The Dirty Dozen:
Major Toxic Ingredients to Avoid
In 1938, the regulation of cosmetics
fell into the purview of the Food and Drug Administration. However, for
a variety of reasons, the FDA created a unique regulation scheme for
cosmetics, which essentially meant that cosmetics were largely regulated
by the Cosmetics Industry itself. This includes how products are
created, manufactured, packaged and labeled. It’s not that they’re not
evaluated at all, but they are not evaluated under the same rigorous
standards as the government evaluates our food and our medicines. Also,
as we know from a quick stroll through the supermarket, a lot of what
we’re “permitted” to eat and drink is not necessarily very good for us.
The major turning point for me was when, in my research, I
came to really understand the “role” of our skin. I was always used to
hearing doctors say, “Try this cream or that gel. It’s topical. It’s
not like it’s going to get into your system.”
Not true. Our skin is the body’s largest organ. It’s our
most important immune defense barrier as well as our most efficient
waste elimination mechanism. We absorb into our body what is put on our
skin, simple as that. And if our skin is “coated” with products that
act as plastic barriers, this natural process – absorption/elimination –
cannot function as it needs to.
When I turned my attention to my body’s health, these were the first ingredients I felt most critical to avoid.
1. Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol:
Found in Anti-freeze. Acts as a “surfactant” (wetting agent and
solvent). Penetrates the skin and weakens protein and cellular
structure. Strong enough to remove barnacles from boats, factory workers
are required by the FDA to wear protective clothing when producing
products containing these chemicals and are required to dispose of PG as
toxic waste. Baby wipes, diaper creams, baby lotion, facial cleansing
cloths, facial cleansers, body washes, shampoos, toothpastes, etc.
2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES):
Detergents pose serious health threats. Used in garage floor cleaners
and engine degreasers and in 90% of all personal-care products that
foam. Young eyes may not develop properly if exposed to SLS. SLS may
damage the skin’s immune system. Baby body washes, baby shampoos,
anti-bacterial hand washes, shaving cream, body lotions, shampoos, etc.
3. DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine):
Hormone-disrupting chemicals that can form cancer-causing nitrates. Dr.
Samuel Epstein (Professor of Environmental Health at the University of
Illinois) says that repeated applications of DEA-based detergents result
in major increase in liver and kidney cancer. The FDA’s John Bailey
says “the risk is significantly increased for children.” Body lotions,
body washes, cleansers, shampoos, etc.
4. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): Carcinogenic
petroleum ingredient that reduces the skin’s natural moisture.
Increases the appearance of aging and leaves you vulnerable to bacteria.
Baby wipes, diaper creams, baby lotions, cleansers, body washes,
5. Sodium Hydroxide: This
is a poison (caustic lye) found in drain cleaners. The warning label on
sodium hydroxide products reads “POISON, May be fatal or cause
permanent damage if swallowed. May cause blindness. Avoid contact with
skin, eyes, mouth and clothing.” Toothpastes, baby lotions, hand and body lotion, etc.
Synthetic “antibacterial” with a chemical structure similar to Agent
Orange! The EPA registers Triclosan as a pesticide, giving it high
scores as a risk to human health and the environment. It is in a class
of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. Tufts University,
School of Medicine says Triclosan can force the emergence of “super
bugs” that it cannot kill. Anti-bacterial hand wash, antibacterial toys,
7. DMDM and Urea (Imidazolidnyl): Two
of many preservatives that often release formaldehyde which cause joint
pain, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains,
ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, and loss of sleep. Body
lotions, body washes, anti-bacterial hand washes, cleansers, shampoos,
Studies show that parabens – alkyl hydroxy parabens – alpha hydroxy
benzoate (methyl-, ethyl-, propyl- and butyl-parabens) are weakly
estrogenic. Baby Wipes, baby body washes, anti-bacterial hand washes,
facial wipes, body lotions, shampoos, etc.
9. Alcohol, Isoproplyl, SD-40: Drying,
irritating solvent that strips skin’s moisture and immune barrier,
making you vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Made from the same
petroleum derivative used in shellac and antifreeze as well as personal
care products. Promotes brown spots and premature aging. Lotions,
creams, deodorants, etc.
10. Mineral Oil:
Petroleum by-product that coats the skin similar to plastic wrap,
clogging the pores. Interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins,
promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell
development, resulting in premature aging. Lotions, Creams, etc.
11. FD&C Color Pigments:
Synthetic colors from coal tar that deposit toxins onto the skin,
causing skin irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause
depletion of oxygen in the body and death. Shampoos, toothpastes, body
washes, cleansers, baby products, wipes, hand washes, deodorants,
lotions, creams, etc.
Can contain up to four thousand ingredients (including animal urine),
many toxic or carcinogenic. Causes headaches, dizziness, allergic
reactions, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting, and skin
irritation. Fragrances affect the nervous system, causing depression,
hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope and other behavioral
changes. Shampoos, toothpastes, body washes, cleansers, baby products,
wipes, hand washes, deodorants, lotions , creams, etc.