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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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