- Alcohol: It causes dryness, which can strip your skin of its moisture. Alcohol is used to appeal to our sense of smell; yet synthetic fragrances can often lead to headaches, nausea and allergic reactions. If you suffer from sensitive skin, this ingredient can be your worst nightmare.
- Parabens: Are known to extend the shelf life of products; however they are also known to have hormone-disrupting effects.
- Formaldehyde: This newly popular ingredient, found in beauty products and new hair treatments, is regulated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) as a cancer-causing substance.
- Triclosan: Found in most anti-bacterial items; although it does work to kill bacteria, its formula can be risky to human health, not to mention the environment.
- Phthalates: Known as hormone-disrupting chemicals that threaten reproductive health, they are added to many cosmetics and personal care products including scented creams, shampoo, nail polish, and hair spray.
- Retinyl Palmitate: Like retinol, retinyl palmitate is safe and effective in night creams but during the day, it breaks down in sunlight to form free radicals that can harm cells and possibly lead to cancer. Avoid sunscreens with this ingredient.
- Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles: Studies are beginning to show that people whose sunscreens contain zinc nanoparticles have increased levels of zinc in their blood.
Dr. Jaliman explains that “when sunscreens go on white, it means that they contain micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which is safe. When they come out clear from the tube, the manufacturer has used nanoparticles that are many times smaller. This is one area where big truly is better.” Avobenzone, Benzphenone, Ethoxycinnamate and PABA, found in sunscreens as well, are believed to damage DNA. Choosing the right one is key.
- Dihydroxyacetone: Also known as DHA or glycerone, this is the primary ingredient on self-tanner products. If inhaled or ingested, there could be potential health risks such as DNA damage and cancer. “DHA has been approved for the body, but not for inhaling,” says celebrity makeup artist Kimara Ahnert. “Always opt for a self-tanner that uses an aroma guard. Not only does it prevent the unpleasant self-tanning smell, but it prevents negative effects of DHA.”
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate: This very drying and harsh component is often found in shampoos…and in dishwasher soaps and floor cleaners. It can damage your immune system and cause eye irritation, dry scalp, skin rashes, and even death. My advice? If your shampoo makes lots of foam, run—don’t walk—away from it.
- DEA, MEA & TREA: These are all hormone disruptors and cause adverse skin reactions. It is easily absorbed by our bodies but after long exposure, it increases the risk of liver and kidney cancer. This trio is usually found in soaps and cleansers—anything that foams.
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