3 Unsafe Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid

Did you know that some of your favorite personal care products may contain the same ingredient that’s used in aircraft de-icing fluid? Yes, you heard it right - propylene glycol, a common ingredient in toothpaste, deodorant and shaving cream is also used as an ingredient in tobacco and de-icing products (naturallysavvy.com). 

As hard as it is to believe, the beauty products you use every day may incorporate nasty ingredients that are harmful to your health. “When it comes to beauty products, the effects of the ingredients they contain can be more than just skin deep,” says the Breast Cancer Fund, “The cosmetics industry uses thousands of synthetic chemicals in its products, in everything from lipstick and lotion to shampoo and shaving cream."

Did you know that you can absorb up to 60 percent of what you put on your skin (MindBodyGreen)? As your largest organ, your skin has the ability to absorb thousands of hazardous chemical ingredients into your bloodstream.

Here are 3 harmful (yet common) ingredients to avoid to keep your beauty routine as clean and chemical-free as possible:

1) Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
Also referred to as SLS, sodium lauryl sulphate is an additive often used in cosmetic products to produce foaming or bubbling action. It’s a common ingredient in shampoos, shower gels and facial cleansers (David Suzuki Foundation). 

Hard Truth: Sodium lauryl sulfate is also used as an ingredient in factory floor degreasers, household cleaning products and dish detergents.

Potential Health Hazards:

  • Eye and respiratory tract irritation 
  • Skin irritation
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Potential abnormal kidney function 

Source: International Journal of Toxicology

Safe Alternative: There are natural alternative options to SLS. At Eminence Organics, we use cocamidopropyl betaine - a non-irritating cleansing agent which is derived naturally from coconut oil. 

2) Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is a common skin care ingredient that lightens or bleaches dark spots (hyperpigmentation, melasma, age spots, freckles) on the skin (WebMd). 

Hard Truth: Due to negative health effects, hydroquinone has already been banned as a cosmetic ingredient in Japan, the European Union and Australia.

Potential Health Hazards: 

  • Skin reactions 
  • Possible carcinogen or cancer-causing chemical
  • Can cause abnormal function of the adrenal glands 
  • Photosensitivity

Source: Medicine.Net

Safe Alternative: For our Bright Skin products, we use a natural, plant-derived complex made of African potato and tara tree. In addition to being safe for your skin (and health), this natural hydroquinone alternative lightens the look of pigmentation as well as brightens the appearance of skin.  The complex also boosts collagen and infuses the skin with protective antioxidants.

3) Parabens
Parabens are the most widely used preservative in personal care products (Best Health). From makeup to deodorants as well as food and pharmaceutical products, parabens seem to lurk around every corner. But don’t be fooled by its popularity - just because it’s a common ingredient, doesn’t mean it’s safe. 

Hard Truth: Traces of parabens have been detected in human breast cancer tissue. Although research around the paraben-cancer connection is ongoing, it’s still a warning sign that’s hard to ignore (Best Health). 

Potential Health Hazards:

  • Skin irritation
  • May interfere with male reproductive functions
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Immune system dysfunction

Source: David Suzuki Foundation

Safe Alternative:Cosmetics tend to spoil without preservatives, but parabens aren't the only option. Some products use vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate) as preservatives” (WebMD). At Éminence, we use natural ingredients as preservatives, such as lemon and sodium benzoate (a food-grade preservative derived from cranberries). We also use salicylic acid (under 5%) which is derived from willow bark and rosemary, and is used to slow down the oxidization process of our products. 

Click here for more information on our Natural, Organic and Biodynamic® Ingredients.

Are there any other unsafe ingredients that you avoid in your beauty routine? Tell us in the comment section below.