A golden oldie in toxic beauty circles, these substances have a chemical structure surprisingly like estrogen’s. The EPA itself admits that all parabens have endocrine-disrupting effects. Meaning the body thinks you have extra estrogen – weight gain, depression, even cancer and birth abnormalities can result.
These cosmetic forms of mineral oil are found in many skin and hair products. As well as anti-freeze, fabric softener, wallpaper stripper, sealant and paint. Often warned as a skin irritant, this petrochemical is as unnecessary as it is ubiquitous.
Minerals in skin care (and makeup) are just as unregulated as the rest of the industry. Before they go into products, they through major chemical processes that make “natural” claims dubious, and can include potentially irritating, toxic minerals such as talc and beyond.
In addition, nano-particles have created concerns about penetrating beyond the skin to issues, organs (brain included) and perhaps the cells.
The dirty secret of cleansers, this pesticide—yes, that’s right—is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. EPA. It bioaccumulates in fatty tissues and is often found in breast milk and blood. It’s also linked to hormone-disruption, developmental defects, and liver toxicity. Heavy use has resulted in drug-resistant rogue bacteria.
Frequently found in baby and children’s shampoo and bubble bath, this is used in embalming fluid, fumigants and auto coolants. Don’t check the label – it’s rarely listed.
Petrolatum, mineral oil, petroleum jelly – it goes by many names but these crude oil derivatives not only interrupt the skin’s own moisturizing powers, they can cause breakouts, cell sluggishness and great sun susceptibility. Petrochemicals are also a hotbed for contamination and are of course, extremely not sustainable. However, they are cheap.
Pesticides kill living things. It’s what they do. You’re a living thing.
In 2002, three-quarters of the 72 products tested by the Environmental Working Group contained phthalates, chemicals linked to birth defects, feminization of infant boys, liver and kidney damage, and infertility.
These chemicals are what make plastics soft and pliable, in everything from bottles to vinyl belts. And they are everywhere—including your hair products. They are what keeps perfumes from escaping and helps conventionally made products smooth, straighten or hold.
Likely the cause of the hermaphrodite fish, these endocrine disruptors have serious effects on kids and pregnant women. These chemicals have been definitively linked to effects from early puberty to feminizing boys. They also create dioxins that contaminate the air, soil and water.
These detergent make foam foamy, suds sudsy, and the rest of you a little too squeaky. Not only do these strip out your hair color, they disrupt natural oils and can create irritation.
Silicone is technically a “natural” product derived from sand, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Regular use can lead to allergic reactions, sensitivities and breakouts. It is non-digestible and non-recyclable, that doesn’t biodegrade.
By law, “fragrance” is a trade secret that doesn’t need to be revealed, creating a loophole big enough to hide 200 mystery ingredients, usually synthetic or very occasionally animal. Headaches, dizziness, rash, irritation and other chemical sensitivities can sometimes result.
The watchdog environmental and consumer products organization Environmental Working Group has an excellent paper, Not So Sexy that reveals more about the hidden chemicals lurking in our fragrances.