10 Products To Avoid In Your Hair and Skin Regimen

Transparent chemistry glass tubes filled with substancesThere are several additives, preservatives and otherwise questionable products that are banned from hair and skin products in some countries because they contain chemicals that when tested have proven to be carcinogens, allergens, or just plain bad for humans to apply topically.

What is most surprising about the following products is that they can be added to products that are called ‘natural.’   The consumer has to be astute these days when shopping for hair, makeup and skin products. Here are ten things to watch out for on your hair, skin and makeup labels.

1. Paraben (methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl)

  • Side Effects: linked to breast cancer, allergic reactions, skin rashes.
  • Function In Products:  preservative, germicide.
  • Found In These Products:   conditioners, hair styling gels, nail creams, foundations, concealers, mascara, facial masks, skin creams, and deodorants, sunscreen, hair-dyes.

2. Formaldehyde family

  • Side Effects:  causes allergic reactions, headaches, depression, irritates mucous membranes, eye damage, joint and chest pain, fatigue, dizziness and contact dermatitis.
  • Function In Products:  preservatives, disinfectant, mix easily with water.
  • Found In These Products:  shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, liquid antiseptic hand wash, skin lotions, bubble bath, hair care products, antiperspirants, nail polishes, talc, mascara, mouthwash, make-up remover.

3. Lauryl sulfate (SLS), Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), often disguised as “comes from coconut” in ‘natural products’.

  • Side Effects: eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, linked to kidney and liver damage, nervous system disruption, eczema and dermatitis.
  • Function In Products:  foaming agent and emulsifier.
  • Found In These Products:  shampoo, body and shower gels, toothpaste.

4. Propylene / Butylene Glycol (PG)

  • Side Effects:  skin rashes, brain damage, hypoglycemia, dermatitis, weakening of protein and cellular Propylenestructure, central nervous system depression.
  • Function In Products:  humectant (retains moisture)
  • Found In These Products:  body lotions, body washes, hair conditioner, deodorants, hair gel, hand-wipes, and lipsticks.

5. Amine family –Diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), amonoethanolamine (MEA)

  • Side Effects:  allergic reactions, corrosive to eyes, hair and skin dryness, toxic to body if absorbed in the long term.
  • Function In Products:  pH adjuster, emulsifier
  • Found In These Products:  shampoos, soaps, foundations, concealers, eyeliner, face powders, shaving creams, hair dyes, hairsprays, sunscreens.

6. Petrolatum/Mineral Oil/ Petroleum

  • Side Effects: dryness of hair and skin, promotes sun damage to skin,
  • Function In Products:  cheap grease
  • Found In These Products:  hair care products, nail polishes, lip balms, lipsticks, skin lotions, make-up remover.

7. Phthatale family — Dimethyl phthalate (DMP),  di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) and di (2-ehtylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)

  • Side Effects:  endocrine disruption, linked to birth defects, asthma, premature breast developments, lowered sperm counts, damage to reproductive organs, lung, liver and kidney cancer
  • Function In Products:  softens plastic
  • Found In These Products:  perfume, eye shadow, moisturizers, nail polish, liquid soap, hair spray and hair relaxers.

8. Stearalkonium Chloride

  • Side Effects:  allergic reactions, skin and eye irritant
  • Function In Products:  antistatic agent, preservative
  • Found In These Products:   rinses, conditioners, setting lotions and bleaches.

9. FD & C Artificial Colorsfood dyes

  • Side Effects:  depletion of oxygen in the body, skin sensitivity and irritation
  • Function In Products:   synthetic colors made from coal tar
  • Found In These Products:   hair dyes, hair lotions, skin lotions, shampoos, conditioners, lipsticks, foundations, artificially colored hair and skin products.

10. Methylene Chloride-Synthetic Fragrances

  • Side Effects:   Nausea, dizziness, eye and skin irritation, dermatitis, carcinogenic,
  • Function In Products:  synthetic colors made from coal tar
  • Found In These Products:   nail polish, hair conditioner, shampoo, hairspray and cleansing creams.

You can check to see if your hair, make-up and skin care products are safe at EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.



Author: Brenda Barrett

Brenda Barrett is an author and freelance writer. She has written for several websites, including her own- blackhair101 and fiwibooks, on topics ranging from healthy hair care maintenance, human resources, and publishing. She is an avid reader of fictional novels from all genres, a habit that she picked up from she was very young. This love of fiction spilled over into writing and she currently has several novels on the market.

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