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Ingredients to Avoid

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Almost every week, we let you in on some new skin care secrets – what to eat, which vitamins to consume, specific ingredients to put your skin, etc. – but it’s also important to know what products to avoid. While some things are obvious, most people use products they don’t even know are harming them!

Synthetic Fragrances

What are they?

More than 95% of the chemicals used in artificial fragrances are derived from petrochemicals – or chemicals obtained from petroleum and natural gas. Although the International Fragrance Association disclosed the 3,163 ingredients used in fragrance oils, they have yet to release testing data supporting the safety of any of these ingredients. Any given product with “fragrance” on the label could, in theory have any number of the 3,163 ingredients in it. Cutting out products containing synthetic fragrances means cutting your exposure to thousands of potentially harmful chemicals!

Where are they?

In the United States, it is legal to hide hundreds of chemicals in products containing “fragrance” without revealing what those ingredients are because it is referred to as a “trade secret” in the industry. This was created in an era when fragrance companies wanted to protect secret formulas made from flowers and oils. In 2018, it’s just a loophole to get away with putting poisonous ingredients in products!

Why should I avoid them?

More than 75% of products listing “fragrance” as an ingredient contain phthalates. These disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts, and have been linked to neurological disorders, diabetes, and obesity. The undisclosed ingredients also include a slew of toxins that are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders, and allergies. But don’t worry, we don’t need fragrance to have yummy smelling products! Cosmetics made with essential oils smell just as nice, if not better, and won’t be harmful to your body.

Parabens

What are they?

Parabens are chemical compounds used as preservatives in the cosmetic industry.

Where are they?

Parabens are added to deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, makeup, and other cosmetic products to stop the growth of fungus and bacteria. Research has found that around 90% of grocery items also contain measurable amounts of parabens. While every individual product contains safe amounts of parabens, cumulative exposure to these chemicals from a variety of different products could overload our bodies.

Why should I avoid them?

Parabens have been known to disrupt hormone function which is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive issues. They mimic estrogen, which your body perceives as an influx of estrogen beyond the normal level. This can, in some cases, trigger increasing breast cell division and the growth of tumors. Try to keep an eye out for products with natural preservatives instead of harsh chemical ones.

Hydroxy Acids

What are they?

Hydroxy acids are a group of natural and synthetic ingredients which “exfoliate” the outer layers of skin. While this is technically true, what they are actually doing is breaking down the bonds on the skins outer layer and forcing it to reform to be more taught or, as advertised, to make you look younger. In reality, all they do is burn away layers of your skin and leave it dry and damaged. It is, quite literally, an acid!

Where are they?

Hydroxy acids are found in many anti-aging creams and acne treatments.

Why should I avoid them?

The reason is in the name – they are acids that actually burn your skin. Exposure to these ingredients leaves the outer layer of skin weakened and makes it more susceptible to damage from UV rays and other harmful free radicals.

Sulfates

What are they?

Sulfates are cleansing agents that remove dirt and oil, including the skins natural oil, from the body. There are more than 100 different varieties of sulfates, some are derived synthetically from sulfur or petroleum based products and others are obtained from natural sources.

Where are they?

Sulfates are what create the lather in 70% of shampoo, soap, body wash and anything foamy. They are also found in some toothpastes and permanent hair colors.

Why should I avoid them?

Like we always say, it is best to avoid putting anything that foams on the skin. Because sulfates are typically what cause this foam, they are known for completely stripping natural oils from the skin and hair, causing the body to overproduce oil. This leads to clogged pores, “dirty” hair, and oily skin. Sulfates also prematurely strip color from hair, which is just plain annoying! Try to look for “sulfate free” products to avoid the damage they cause.