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The Dirty Dozen for Your Skin

by Marianela Pereyra | 1 year ago

Let’s think for a sec. How many products do you think you put on your skin every day?

Five? Six?

But wait — did you count your shaving cream? Then there’s your shampoo, conditioner, special lotion for your face, special lotion for your body, about 10 makeup products, hairspray …

If you really want to alarm yourself, take a moment and go through your bathroom vanity to count them all. I’ll wait.

Got your number? Well, in this case, a high score is not good news for you or your skin.

Our skin is our body’s largest organ, yet it probably gets more toxic chemicals thrown at it in a day than any other organ. Not only that, but it’s just sitting there on the outside of our bodies with no protection of its own — no digestion to break things down, no filtering process to keep toxins at bay. This means that any products you put on your skin … go right into your bloodstream.

I promise this isn’t a doomsday report — you do have options. This exposé doesn’t mean you should abandon all beauty aspirations and go bare-faced and frizzy-haired every day. Trust me — as someone who’s worked her entire career in television … this simply isn’t an option for most of us. I know women tend to be the ones using the most products, but fellas I’m talking to you too! What you put on your skin matters just as much.

To avoid the toxicity, all you’ve got to do is be on the lookout for specific ingredients to avoid in beauty and personal care products. Don’t worry, I’ve done the homework for ya.

Below are the top 12 especially toxic ingredients to watch out for. These are the worst of the worst. That’s why smart beauty experts call them the Dirty Dozen.

Most of these are so complicated they honestly sound made-up. These words are great for scrabble, not so much for your skin. Let’s take a closer look at each of them so you can see just how damaging these dozen truly are.

The Dirty Dozen

  1. Parabens: The most widely used toxic chemical in cosmetics, parabens are used as preservatives. They’re known for disrupting hormone function.
  2. Phthalates: Used to soften plastics, phthalates are often found in nail polishes and hair sprays and are also endocrine (hormone) disrupters.
  3. Sodium Laurel Sulfate: Common in shampoos, this ingredient can cause skin irritations. It’s also found in herbicides and pesticides.
  4. Propylene Glycol: This substance absorbs excess water, so it’s useful in many cosmetic products to dry the skin, but several studies have shown that it may harm the kidneys and liver.
  5. DEA: This compound helps make cosmetic products sudsy or creamy, but it can be an irritant to the skin and eyes. It may even contribute to liver cancers and problems with your thyroid.
  6. Diazolidinyl Urea: This ingredient slowly releases tiny amounts of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, and it’s found in numerous cosmetics.
  7. Butyl Acetate: This is straight-up a toxic chemical that’s often found in nail polishes and perfumes. It has a fruity odor, but it’s also flammable and highly dangerous to your respiratory system as well.
  8. Butylated Hydroxytoluene: This is an ingredient used as a preservative in moisturizers and lipsticks. It has been linked to assorted cancers in several studies.
  9. Ethyl acetate: Like butyl acetate, ethyl acetate is found in nail polishes and nail polish removers. It’s flammable and has been linked to several health issues, including liver cancer.
  10. Toluene: Oh this? It’s found naturally in crude oil as well as lacquers and glues. At home, you’ll find it in your nail polish and nail polish remover.
  11. Triethanolamine: This compound is often found in gel-based products, and it contains nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.
  12. Petrolatum: This is an ingredient that’s used as a moisture barrier, so you’ll often find it in lip sticks, lip balms, and moisturizers. It’s a known carcinogen.

And lastly, the clandestine “fragrance”.  Unlike the others on this list, fragrance is not just one thing. It’s a catch-all for any other bad ingredients that are included in your products. If you see “fragrance” on a list of ingredients, stay away.

Remember: If you’ve been worried about toxic chemicals in your food, kudos to you — that’s smart eating. But don’t forget about your personal care products too. These are often just as harmful as pesticide-ridden foods. Fortunately, you can often find comparable (or even better) products out there that won’t harm you and don’t cost more. Here are three of my favorites:

  • Good Medicine Beauty Lab

This company is run by five women from the Southwest U.S., and they make excellent non-toxic, animal-friendly beauty products — everything from shampoos and perfumes for women to beard wax and body creams for men.

  • Hush and Dotti

This company makes excellent vegan makeup and other beauty products. All of their items are cruelty-free, organic, and vegan-friendly.

  • Herbivore Botanicals

This husband and wife super team deliver safe, non-toxic, highly effective skin products; with an emphasis on organic, high quality, and food-grade ingredients.

So look out for the “Dirty Dozen” when you shop for beauty products, and choose what’s right for your skin.

I definitely believe in the saying, “You are what you eat,” but … “You are what you slather on as well.” We should all be paying just as much attention to what we put on our bodies – as we do to what we put in our bodies.

Do you have any toxic-free personal care products that are your go-to for healthy beauty? I’m always looking for new gems, so please feel free to mention them in the comments below!