Along my way to “greening” up our life I have been learning about some pretty interesting and some scary things. Food was just the beginning of it all. I am now on to the next step…our daily beauty routine.
On a recent trip to a chain super-store a bottle of baby lotion caught my eye. It said “paraben-free”. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “what are these parabens and why is it important to be free of them.” When I looked at the popular bottle of baby lotion that I had originally gone there to buy I noticed there were four different types of parabens in it. Now I was really confused. I decided to wait until I was able to do some research to learn what these parabens were all about.
After a trip to the library to look for a book to help me with both beauty and cleaning products I was confident I found the right book. With the help of the wonderful and full of useful information book, Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to and Earth-Friendly Life by Sophie Uliano, I have been able to easily identify what I should look for in our daily beauty (and cleaning) products.
Here is a little blurb on what Sophie said about parabens.
“Parabens (methyl-, ethyl-, propyl, butyl, isobutyl-) are chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. Estrogenic chemicals mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.”
~ Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to and Earth-Friendly Life by Sophie Uliano
Parabens can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, cleansing gels, personal lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals and toothpaste.
I am finding that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what chemicals I should watch out for in our daily beauty products. I am now very cautious with the products I buy. As a mother I must admit that it was a bit frustrating to learn that the products I’d been using on my daughter were full of these. Even some of the lotions I’ve used on my prego belly to help with stretch marks had some of these chemicals in them. I don’t necessarily buy all organic beauty products, but I do make sure that they are free of harmful chemicals.
I’ve listed below some of the ones that are included in Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to and Earth-Friendly Life by Sophie Uliano.
RED ALERT – (Listed in order of importance)
• FRAGRANCE OR PARFUM (May contain hundreds of chemicals that are neurotoxins).
• PARABENS (Disrupts normal hormone function).
• TRIETHANOLAMINE (Adversely affects the immune system).
• IODOPROPYNYL BUTYLCARBAMATE (Can cause confusion, fatigue, irritability and is toxic to the liver and gastrointestinal tract).
• TRICLOSAN (Probable human carcinogen).
• 1,4-DIOXANE (Known carcinogen).
• FORMALDEHYDE (Long list of adverse health effects).
• P-PHENYLENEDIAMINE Commonly found in hair dyes and is also known as 1,4-Benzenediamine; p-Phenyldiamine and 4-Phenylenediamine
(Damages the nervous system and can cause severe allergies).
• DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA) (Hormone disruptor).
• HYDROQUINONE (Neurotoxin and possible carcinogen).
• NAIL POLISH CHEMICALS TO AVOID ARE: Toluene, DBP and Formaldehyde
Nitrosamines: Cocamide DEH • Lauramide DEA • Cocamide MEA • Triethanolamine (TEA) • Diethanolamine (DEA)
Mineral Oils: Liquid paraffin • Paraffin oil • Paraffin wax • Petrolatum
They coat the skin like plastic so it cannot breath. They can slow down the skin’s natural functions and cell development resulting in premature ageing. Mineral oils can also be contaminated with PAH (Polycyclic, Armatic, Hydrocarbons), which can be carcinogenic.
These were in our ‘worst six” list and for good reason: they are chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. Estrogenic chemicals mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.
These horrid little synthetic chemicals are known to cause a broad range of birth defects and lifelong reproductive impairment in lab animals that are exposed during pregnancy and after birth. They are also hormone- mimicking chemicals, many of which disrupt normal hormone processes, raising concerns about implications for increased breast cancer risk.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES)
This ingredient is typically used to de-grease car engines in the shop! In personal care products, it can damage the immune system. It is particularly dangerous when it is combined with other chemicals, as it can become a nitrosamine, which is a carcinogen. According to the American College of Toxicity. “SLS stays in the body for up to five days. It is easily absorbed through the skin.
This is an abbreviation for POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL, which is a potential carcinogen that is typically used as a grease- dissolving cleaner and a thickener for skin care products. Also look out for PROYLENE GLYCOL, ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL, BUTYLENE GLYCOL.
Formaldehyde Producing Preservatives
Some preservatives can become formaldehyde-donors, in that they release small amounts of formaldehyde into the skin. Many preservatives are cellular toxins. Formaldehyde can cause many health issues including joint discomfort. Examples: DMD, HYDANTOIN, IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, AND PHENOXYETYHANOL.)
Contains a chemical that is similar to asbestos and can increase the risk of a certain ovarian cancers.
These are carcinogenic. The really great news is that with so much media awareness, many of the really cool products will tell you on their labels that they do not contain the following 3 additives so you won’t have to do too much squinting at the small print. Parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Mineral Oil.
Visit Sophie’s website to learn more about how to live an earth-friendly lifestyle.