Last week we dove into 3 common misconceptions about personal care products. We mentioned briefly that this week we’d be naming the most common chemical offenders to look out for on your personal care labels, and also share some tips on how to easily and effectively reduce your exposure.

So, let’s get to it! These are 7 ingredients you need to hear about!

1. Artificial fragrances

This name may sound pretty, but what the heck does “fragrance”mean?

Aside from the fact that fragrance can even be present in some products marketed as “unscented”, it’s simply a name for a combination of numerous chemicals.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. It can be found in many products such as perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturizers.

2. Parabens

Used in many makeup products, moisturizers, shampoos, body washes, and shampoos,  Parabens are often used as preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products. You can also find them in food and pharmaceutical products.

Although that sounds great, Parabens also possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer, and may also interfere with hormone function. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors.

3. Phthalates

This group of chemicals can be found in hundreds of products, and is used to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics.

They are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

They can be found in deodorants, perfumes/colognes, lotions, nail polish, hair sprays and moisturizers.

4. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

SLES can be found in the majority of personal care and cleaning products (think anything that foams!)

SLS’s are known to be skin, lung, and eye irritants. A major concern about SLS is its potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. These combinations can lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage.

SLS can be found in shampoo, body wash/cleanser, mascara and acne treatment.

5. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRP’s) preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth. It is known to cause allergic skin reactions and it may also be harmful to the immune system.

It can be found in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments.

6. Propylene glycol

Commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent, it’s classified as a skin irritant and penetrator.

It has been associated with causing dermatitis as well as hives in humans, and can be found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.

7. Triclosan

A widely used antimicrobial chemical that’s a known endocrine disruptor, especially thyroid and reproductive hormones, and a skin irritant.

Studies raise concerns that triclosan contributes to making bacteria antibiotic-resistant. There also isn’t enough supporting evidence that washing with antibacterial soaps containing triclosan provide any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.

Tricolson can be found in toothpastes, cosmetics, antibacterial soaps, first aid sprays and deodorants. We also find triclosan it items like plastic garbage bags, tupperware, mop heads, clothing, children’s toys, and even computer equipment.

So, what now?

Now we know that there are harmful chemicals behind those strong-scents and frothy bubbles… what can we do? If the prospect of giving up all your favourite personal-care products seems more than a little daunting, here are some easy ways to help eliminate them.

Use less!

Simply cutting back on the amount and frequency of the personal care products you use can have a significant impact on the amount of chemicals you are absorbing into your body.

Eliminate the worst offenders first.

Don’t just read this article and forget it!  Challenge yourself to go and read the labels on your most frequently used items like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, and deodorant. Do you see multiple ingredients listed above on your labels? Focus on eliminating a couple of the worst offenders in your home to give you a great start. To feel really accomplished, if you have kids, start with their bathroom (parenting win + health win!)

Find or make a natural alternative

Whether you’re looking to cut down (or cut out) these ingredients from your family’s personal care routine, there are many options available.

You can find some great natural alternative recipes online ,or you can come visit us in store! Whether you come in, or browse our online website, let us know if you have any questions. All of our floor staff are trained Holistic Nutritionists, and we are happy to help!

Interested in learning more?  

  • Join us for  our “Natural Beauty” workshop on June 26, 2016 at 7pm.
  • Bring in your favourite products for a review / replacement suggestion, test out natural products, and learn more about supporting beauty from the inside out through your diet!
  • Sign up for our weekly newsletter! June is our “Natural Beauty Month”; subscribe to keep up to date on all our helpful hints, sales, and free workshops!
Veronica Qubrossi

Veronica is a Holistic Nutritionist and Managing Director at Healthoholics, where she directs clinic operations, leads educational initiatives including our Holistic Weight Loss program, and manages our marketing efforts.