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Harmful Ingredients

There are 77 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition
Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchlorois

Both cause cosmetic allergies

Mineral Oil

Petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. Interferes with skin's ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Used in many products (baby oil is 100% mineral oil!) Any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH's (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.

Breast cancer and impurities. EWG's assessment of product ingredient labels and data on cancer-causing chemicals identified three common impurities in personal care products that are linked to mammary tumors in animal studies — ethylene oxide, PAHs, and 1,3-butadiene. Since September 2004 the EU has banned the use of petroleum jelly due to the carcinogenic contamination found in products containing petrolatum. The ingredients for which these impurities are of concern are used in one of every four personal care products on the market.

  • Mineral oil
  • Liquidum paraffinum (also known as posh mineral oil!)
  • Paraffin oil
  • Paraffin wax
  • Petrolatum

Nitrosating Agents

The following chemicals can cause nitrosamine contamination, which have been determined to form cancer in laboratory animals. There are wide and repeated concerns in the USA and Europe about the contamination of cosmetics products with nitrosamines.

  • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol
  • Cocoyl Sarcosine
  • DEA compounds
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrolysed Animal Protein
  • Lauryl Sarcosine
  • MEA compounds
  • Quaternium-7, 15, 31, 60, etc
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate
  • TEA compounds

Paraben preservatives (methyl, propyl, b

Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Widely used. Rumored to be carcinogenic.

From Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):
EMERGENCY OVERVIEW:
WARNING! HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED OR INHALED. CAUSES IRRITATION TO SKIN, EYES AND RESPIRATORY TRACT. MAY CAUSE ALLERGIC SKIN REACTION.

SKIN CONTACT:  MAY CAUSE ALLERGIC SKIN REACTIONS.

EYE CONTACT: CAUSES IRRITATION, REDNESS, AND PAIN.

Paraffin wax/oil

Paraffin Wax is mineral oil wax. See Mineral Oil

Phthalates

Toxic gender bending chemical used as a plasticizer in food wraps and many pliable plastics and containers. Also used in hairsprays and some cosmetics including nail varnishes from where it is readily absorbed into the system. All 289 people in a recent test for body load of chemicals tested positive for phthalates. Phthalates are implicated with low sperm counts and also causing sexual abnormalities and deformities.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) compounds

Potentially carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin's natural moisture factor. This could increase the appearance of aging and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria. Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products. Also used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners.

Potassium Coco Hydrolysed Collagen

Anionic refers to the negative charge these surfactants have. They may be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. Surfactants can pose serious health threats. They are used in car washes, as garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers - and in 90% of personal-care products that foam.

Propylene/Butylene Glycol

Propylene glycol (PG) is a petroleum derivative. It penetrates the skin and can weaken protein and cellular structure. Commonly used to make extracts from herbs. PG is strong enough to remove barnacles from boats! The EPA considers PG so toxic that it requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles and to dispose of any PG solutions by burying them in the ground. Because PG penetrates the skin so quickly, the EPA warns against skin contact to prevent consequences such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. But there isn't even a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than in most industrial applications.

From Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):
Health Hazard Acute And Chronic

INHALATION: May cause respiratory and throat Irritation, central nervous system depression, blood and kidney disorders. May cause Nystagmus, Lymphocytosis.

SKIN: Irritation and dermatitis, absorption.

EYES: Irritation and conjunctivitis.

INGESTION: Pulmonary oedema, brain damage, hypoglycaemia, intravascular hemolysis. Death may occur.

PVP/VA Copolymer

A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, wavesets and other cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since particles may contribute to foreign bodies in the lungs of sensitive persons.

Quaternium-7, 15, 31, 60, etc

Toxic, causes skin rashes and allergic reactions. Formaldehyde releasers. Dr Epstein reports in his book Unreasonable Risk "Substantive evidence of casual relation to leukaemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and other cancers"

This Nitrosating agent can cause nitrosamine contamination, which have been determined to form cancer in laboratory animals. There are wide and repeated concerns in the USA and Europe about the contamination of cosmetics products with nitrosamines.

From Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):
SKIN: PROLONGED OR REPEATED EXPOSURE MAY CAUSE SKIN IRRITATION. MAY CAUSE MORE SEVERE RESPONSE IF SKIN IS DAMP.

MAY BE A WEAK SKIN SENSITIZER IN SUSCEPTIBLE INDIVIDUALS AT GREATER THAN 1% IN AQUEOUS SOLUTION.

Rancid Natural Emollients

Natural oils used in cosmetics should be cold pressed. The refined vegetable oils found on supermarket shelves and many health food stores which lack colour, odour and taste are devoid of nutrients, essential fatty acids, vitamins and unsaponifiables - all valuable skin conditioning agents! They also contain poisonous "trans" fatty acids as a result of the refining process.

Another important factor to consider with creams made from plant oil is the use-by date. The most beneficial plant oils (like rosehip, borage and evening primrose oils) are polyunsaturated, which means they oxidise and go rancid fairly quickly (about 6 months). Most off-the-shelf cosmetics have a shelf life of three years. Rancid oils are harmful, they form free-radicals, which damage and age your skin.

SALICYLIC ACID

Photosensitizer photosensitizer, with potential to increase risk of sunburn and skin cancer by intensifying UV exposures in deep skin layers
Cardiovascular or blood toxicity hazards cardiovascular or blood toxicant Skin or sense organ toxicity hazards skin or sense organ toxicant
Penetration enhancer penetration enhancer: alter(s) skin structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin, increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream

Silicone derived emollients

Silicone emollients are occlusive - that is they coat the skin, trapping anything beneath it, and do not allow the skin to breathe (much like plastic wrap would do.)

Recent studies have indicated that prolonged exposure of the skin to sweat, by occlusion, causes skin irritation. Some synthetic emollients are known tumour promoters and accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. They are also non-biodegradable, causing negative environmental impact.

  • Dimethicone
  • Dimethicone Copolyol
  • Cyclomethicone

Silicone was and still is used as breast implants. Tens of thousands of women with breast implants have complained of debilitating symptoms. Anecdotal evidence indicates silicone to be toxic to the human body. For more detailed information on the dangers of silicone simply key "silicone toxicity" into the Google search engine

Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate

Anionic refers to the negative charge these surfactants have. They may be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. Surfactants can pose serious health threats. They are used in car washes, as garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers - and in 90% of personal-care products that foam.

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