If you’ve ever read behind a bottle of lotion, chances are you’ve noticed a long list of chemicals that you may not be familiar with. And many of these chemicals and synthetic products have harmful effects after years of use. I have never been too concerned with what beauty products I was using until I switched my diet to a plant based one and dedicated my lifestyle to being more GREEN. You may not realize, but what you put on your skin is just about the equivalent of eating it. Skin is the largest organ of the body and absorbs whatever you put onto it; therefore, it is vital to keep the ingredients that we use non-toxic. If you are concerned with what foods you put in your mouth, why not start becoming aware of every ingredient you place on your body?
Even if you are not a vegan, you should at least think about using vegan skin and organic skincare products. Here is why:
1- Parabens can cause cancer. Studies suggest that the same ingredients that are used as preservatives in many cosmetics and personal products have been linked to certain cancers. While the debate goes on about parabens, it would probably be best to buy vegan skin care products or organic skincare products, just to avoid all products with parabens and other harmful chemicals including phthalates (which can lead of various health problems due to its toxicity) and synthetic colors/fragrances (again due to carcinogen links). Parabens are suspected to be endocrine disruptors, and they have been found to mimic estrogen in laboratory experiments. Many people have allergic reactions to these preservatives causing skin rashes and irritation. Needless to say, there is a great ongoing debate as to the safety of products containing parabens. It takes a lot of diligence to become aware of whats in your makeup and beauty products. REading labels more extensively and being aware what hidden ingredients mean. For example “carmine” is a colorant that is literally made from crushed bugs. Lanolin is a common ingredient in cosmetics, and is usually animal-derived.
2- Many “natural” products are not really that natural. If you are buying a lotion, sunscreen, or soap because it says the word natural on the packaging, beware! Read carefully the back of the product and check the ingredient list, it may indeed have a few naturally derived chemicals or essential oils, but it may also have synthetic chemical agents too. If you don’t want to make your own handmade vegan skin care products, check out The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics which lists organic skincare products that are safe.
3- Since most conventional products include preservatives and synthetics that deposit toxins in the bloodstream, it is best to avoid them all together. Over time the accumulation of toxins can overload the body and its systems from years of intake.
While there are a number of chemical concerns, there are three synthetic components in commercial soaps you need to be most concerned with: 1) Triclosan; 2) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS); and 3) Fragrance.
- Has been shown to kill your skin cells
- Dries your skin
- Can aggravate skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis
- Does nothing to prevent most illnesses, since colds, flues and more are typically viral (and antibacterial only kills bacteria, not viruses)
- Dioxin, a highly carcinogenic may be formed during the manufacturing process of triclosan, making it a likely contaminant.
Finally, triclosan has now been found in 3 out of 5 women’s breast milk. It is also one of the most detected compounds in rivers, streams and other bodies of water, often in high concentrations, and is highly toxic to a number of different types of algae. This could have very destructive effects on aquatic ecosystems.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
One of the most dangerous chemicals being added to virtually every personal care product you can imagine, including soap, shampoo, conditioner, and cosmetics, is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).
SLS is an anionic surfactant and the most commonly used chemical in car soaps, garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and personal care products.
SLS has been found to have many side effects:
- Eye, skin and mouth irritations
- Membrane alterations
- May be harmful for the brain, heart, spleen and liver
- Chronic irritant contact dermatitis
- Compromising the overall integrity of your skin barrier, rendering it open to exposure to bacteria
- May actually harm cell function
- Can corrode the hair follicle and cause hair loss
Fragrance95% of the chemicals used in fragrances are petroleum-based synthetic compounds.Most of these chemicals are not tested for safety. Manufacturers are only required to print “fragrance” on the label, nothing more.Additionally, a product labeled “unscented” may contain a masking fragrance. A product must be marked “without perfume” to indicate no fragrance has been added.