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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 August 12, 2019

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark Chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko Biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and Black Tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    More About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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