Your skin care lotion is killing you! Did you know that most personal care products from skin care to shampoo and even sun screen contain many cancer-causing, toxic chemicals? They may seem innocent as they moisturize and soften your skin but they are killers! Everything you put on your skin, hair and nails is absorbed into your body. If you skin care contains these chemicals, it is killing you softly. These chemicals are disturbing your hormones, causing you to gain weight and, ultimately, causing cancer.
In the U.S., manufacturers are allowed to use virtually any chemical they want in their skin care and other personal care products. Often, their products are called ‘natural’ but still contain toxic chemicals. Their goal is to generate sales, not to protect your health. As a result, the chemicals they choose may be expedient for them but detrimental to your health and life. So, how can you protect yourself? Ultimately, your health is your responsibility. Rather than trust a product manufacturer, do your own research to make sure that your skin care products are truly safe.
Top 10 Toxic Chemicals in Personal and Skin Care Products
This list will help you identify some of the toxic chemicals in the skin care products you use everyday. Start here. Then, we will review some safe, natural alternatives that you can use.
The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database is an extremely valuable resource for identifying harmful chemicals in skin care products. I also recommend that you enter the products you currently use into their search engine to investigate their potential toxicity. If you find that your current products contain toxic chemicals, then it is time to switch to non-toxic alternatives. When you find new products, enter them into the database search as well to investigate them before making the purchase.
It is amazing how prevalent these toxic chemicals are in the U.S. Many countries have banned the use of a lot of them. Here is a list of ten of the most common, disease-causing, toxic chemicals to avoid.
Aluminum and Aluminum Powder
What: Aluminum is used as an antiperspirant. Aluminum is also used as an adjuvant (a chemical helper) in vaccines. Aluminum Powder is a metallic substance composed of finely ground particles of aluminum; used as a colorant.
Where: It is found in antiperspirants and many cosmetics. It is also a common ingredient in many vaccines.(3)
Toxicity: Aluminum is a neurotoxin. Long term exposure is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, a world-leading immunogeneticist, has extensively studied the effects of the flu vaccine on neurological health. The results of his research indicate that an individual has a 10-time greater chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease after receiving five flu shots in the course of their life compared to individuals who have had zero to one shot in their lifetime.(4)
What: BHA is a preservative added to foods, cosmetics, skin care, personal care products and pharmaceuticals. It is used to preserve fats and keep them from turning rancid.
Where: BHA is commonly used in many foods and personal care products sold in the U.S. It is found in butter, meats, cereals, chewing gum, baked goods, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes, and beer. It is also found in animal feed, food packaging, cosmetics, rubber products, and petroleum products, and diaper creams.
Toxicity: The National Toxicology Program classifies butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen (causes cancer).” It can cause skin depigmentation. In animal studies, BHA produces liver damage and causes stomach cancers such as papillomas and carcinomas and interferes with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels.
Formaldehyde releasers – Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15
What: Cosmetics preservatives that slowly form formaldehyde to kill bacteria growing in products.
Where: Formaldehyde releasers are widely used in US cosmetics and skin care products. Also, formaldehyde is often injected into children in many vaccines.(3)
Toxicity: Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen. The preservatives and the formaldehyde they generate can trigger allergic skin reactions. Formaldehyde is a neurotoxin and causes asthma.
What: Fluoride is a chemical used to prevent tooth decay. However, it has been found that countries who use fluoride do not have less tooth decay compared to those who do not use fluoride.(5)
Where: It is found in most all commercial toothpastes. Most municipalities in the U.S. also add it to the water supply. Fluoride is also common in rat poison. The Nazis used to put it in the prisoners’ water because it’s known to placate people and make them easier to control.(6)
Toxicity: Fluoride is an endocrine (hormone) disruptor and can affect many things in the body, including the bones, the brain, the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, and even blood sugar levels. It causes cancer and nerve damage as well.
What: It may help sell products from skin care and face cream to laundry detergent, but do you know what’s in it? Federal law doesn’t require companies to list on product labels any of the chemicals in their fragrance mixture.
Where: Fragrances are in everything from shampoo and deodorant to lotion.
Toxicity: Fragrances can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world. Buy fragrance free wherever possible.
What: Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching chemical used in many whitening creams and dark mark fade treatments. It reduces the production of melanin in your skin. It is used for fading hyperpigmentation,acne marks, sun spots, melasma, and other skin discoloration issues.
Where: It is in skin lightener creams, acne treatments, some skin care moisturizers and some sunscreens.
Toxicity: It can cause a skin disease called ochronosis, with blue-black lesions that in the worst cases become permanent black caviar-size bumps. In animal studies, hydroquinone has caused tumor development.
Methylisothiazolinone (MI), methylchloroisothiazolinone and benzisothiazolinone
What: Preservative chemicals, deterrent to bacteria and other harmful pathogens. Considered a ‘safe’ alternative to toxic parabens.
Where: Used in many personal care products such as facial and skin care creams, shampoos and moisturizing soaps.
Toxicity: MI is among the most common skin irritants and causes contact allergies, as well as, eczema. It may also be a neurotoxin and has been linked to brain cell damage and nerve damage.
Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl- parabens)
What: Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives. They are used to stop the growth of bacteria, fungus and other microbes.
Where: Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in skin care cosmetics and personal care products.
Toxicity: According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutylparabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders and may cause cancer.
What: Phthalates are a class of chemicals used to help lotions penetrate skin.
Where: They are found in skin care cosmetics, personal care products, cleaning products, detergents and air fresheners. Manufacturers aren’t required to list phthalates on the label, but any item listed as “fragrance” is often a chemical mixture that can contain phthalates.
