredients That Are Commonly Found In Beauty Products

If you are like me, you may be used to choosing a beauty product based only on how flattering it looks on you. Or maybe picking one based on the one that smells the best – or even because a celebrity endorsed it.

After I came across Gillian Deacon’s book, There’s Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Our Everyday Body Care and How to Avoid Them, I realized that now is the time to be more cautious of the products we bring into our homes. Now, every time I look at my lipstick-stained lips in the mirror, I wonder if I am feeding lead into my body, or if my purple-painted nails will cause me to develop cancer in 20 years. Nobody knows, but still, it is always good to be on the safer side. Doing a few minutes of research before buying, and a spending a few more minutes at the store to check the ingredients of a product may prove worthwhile.

According to Deacon’s book, the 20 toxic ingredients that are commonly found in beauty products are:

1. Coal Tar

Studies have indicated it to be a carcinogen. It is used in dry skin treatments, anti-lice, and anti-dandruff shampoos. Some products list it as a color with a number (i.e. D&C Green No. 6).

2. DEA/TEA/MEA

Another possible carcinogen. It is used as an emulsifier and foaming agents for shampoos, face and body washes, and makeup.

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3. Ethoxylated surfactants and 1,4-dioxane

It is not listed on products because it is created through a combination with ethylene oxide, which is a known to cause breast cancer. 1,4-dioxane can be found in shampoos, hair relaxers, and body soaps and washes. Stay away from products that have ingredients containing the letters “eth,” i.e. polyethelene, cetearete, oleth.

4. Formaldehyde

Another possible carcinogen and skin irritant. It is found in nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, and shampoos.

5. Fragrance/Parfum

It’s better to choose products that are scent-free. Fragrance, if listed on a product, is hiding other potentially harmful chemicals (often used to create that particular smell). Fragrance has been known to cause dizziness, headaches, and allergies.

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    6. Hydroquinone

    It decreases the production of melanin on the skin which can make a person prone to skin cancer and other skin conditions. It is a carcinogen. You can find this ingredient in skin-lightening products.

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    7. Lead

    A carcinogen and a hormone disruptor, it can be found on lipsticks and hair dyes, but it is never listed on products because it is considered to be a contaminant and not an ingredient.

    8. Mercury

    It is an allergen and affects brain development. It is used in mascaras, eyedrops, and some skin medications.

    9. Mineral oil

    It is the main ingredient in baby oil. It creates a plastic-like film on the skin that hinders the skin’s ability to detox.

    10. Oxybenzone

    It is found in most chemical sunscreens. It is a known allergen, and may cause hormone disruption, cellular damage, and low birth weight.

    11. Parabens

    It is found in shampoos, shaving creams, lubricants, and toothpaste. It increases the risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity.

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    12. Paraphenylenediamine (PPD)

    It is found in hair dyes and other hair products. It is toxic to the skin and immune system and may cause allergies and dermatitis.

    13. Phthalates

    This is found hidden in fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, and lotions. Again, it is linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and damage to the liver, kidney, or lung.

    14. Placental extract

    It is used in skin and hair products, and may cause endocrine disruption.

    15. Polyethylene glycol (PEG)

    It is used in cosmetic and beauty products. It may be contaminated with two known carcinogens: 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide.

    16. Silicone-derived emollients

    It is added to hair and skin products and is linked to tumor development and skin irritation.

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    17. Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES)

    It is used in soaps, shampoos, body washes, and toothpaste. It is a known irritant. A former industrial degreaser now very commonly used to create lather. It’s absorbed into the body and can irritate the skin.

    18. Talc

    It is used in baby powder, deodorant, and makeup. It has been known to cause ovarian cancer and respiratory problems.

    19. Toluene

    It is used in nail products and hair dyes. It is known to cause endocrine and immune system problems.

    20. Triclosan

    It is found in antibacterial products and is linked to cancer and endocrine disruption.

    Remember that the more we know, the more we can do to prevent unwittingly harming ourselves. And now that we are aware of what may be hiding in our everyday beauty products, it’s up to us to read the labels and protect ourselves.

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    Sarah Bonander

    Writer, Human Resources Professional

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    Last Updated on January 3, 2020

    The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

    The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

    Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

    The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

    1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

    Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

     I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

    To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

    And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

     2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

    Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

    3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

    Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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    4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

    The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

    5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

    Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

    6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

    Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

    7. Positive people smile a lot!

    When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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    8. People who are positive are great communicators.

    They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

    9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

    One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

    10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

    Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

    How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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    I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

    Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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