Cosmetics & Skin Care Products... Are They Killing You?

The cosmetics and skin care products you use every day may be undoing all the health gains you think you're making from healthy eating and regular exercise. Scientific studies have identified a range of toxins that are commonly included ... even when there are safe alternatives.

Which, for instance, would you prefer going into your pores on a daily basis - a carcinogen (that means cancer-causing) or a 100% natural compound? The answer may seem obvious. but how long is it since you examined the ingredients listed on the labels of the cosmetics or other skin care products you use? Do you know what those ingredients are? Or what they do?

The scary thing is that many of the big-selling anti aging and beauty skin care products and cosmetics contain ingredients that can harm your skin and your long term health. Many known carcinogens are used by the cosmetic industry simply because they are cheap.

Skin care product reviews and wholesale or discount cosmetic studies in both the anti aging and beauty industries show that common harmful ingredients include synthetic chemicals that have been identified as harmful to our health. They include:

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - Despite being frequently described as being "derived from coconut" these chamicals are toxic. They are commonly used in shampoos, toothpaste, bubble baths, foaming facial and body cleansers. They can cause severe skin irritation, and are easily absorbed into the body, building up in the heart, brain, lungs and liver, leading to potential long term health problems. ALS and SLS may also cause cataracts, and prevent eyes from developing properly in young children.

Propylene Glycol - Often found in beauty creams, cosmetics and cleansers, Propylene Glycol can cause contact dermatitis and skin rashes. It has been shown to damage the kidneys and liver.

Aluminum is a common ingredient in anti-perspirants. Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease.

Paraben Preservatives - widely used to prolong shelf life in cosmetics, deodorants, skin care and baby products. Recent scientific studies in the UK found a strong link between the use of parabens and the increasing rate of breast cancer in women. Researchers found a high concentration of parabens in 90% of breast tumors tested. They are also known to be highly toxic, and have caused rashes and allergic reactions.

DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine) and TEA (Triethanolamine) - These three are harsh solvents and detergents used in cosmetics and face and body creams as an emolient. Long term use of DEA-based products such as Cocamide DEA have been linked to an increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancer. They can also cause allergic reactions.

Isopropyl Alcohol - Alcohol is used as a solvent in many skin care products. It strips the skin of its natural acid mantle, promoting the growth of bacteria, moulds and viruses. It may also cause premature ageing of skin and skin irritation.

Talc - Scientific studies have shown that routine application of talcum powder to the genital area is linked with a three-to-four-fold increase in the development of ovarian cancer. Talc is a soft mineral used in talcum powders and cosmetic powders. Inhaling cosmetic powders containing talc may also be harmful to long term health.

Mineral Oil - Mineral oil is one of the main ingredients of many face and body creams and cosmetics. It is derived from petroleum (crude oil). In fact, baby oil is 100% mineral oil! It coats the skin like a plastic film, clogging pores and stopping the skin from eliminating toxins, which can lead to acne and other skin disorders. Other petroleum-based ingredients include paraffin wax, paraffin oil and petrolatum.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) - PEG is another chemical that interferes with the skin's natural moisture balance. Used as a thickener in skin care products and cosmetics, it speeds ageing and leaves the skin vulnerable to bacteria.

You Can Avoid Toxins in Your Cosmetics & Skin Care Products...

The first step is simply becoming aware of the dangers lurking in cosmetics and skin care products. In fact, go to your supplies right now and carefully examine the labels of your cosmetics and skin care products. Learn to recognize which ingredients are harmful. Web sites such as those run by the Environmental Working Group list potentially harmful ingredients - many more than just those mentioned here.

One thing to be alert to is the misleading use of words such as 'natural' and 'organic' on the labels. Many products contain at least one or two natural or organic ingredients which are often highlighted. But read on, and you may find that they also contain harmful synthetic chemicals as well.

Your local consumer organization may provide lists of safe and unsafe cosmetics and skin care products, and they are always a good place to start. If they don't give you a lead to safe local brands, whenever possible, choose products with 100% natural ingredients such as herbs and essential oils. Your skin - and your health - will benefit for years!