Biohazards in Skin Products

Biohazard Symbol

Here is a list of some common, harmful ingredients that can be found in skin care products.

  1. Phthalates
    (pronounced f-THAL-lates)

    These are added to plastics to make them flexible. They are also used as lubricants in products. They can be found in perfume, hair spray, deodorant, almost anything fragranced, nail polish, insect repellent, carpeting, vinyl flooring, the coating on wires and cables, shower curtains, raincoats, plastic toys, and your car’s steering wheel, dashboard, and gearshift. They are responsible for that “new car” smell.

    Why are they bad?

    Phthalates are known to disrupt hormones, especially in men. They have been linked with many sexual developmental and birth defects.

    Recommendation

    In cosmetics, opt for natural perfumes. Look for products that do not contain synthetic fragrance since most all synthetic fragrance contains phthalates. Instead, try products that are scented with essential oils or are specifically labeled “phthalate-free.”

  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (also called SLS)

    Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant in most products, meaning that it reduces the surface tension between the product and your skin. In many products, it is the foaming agent, which makes it popular for use in toothpaste, shampoos, facial, and body cleansers.

    Why are they bad?

    Although the evidence is controversial, there are many documented links between SLS and cancer.

  3. Parabens

    Parabens are chemical preservatives added to many products to increase shelf life.

    Why are they bad?

    Parabens mimic estrogen in the body, making them endocrine disruptors. While controversy surrounds a 2004 study where parabens were found in breast tumors, many scientists believe that parabens are a known carcinogen, especially when applied directly to the skin. Parabens are easily absorbed and enter our bloodstream intact. This results in a higher probability that they may affect hormonal function.