Your skin is your largest organ, so naturally it is one of the most important. Up to 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into the body - affecting our overall health and well-being.
Since there are almost zero federal regulations of the cosmetics industry in the US, ingredients with proven harmful effects can be found in many traditional skincare products. Scientific studies have linked harmful ingredients in skincare to health issues such as allergies, hormonal disruption, and even cancer.
There are over 1,300 chemicals banned for cosmetics in the EU, as compared to only 11 banned in the US. Scary right? With little regulation of personal care products, it is up to you to choose safer skincare. Below are the 10 common ingredients to avoid when looking for skincare and beauty products.
1. artificial fragrance / parfum
Most skincare and makeup products contain artificial fragrances. Manufacturers are not required to reveal what's in their “fragrance” so it is a term often used for hundreds of chemicals that brand aren’t required to disclose. Fragrance is also found in many other household products such as candles, air fresheners, and more.
Listed as: Parfum, perfume
2 parabens (methyl, butyl, ethyl, propyl)
Parabens are preservatives found in everything such as shampoo, makeup, deodorant, and much more. Parabens are known hormone disruptors that mimic estrogen in the body and has even been linked to breast cancer. A recent study shows 99% of all cancerous breast tumors contained parabens.
Listed as: Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Benzylparaben
Used as an antiperspirant, aluminium is most commonly found in deodorants. Exposure to this toxic metal could elevate your risk of diseases such as alzheimers, breast cancer and other neurological disorders.
Listed as: Aluminum Chloride, Aluminum Chlorohydrate, Aluminum Hydroxybromide
Looking for an aluminium free deodorant that actually works? Try Holly's Keeping it Real All Natural Deodorant.
Chemicals used in everything from plastic to cosmetics (scary), phthalates can be found in many personal care products such as nail polish and hairspray. Like parabens, phosphates are hormone disruptors which can cause reproductive problems and even birth defects.
Listed as: Bensybutyl Phthalate (BzBP), Bi-n-butyl Phthalate or Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) DEP DEHP and fragrance
Nail polish to try: Ella + Mila Nail Polish
Hairspray alternative to try: Qet Organic Natural Sea Salt Spray
5. mineral oil
A by-product from the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline (EW!), this colorless, odorless oil is used to reduce water loss from the skin. Found in lotions, creams and more, mineral oil coats the skin like plastic, clogging your pores. This interferes with the skin's natural ability to eliminate toxins which increases the likelihood of acne and other disorders. Aside from clogging your pores, mineral oil and the petroleum industry have a huge environmental impact. Petroleum is carcinogenic and causes eco-disasters.
Listed as: Liquid Petroleum, Paraffin Oil and White Mineral Oil
Try Lumi Basics Everyday Facial Oil and Lotion Bars
6. PEG (polyethylene glycol)
Many personal care products contain different types of PEGs. Used as emollients, emulsifiers and as vehicles that help penetrate other ingredients deeper into the skin. Polyethylene is a chemical byproduct often contaminated with ethylene oxide (known carcinogen). Ethylene oxide is highly toxic even in small doses, it was used in WW1 nerve gas.
Listed as: ingredients with the prefix word or syllables "PEG" Polyethylene, Polyethylene Glycol, Polysorbate or Polyxyethylene and words with containing "eth" or "oxynol" in them
7. DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine)
These clear, viscous liquids are typically found in products that foam such as facial cleansers and soaps. TEA and MEA are both byproducts of DEA which can be contaminated with chemicals like Nitrosamines. These chemicals are linked to cancer.
Listed as: 2-Aminoethanol, Triethanolamine, Diethanolamine, DEA, TEA, Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA, DEA-Cetyl Phosphate, DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate, Lauramide DEA, Linoleamide MEA, Myristamide DEA, Oleamide DEA, Stearamide MEA, TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
Found in moisturizers to soften and smooth skin. Siloxanes is a suspected endocrine disruptor and reproductive toxicant. They are also known to be harmful to fish and wildlife.
Listed as: ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone
Used in shampoo and personal care products, sulfates make products lather, foam and bubble. Commonly known to cause skin irritations or trigger allergies. Additionally, chemical compounds known as nitrosamines are a by-products of the sulphation process. 90% of nitrosamines are believed to be carcinogenic.
Listed as: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Found in nail polish, deodorants, soap, shampoos, and more. This antibacterial preservative is a known carcinogen and is linked to immune system toxicity and respiratory irritation. Some retailers (such as Wholefoods and Target) are even starting to ban products that contain formaldehyde.
Not typically listed as an ingredient however these Formaldehyde "releasers" are often listed on ingredient labels as: DMDM Hydantoin, Diaxzolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methanamine, Quaternium-15 and Sodium hHydroxymethylglycincate. May also appear as Cormalin, Formicaldehyde, Methanol, Methyl aldehyde
It is YOUR job to take control of what you are putting on your body! The next time you are shopping for skincare, make sure you take the extra steps to read through the ingredient lists. A good rule of thumb is to look out for ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Our promise at lumi basics is to always be transparent about our ingredients. We will always produce the highest quality products and use pure, conflict-free ingredients.