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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 December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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