OUT WITH TOXIC CHEMICALS IN COSMETICS
A LOT IS GOING ON IN THE INGREDIENT LIST
When was the last time you thoroughly examined the contents of that cream you bought? If it was recently or if it's your usual practice, that’s great! But we don't always have time for that, and when we do – we often don't understand what all the ingredients are and whether they are harmful. In today's fast-paced way of living, we don't really have time to become pharmacists or chemists to make sure that the cosmetics we buy are safe.
FROM IRRITANTS TO CARCINOGENS
Cosmetic products contain many different chemicals that can be harmful to us and the environment. We will single out some of the most common and ‚what effects they might have. Some of them do not cause direct damage to the body but can cause side effects on sensitive skin. Some are considered harmful, and it is recommended to avoid them. Some are considered carcinogenic – they should have no place in cosmetic products.
In cosmetics, preservatives are used to prevent product spoilage and extend shelf life. Every cosmetic product that contains water will also contain a preservative. Paraben use is allowed in a wide range of products, although they are associated with harmful effects on the hormonal system. Formaldehyde can cause skin reactions and allergies and is considered carcinogenic. Phenoxyethanol (PhE) can also cause side effects on the skin, and there are suggestions it is a carcinogen. In any case, it’s best to avoid preservatives, especially in products for children.
Emulsifiers are used to combine ingredients that cannot otherwise be combined, such as oil and water. This ensures the consistency and stability of the product. While some emulsifiers are considered safe or even nourishing for the skin (e.g., cetyl and stearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate), it’s best to avoid most of them as they can be irritating to the skin, especially sensitive and damaged ones. Among the most common ones that act in this way are PEG-100 stearate, cetearyl alcohol, steareth, and cetyl dimethicone (PEG dimethicone).
The most controversial ingredients are fragrances whose components are often not fully disclosed. In this way, manufacturers "protect" their fragrance formulation. You’ll often find these ingredients listed as fragrance, perfume, or aroma on the label, without a detailed explanation of what exactly those compounds are. They can be numerous and pose danger, especially to pregnant women and infants. It’s recommended to avoid all products where the fragrant compounds are not fully disclosed because these ingredients are associated with carcinogenic effects and disruption of the hormonal system.
LET’S CHOOSE NATURE INSTEAD
The easiest way to avoid a variety of toxic or carcinogenic ingredients and chemicals is to turn to nature and take up a DIY approach. Essential oils mixed into carrier oils can replace almost any skincare product you can find in stores. Properly stored, they will last long enough for you to use every bit of them (and avoid preservatives), and you will not need emulsifiers because these mixtures don’t contain water. Also, essential oils will make sure the fragrant compounds are 100% natural and non-synthetic. We’ve already written about serums for all skin types and given five simple recipes. In the same blog, read more about carrier oils to find the one that works best for you.
Although going DIY to make cosmetics initially requires a bit more effort and time, and a bit of research and trial and error, the long-term benefits are huge. We at KAIAA choose fewer ingredients with many beneficial effects – safe for us, our children, and the environment.