As adults, we absorb up to 60% of the toxic chemicals we are exposed to. Children are likely to absorb 40-50% more than adults, so children today are at higher risk for developing diseases later in life. What’s even scarier is that 80% of ingredients in our products have never been tested for safety. The troubling truth is that there are chemicals linked to breast cancer, learning disabilities, infertility and other health issues that are allowed in the products we use everyday.
Below we have listed some common toxic ingredients you should avoid. It’s important to be aware of these chemicals so then you can make better choices when shopping. Make sure to always read the labels before purchasing an item as carcinogenic compounds are found in most products nowadays. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: Used typically in acne products, this ingredient produces DNA damage in humans as well as toxic effects through inhalation. It’s known to be a skin, eye and respiratory irritant and ultimately linked to the production of tumors.
- Oxybenzone: This is a sunscreen agent that can be found in chemical sunscreen, makeup with spf, cleanser, fragrance, and baby products. It’s been found to be a hormone and thyroid disruptor and is linked to reproductive problems and cancer.
- Dyes, Colors and Pigments: Synthetic colors from coal tar contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins into the skin causing sensitivity and irritation. Absorption can cause depletion of oxygen and death. Animal studies show almost all are carcinogenic.
- PFA’s and PFC’s (Poly and per-fluoroalkyl substances) are umbrella terms for thousands of hidden chemicals. They can be found in sunscreen, hair products, shaving creams, waterproof mascara and eyeliner. They have been found to be harmful to the immune system and have links to thyroid disease and cancer.
- Toluene: A solvent found in nail polish, hair dye, and nail treatment that has been linked to brain toxicity, birth defects, immune toxicity and respiratory toxicity.
- Parabens (isobutyl, methyl, ethyl, butyl, propyl, isopropyl parabens): These ingredients are used as preservatives that can be found in a vast amount of deodorants, makeup and skin care products. What’s even more worrisome is that they aren’t always labeled or required to be labeled. Paraben ingredients are found to cause hormone disruption and have possible links to breast cancer as well as hormone imbalance in females, sterility in males, as well as early puberty.
- Triclosan: This is a synthetic antimicrobial pesticide found in mouthwash, soap, deodorant, shaving cream, toothpaste, and mascara. It’s been found to be a hormone and thyroid disruptor and is linked to causing inflammation in the gut and cancer.
- TALC: This mineral is found in a variety of makeup products and you'll see it as the first ingredient on labels a lot of the time. It can be contaminated with asbestos, a carcinogen, and have been linked to ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
- Tridosan: This is a synthetic antibacterial ingredient and is registered as a pesticide that posts risks to human health and the environment. It’s classified as a chlorophenol - chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans.
- Formaldehyde: This is a preservative and can be found in keratin smoothing treatments, hair conditioners, eyelash and nail glue and nail polish. You also want to avoid Paraformaldehyde and Methylene glycol because they are types of formaldehydes. Stay clear of Quaternium 15 as well because it releases formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, development toxicity, and cancer.
- Aluminum: This ingredient is commonly found in antiperspirant deodorants and is added because it works to block your sweat ducts and keep you from sweating. This will lead to build up in your body and won’t allow your body to properly detox. It’s a good idea to switch to an all natural deodorant when you're ready. Making the switch is a process, but we find that once you get through the first few weeks, it’s smooth sailing. Aim make the switch as soon as possible though because aluminum is believed to be a possible link to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
- DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (Triethanolamine): This foam booster is another skin and eye irritant that also causes dermatitis. It’s easily absorbed through the skin and accumulates in the body’s organs, mainly the brain.
- Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol: Petroleum plastics, EPA considers PG so toxic it requires gloves, clothing, goggles and disposal by burying. EPA warns against skin contact to prevent brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Commonly used in car washes, garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and 90% of personal care products that foam. Eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, skin irritation and death can all be tied to this harmful ingredient.
- Dioxin: Often found in antibacterial ingredients like triclosan, emulsifiers, PEGs and ethoxylated cleansers like Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Dioxin is proven to cause cancer, reduced immunity, nervous system disorders, miscarriages and birth deformity.
- PEG (Polyethylene Glycol): Made by ethoxylating Propylene Glycol. Dangerous levels of dioxin have been found as a by-product of the ethoxylation process. Unfortunately PEGs are in almost everything including personal care, baby care and sunscreens.
- Sunscreen: Avobenzone, benzphenone, ethoxycinnamate and PABA are commonly known ingredients that are known free radical generators and are believed to to damage DNA and potentially lead to different cancers.
- DMDM Hydantoin & Urea (Imidazolidinyll): These are two preservatives that release formaldehyde which may cause joint pain, cancer, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and insomnia.
- Phthalates: These are found in many products, but unfortunately usually not listed on labels. Health effects include damage to liver/kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in young girls as well as young boys.
Chances are, the products you’re currently using probably contain one or more of the above ingredients. Our goal is to help inform you of the possible dangers of these ingredients and to empower you to make better choices when you shop. If you are ready to give the products in your routines a makeover, please know the collections on our site will only contain safe and clean products that will never have you compromise quality for health.
Wellaine was founded on the belief that striving for perfection isn’t attainable and will be more harmful than beneficial, especially regarding our health. Give yourself grace and understand that obsessing over ingredients will do you no good. Our advice is to do the best you can and support others. Download the app ‘Think Dirty’ to see how safe your products are!
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