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Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics

Many people are surprised at how many toxic chemicals are found in cosmetics, even those that boast “all-natural” ingredients. Some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer and birth defects. Many women who wear cosmetics use them every day, all day, increasing their risk of serious injury. The chemicals seep into women’s bodies and their breast milk. According to the Environmental Working Group, more than 90 percent of cosmetic ingredients have not been tested for safety by anyone, including the FDA. Here’s a list of common toxic chemicals that are known to cause cancer found in cosmetics:

  • 1,4-dioxane
  • anionic surfactants
  • diazolidinyl urea
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • ethoxylated surfactants
  • formaldehyde
  • nitrosating agents
  • polyethylene glycol compounds
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALES) (when combined with other chemicals)

And here’s a list of toxic chemicals that cause allergies, rashes, skin disorders and other injuries:

  • bronopol
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • benzalkonium chloride
  • butylated hudroxyanisole
  • butylated hydroxytoluene
  • chloromethylisothiazolinone
  • isothiazolinone
  • DEA, MEA, TEA
  • fragrance
  • lanolin (often contains DDT)
  • propylene/Butylene Glycol
  • rancid natural emollients
  • silicon derived emollients

There are alternatives to using toxic cosmetics ingredients. Consider going without makeup every once in awhile to allow your skin to heal. Also, consider looking into cosmetic companies that use non-toxic ingredients. However, it is important to remember that just because they say they are “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean that there are no toxic chemicals in the cosmetics. Read the labels, compare with other brands, and choose the cosmetics that are safest for you.

Also, let your skin tell you if something is toxic. Skin will become red, inflamed and break out with acne or tiny bumps if it is irritated. Avoid using anything that irritates your skin. This goes for everything from eye shadow to nail polish to deodorant.

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