There are some scary studies out there that have linked ingredients in the beauty products we use every day to life-threatening illnesses. Fit&Fab decided to take a closer look at what ingredients to avoid in makeup and beauty products in order to make smarter choices about what we buy.
Parabens: Ethyl, Butyl, Methyl, Propyl
Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in the United States. They extend the shelf life of products and prevent microbial growth. Parabens are also the second most common ingredient in skin care products after water. They may cause skin rashes and other allergic reactions. A 2004 UK study detected traces of five parabens in the breast cancer tumors of 19 out of 20 women studied.
Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea
Both of these chemicals are used as preservatives and release formaldehyde, which can be toxic. They can be found in baby products and other shampoos, fragrances, lotions and moisturizers and makeup.
This ingredient is known to cause allergic reactions, including hives, and is associated with eczema. Look for chemicals labeled PEG and PPG.
Petrolatum, which is made from mineral oil jelly, is used in cosmetics because it is so cheap. It forms an oily layer on the skin that clogs pores and prevents moisture evaporation. Mineral oils may claim to be anti-aging, but they actually worsen the condition of the skin, causing premature aging.
These are labeled as FD&C or D&C followed by a number. Most of these colors are derived from coal tar which has carcinogenic properties.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
This ingredient is used in shampoos to cleanse and foam. It is often derived from petroleum, and causes eye irritation, dry scalp, skin rashes and other allergic reactions. You’ll also find it in “mild” products like baby shampoos.
Now you’re probably asking yourself, how do I know if my products are safe? Our editor Allison is a fan of Good Guide. They have a huge database of products that have been tested by scientists. Simply type in a product name, like Dove soap, and you will find a list of any possibly harmful ingredients.