Recommended Ingredients to try and avoid to make bathtime worry free
For more information, check out the Skin Deep Website and SafeCosmetics.org
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If you find these in a shampoo's listing of ingredients as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), you should know that these harsh chemical surfactants are simply foaming agents to give shampoos that thick "luxurious" foam in order to create the illusion that you're getting hair cleaner, when you're really not. SLS's are also a penetration enhancer and known skin irritant.
Look for farm grown ingredients such as gylcerine and glucosides that come naturally from corn and sugar, usually found on the label as decyl glucodisde, lauryl glocoside or coco-glucoside. These organic ingredients won't give you that abundant lather you may be accustomed to with chemicals, but try the natural shampoo for a few weeks and your hair will become healthier, shinier, silkier and softer.
Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl) (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabens)
Used to inhibit microbial growth and to extend the shelf life of products, these ingredients have caused allergic reactions and skin rashes, and in one laboratory study, parabens were found in breast tumors. This controversial study has fueled the belief that parabens in cosmetics migrated into the breast tissue and contributed to the development of tumors. The cosmetic industry holds steady that parabens are safe for general population use, but because its hormone mimicking properties have proven enough of a "what if", wary consumers are opting now for paraben-free products and cosmetics. And no wonder: parabens penetrate the skin and appear in the blood.
Phthalates (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalates) (pronounced THA-lates)
These ingredients are additives widely used in plastics and other materials, primarily to improve flexibility; in cosmetics they are used to bind fragrance to the product. It is, however, thought by environmentalists that adverse health effects of phthalates include: early puberty in girls, premature delivery, impaired sperm quality and sperm damage in men, genital defects and reduced testosterone production in boys, genital defects and testicular cancer. (Source: www.environmentcalifornia.org) Read this article from a leading hospital, Beauty Chemicals Tied to Early Puberty. http://www.insidecosmeceuticals.com/articles/2010/04/beauty-chemicals-tied-to-early-puberty.aspx
1.4 Dioxane (www.cookiemag.com/brain/kidhealth/2009/06/toxic-baby-products)
This by-product of a chemical-processing technique called ethoxylation, in which cosmetic ingredients are processed with ethylene oxide, is a possible carcinogen. 1,4-Dioxane is primarily used in solvent applications for manufacturing; furthermore, it is also found in fumigants and automotive coolant. It may contaminate cosmetics as well as personal care products such as deodorants, shampoos, toothpastes and mouthwashes. 1,4-dioxane is a known eye and respiratory tract irritant. It is suspected of causing damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys. Dioxane is classified by the IARC as a Group 2B carcinogen: possibly carcinogenic to humans due to the fact that it is a known carcinogen in animals.
Stay away from this carcinogenic impurity released by a number of cosmetic preservatives, including diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15. According to reviews by the industry-funded Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel, these cosmetic ingredients can release formaldehyde at levels as high as one-tenth that of the original ingredient. The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) has classified formaldehyde as "carcinogenic to humans", and the U.S. National Toxicology Program has classified it as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen", based on emerging evidence in humans and robust evidence in animals.
Propylene Glycol (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propylene_glycol)
This synthetic petrochemical mix used as humectants has been known to cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema. When you see PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol) on labels, be careful because these are related synthetics.
Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA) (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diethanolamine)
Often used in cosmetics as emulsifiers or foaming agents, these ingredients can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are "amines" (ammonia compounds) and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. They become toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.
Petrolatum, Mineral Oil
Also known as petroleum jelly, this mineral oil derivative is used for its emollient properties in cosmetics. It has no nutrient value for the skin and can interfere with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dryness and chapping. It often creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.
Used to make cosmetics "pretty," synthetic colors, along with synthetic hair dyes, should be avoided at all costs. These seductive, unnecessary ingredients will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6.
Synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 different ingredients, and there is no way to know exactly what the chemicals are, since the label will simply read "fragrance". Some serious problems caused by these chemicals include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyper pigmentation, and skin irritation.