Toxicity: A growing number of studies indicate that phthalates damage the male reproductive system. Their effects in animal studies are well recognized and include lower testosterone levels, decreased sperm counts and lower sperm quality. Exposure to phthalates during development can also cause malformations of the male reproductive tract and testicular cancer.
Triclosan and Triclocarban
What: Antimicrobial pesticides.
Where: They are used in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban)
Toxicity: Triclosan disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones. American Medical Association and the American Academy of Microbiology say that soap and water serves just as well to prevent spread of infections and reduce bacteria on the skin. Overuse may promote the development of bacterial resistance.
What Should You Do?
Chances are that you have been using a lot of skin care products with these cancer causing, toxic chemicals in them. You are likely encountering many other sources of toxicity in your daily life as well, which only worsens your situation. These toxins interfere with your hormone production and cause weight loss resistance and diabetes, as well as, cancer. So, what do you do?
First, you need to understand what it takes to rid your body of these toxic chemicals. This is necessary in order to avoid disease, prevent cancer and experience radiant health. Start by reading this article on the top 10 toxins. Then start implementing the detoxification strategies discussed in 14 Healthy Tips to Detoxify.
Second, begin finding safe, natural alternatives to these toxic products. There are several do-it-yourself options that you can make at home. There are also many safe, non-toxic products that you can purchase at local health stores or online.
Top Do-It-Yourself Natural Skin Care Solutions
Fluoride-free DIY Toothpaste(6)
Mix equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda. Coconut oil has many amazing benefits. It is an antiviral and antifungal which will kill bacteria, viruses and fungus on contact. It can prevent and even reverse some tooth decay. Baking soda is a mild abrasive and gentle cleanser. It is also alkaline and helps to neutralize acidity in your mouth that causes tooth decay. You can also use spearmint or peppermint essential oils for flavor. Stevia or Xylitol can be added for sweetness.
Toxin-free DIY Deodorants
Here are several ideas for non-toxic deodorants.(7) By mixing cornstarch and baking soda with a few drops of essential oil, an effective and natural dry deodorant can be created. A wet deodorant can be created by mixing witch hazel and glycerin combined with essential oil of choice. Blending pure essential oils with a base oil such as olive oil or jojoba oil or blending a few drops of essential oil to use directly on the skin can make a delightfully scented, natural deodorant.
Skin and Hair Moisturizer
Among the many uses for coconut oil is its use as a skin and hair moisturizer. It is a common ingredient in many natural, commercially available lines of personal care products. However, it can be used alone to moisturize and heal damaged skin and hair.
Natural Homemade Shampoo Recipe
This is a great recipe from Wellness Mama.
1/4 cup coconut milk (this is my favorite that is organic and BPA free) but any will work (UPDATE: a couple of readers mentioned that the canned stuff did not work well for them, but that homemade coconut milk worked great… Depending on your hair type, homemade may be better for you)
1/3 cup Liquid Castille Soap (like Dr. Bronners)
1/2 of a teaspoon (or several capsules) of Vitamin E oil (completely optional)
20 drops of Essential Oils of choice (I’ve used peppermint, lavender, rosemary and orange or combinations of those)
For dry hair: add 1/2 tsp olive or almond oil (optional)
How to Make Natural Shampoo:
Combine all ingredients in an old shampoo bottle or jar of some kind (pump soap dispensers and even foaming dispensers work well for this. If you use a foaming dispenser, add 1/4 cup of distilled water)
Shake well to mix.
Keep in shower for up to a month.
Shake before each use.
Use about a teaspoon every time you shampoo.
If you use a foaming dispenser, it also makes a great shaving cream- just dilute with 1/4 cup distilled water!
Non-Toxic Commercial Skin Care Products
If you’re not the DIY type, that’s okay. There are many commercially available skin care and personal care products that are non-toxic. You can search the Skin Deep database for many non-toxic products. Here are some suggestions for you:
Xlear Spry Fluoride Free Peppermint toothpaste. They also make one that is strawberry banana flavor (also fluoride-free) for kids. Another one we use is Thieves Dentarome Ultra Toothpaste With Xylitol by Young Living.
Body Creams and Lotions
Your best bet is to use coconut oil alone, however, there are some products available that are okay but may have some potential toxicity concerns.
100% Pure Organic Moisturizing Body Lotion, Virgin Coconut is a product that is mostly non-toxic.
Many Alba Botanica products are okay such as their Hawaiian Oil Free Moisturizer, however, some others do contain toxic ingredients. Be sure to check them in the Skin Deep database before purchasing.
Ecco Bella also makes some products that are okay and some that contain toxic ingredients. So, check individual products. This one is safe: Ecco Bella Botanicals Night Rebuilder.
Hugo Naturals Volumizing Shampoo is a safe line of shampoos. They have several varieties available.
Ark Naturals Neem Protect Shampoo is another safe product.
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap. This comes in several varieties and has several uses as well.
Garden of Eve- Body Wash Gel – Shower Gel- TRIO is another safe body wash product.
It is important to remember that your body needs unprotected sun exposure in order to produce vitamin D. So be sure to allow some time in the sunshine with no sun screen. For prolonged periods, here are some safe sun screens to use.
I hope that you can see that – not only are there many dangerous toxins in your skin care and personal care products – but that there are many safe, non-toxic alternatives as well. These alternatives are a must for anyone seeking to live a non-toxic, healthy, wellness lifestyle that is free of disease and full of radiant health!
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References for this Article:
(1) Environmental Working Group http://www.ewg.org/
(2) EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
(3) Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary. Excipients Included in U.S. Vaccines, by Vaccine. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf
(4) Flu vaccines are highly ineffective and toxic http://www.naturalnews.com/037323_flu_vaccines_junk_science_toxicity.html
(5) 10 FACTS ABOUT FLUORIDE – FluorideAlert.org http://www.fluoridealert.org/articles/fluoride-facts/