For most of us, beauty products are an essential part of our daily lives. Whether it’s products from our skincare routine or makeup for a night out, the ingredients section is something we often overlook, or probably don’t understand. So here at Mashion, we decided to investigate the ingredients we put on our skin, whether it’s once in a while or everyday, it’s important to be aware of what toxic chemicals may go unnoticed!
What’s The Problem?
Unfortunately, the cosmetics industry isn’t as seriously monitored as it should be. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), since 2009, 88 different chemicals have been reportedly used by cosmetic manufacturers in over 73000 products. These chemicals have been associated with harmful effects such as cancer, reproductive harm, hormone disruption and skin irritation. Though it is unlikely that these products will put consumers at high risk, it is important to stay vary regardless. Since its inception, the cosmetics industry has grown drastically, but simultaneously it has faced minimal updates in regulation, leaving companies to make final decisions themselves. The last known update by Congress was in 1938, which is shocking because the level of direct skin contact and frequency of use these products have are considerably high.
The probability of risk from these chemicals remains relatively low, though some have been linked to serious health problems. Similar to food chemicals, products we use on our skin also end up entering our bodies. Therefore, taking that extra step for safety can be worthwhile.
What To Look Out For
The above can seem quite scary, but it also doesn’t mean you have to leave behind all your beloved products. Take this as a cautious reminder to know what ingredients to look out for before your next purchase. Below are some ingredients that you should try and avoid:
- Formaldehyde – this ingredient is a known carcinogen and can be found in hair straightening products, nail polish and other such cosmetics.
- Phthalates – this is usually found in fragranced products as well as nail polish. This chemical is considered an endocrine disruptor and so can affect your hormones
- Polyethylene glycol (PEGs) – this is used as a thickening agent and so can be found in cream-based products. It is best to avoid due to its relation to petroleum, possibly causing skin irritation.
- Triclosan – this ingredient is banned in several countries across the globe, usually found in soaps, deodorant, mouthwash and toothpaste. It has links to hormone disruption and thyroid.
- Oxybenzone – most commonly found in sunscreens, this is a well known endocrine disruptor. This could possibly be in lotions, chapsticks and cleansers as well.
- Homosalate – another active ingredient popular in chemical sunscreens and a possible endocrine disruptor.
- Parabens – hormone disruption is a known side effect from parabens, these preservatives are found in many cosmetic products and have been strongly related to breast cancer.
- Toluene – found in nail polish and hair dyes among other products, it is linked to brain toxicity and definitely should be avoided if pregnant.
Besides chemicals, it is also important to watch out for expiration dates which can be found on both, cosmetic and skincare products. The image below shows the little icon you should look for which will tell you how long the product is good to use.