People turn to natural and homemade beauty products for a variety of reasons. Some people want to know exactly what they’re putting into their body via the skin, others use homemade products because of a concern for animals or the environment, and some, quite simply, enjoy creating their own beauty products.
In recent years, however, consumers have become more and more aware of the fact that there could be dangerous ingredients lurking in cosmetics and beauty products.Below are some ingredients found in shop-bought beauty products that it may be better for you to avoid.
Phthalates can be found in personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, hair gels, lotions, deodorants, perfume, aftershave and nail polish – interestingly they’re also found in food packaging, carpets, shower curtains and toys.
Although the FDA in the US reassures that there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that phthalates pose a health risk, studies into phthalates have shown that they could have an effect on the body’s endocrine system.
This is because phthalates mimic certain hormones found within the body. Laboratory tests on animals found that phthalates can cause neurological and reproductive damage.
Phthalates may also cause abnormal development in male fetuses if a woman is exposed to them during her pregnancy.
To identify phthalates in beauty products look out for their chemical names or abbreviations such as plasticizer, butyl ester, di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP) and dimethyl phthalate (DMP).
The unspecified term ‘fragrance’ on a list of ingredients can also indicate that phthalates are included.
Parabens are widely used in moisturizers, hair products and makeup and act as a preservative.
They have been linked to cancer, although it’s important to point out that, as yet, there is no conclusive proof to suggest that parabens in cosmetics are a cause of cancer.
However, as awareness about the dangers of parabens have become apparent, more people are choosing to avoid products that contain them, whilst products that are labeled ‘paraben-free’ are increasing in popularity.
Hydroquinone is used in beauty products that lighten the skin. These are available over the counter at mild strength and sometimes by prescription at a more potent strength.
This chemical is used to treat hyperpigmentation, age spots and melasma – a discoloration of the skin that can be caused during pregnancy or by certain medications, including the contraceptive pill.
Overuse of products containing hydroquinone can result in permanent discoloration of the skin and, more worryingly, tests on animals have linked hydroquinone to cancer.
Although there is no evidence just yet to suggest that hydroquinone can cause cancer in humans, research is currently ongoing.
Formaldehyde can be found in some nail polish, hair straightening treatments, makeup and many skin care products.
The fact that formaldehyde is used to embalm and preserve dead bodies should be enough to put you off this ingredient, but if that isn’t enough, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can also cause allergy and irritation, sometimes severely.
5. Highly Fragranced Products
Highly fragranced skin care products are a definite no for people with sensitive skin as artificial fragrance is a common skin irritant; however, you may be surprised to find out that anyone can develop a sensitivity or allergy to artificial fragrance over time.
Be Careful What You Put Into Your Body
Although most beauty products contain very small amounts of these potentially harmful chemicals, the danger of using these products lies in the exposure time.
This means that the more you use these products on your skin – or around your home because many of these ingredients are also found in household cleaning products – the more your body is exposed to them.
Over time, through consistent use of chemically laden beauty products, we could be setting ourselves up for potential health problems in the future.
Remember that the skin is the largest organ of the body and what you put on to it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated throughout the rest of the body.
Nature Has The Answer
The use of harmful chemicals and additives in beauty products is the reason why more and more people are turning towards natural beauty products. So-called ‘green’ products can be bought commercially, but they are often expensive.
So what is the solution for people who want to be in control of what they put into their body and yet want to maintain an inexpensive skin care routine?
The perfect solution, of course, is to make your own products – this way you have total control over the ingredients you use.
There has been something of a revolution in recent years towards natural skin care, as people turn back to the wisdom of our ancestors who used natural plant-based remedies to care for their bodies.
Nature has provided us with many inexpensive ingredients that can be used to create 100% natural beauty products.
Simple ingredients, such as fruit, vegetables, oils, sugar, sea salt and grains, to name just a few, can all be used to make effective, chemical-free skin care products.
Making your own beauty products is fun and offers you the opportunity to become a kitchen alchemist, creating your own lotions, potions and blends to meet your unique skin care needs.
If you no longer want to fill your body with a whole host of unnatural chemicals, then making your own beauty products is something you should seriously consider.