Harmful chemicals in your cosmetic products
Cosmetic products have become an integral part of our lives. Right from the hair oil we use, to shampoos, conditioners, creams and gels – most of us would find our daily grooming incomplete without these products. At the same time one very important aspect which we can not afford to ignore, is that many of these products are loaded with harmful chemicals. Though initially the effect of these chemicals might be minimal, over a period of time it gives rise to a couple of health issues among its users.
Below is a list of products which most of us use on an everyday basis, and yet many among us are unaware of the toxic ingredients laced in them.
Shampoos and Conditioners
Gone are the days when a simple paste of gram flour powder was used to clean one’s tresses. Today with the dust and smoke around us, the use of shampoos and conditioners has become the usual haircare ritual. The market too is full of various kind of shampoos for almost every kind of hair issue. But some of the most common harmful chemicals which many of these hair products have are:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – It is a harsh detergent which causes the foaming lather. But at the same time, this chemical, strips away the hair from its natural oils, breaks down protein in the hair and thereby effect your hair’s natural growth process.
Parabens – Used to increase the shelf life of most of the hair products, parabens is one major reason for skin irritation as well as hormonal imbalance which in turn causes severe hair loss.
Hair Oils and Hair Dyes
Today many prefer using hair oils which unlike the conventional hair oils are non-sticky, have a mild fragrance and need not be used on a regular basis. Though there are several hair oils in the market today which fit into this criteria, many of these hair oils have harmful chemicals which not effect your hair in a negative manner, but also cause several scalp related problems. Few of these injurious chemicals are:
FD and C color pigments : These color pigments used in the hair oil, often cause irritation to the scalp and are also linked to bringing down the oxygen level in the body.
Fragrance : The sweet fragrance which many of us crave for in our hair products are actually compounds of toxic carcinogenic which cause skin cancer.
Likewise the use of hair dye/ hair color has become very common these days. They too carry several chemical ingredients which not only covers up your greys, but also bring down your immune system. These chemicals are:
Ammonia : A very common ingredient in most of the hair dyes and hair colors – Ammonia opens up the outer most layer of the hair (cuticles) so that the dye can easily enter the shaft/ inner portion of the hair. Not only does it lead to irritation, but there have been several studies, which show that Ammonia leads to lung irritation as well.
Para-phenylenediamine : Also known as PPD, this chemical is used as a dye for dark color shades. Made from carcinogens like coal tar and petroleum-derived products like phenols, aniline, benzene etc. PPD along with hydrogen peroxide (another active ingredient in most hair dyes) can lead to cancer.
Bathing soaps are a rage among the young and the old alike. Especially with popular movie actors advertising it, most of us keep changing our bathing soaps every other month. Even though most of the soaps claim to not only clean the skin, but also make the skin soft and healthy elements like Triclosan, Sulfates and Parabens make them an unhealthy choice for our body.
Healthy skin and moisturizers go hand in hand, and as usual most of the households have said good-bye to the use of the good old coconut or mustard oil as a skin moisturizer. On the other hand, most of us are happy with splashing sweet smelling moisturizers which are easy available in the super markets. Many of these products have Mineral Oil, Carcinogens as well as Silicone-derived Emollients as active ingredients. While Mineral Oil is a by-product of petroleum, it tends to build a film on your skin, which impairs its natural ability to release toxins.
Carcinogens like Coal Tar are regularly used for dry-skin treatment. This is one ingredient which researchers have found as one of the main causes of skin cancer. This is the reason why carcinogen loaded products are banned in EU.
Another ingredient which is used to give your skin a soft and supple texture, and is an active ingredient in many moisturizers is Silicone-derived Emollients. Along with making the skin soft, this chemical also stops your skin from breathing which leads to skin irritation as well as development of tumors.
Facial Creams and Gels
Facial creams and gels are the new ‘in-thing’ these days. Whether your skin is oily, dry, has acne problem or any other related issues, you can easily find a facial cream for it. Most of these creams have bleaching agents which disturb the PH balance of your skin and at times aggravate your skin problems.
It is recommended that you always consult a dermatologist before using any product on your face.
Perhaps you might have not even thought that toothpaste too can have harmful chemicals in it. But the reality is that several toothpastes available in the market have Fluoride which has a negative effect on one’s endocrine and neurological systems. Microbeads another active element in many popular toothpastes are plastic pellets which are not only harmful to your body but also have a negative effect on the environment.
Lipsticks and Lip balms
Lipstick is one product which is used by every second female, throughout the globe. Also as cosmetic companies aim to broaden their customer base, the use of lipbalms are no longer limited to females alone. In fact today a fair number of male consumers use lip balms on a daily basis. Though meant to beautify the lips and add smoothness to it, many of the lip products have heavy metals like Chromium, Lead and Retinyl Palmitate as active ingredients.
Chromium and Lead usually fall in the category of heavy metals and are supposed to be the reason behind number of immunity related issues as well as development of cancer. While Retinyl Palmitate which is a synthetic form of Vitamin A, is an active ingredient in many lipsticks and several lip balms. This one ingredient is known to be toxic for pregnant ladies and also effects the reproductive health of women.
These are some of the most commonly used cosmetic products in every Indian household, and the toxic chemicals which they are laden with. As already mentioned, over a period of time, the use of these products is sure to effect your skin and cause severe health issues. It is due to these reasons that doctors and beauty experts recommend the use of organic cosmetic products. As natural ingredients are active elements in organic products, it does not have an harmful effect on your skin as well as your immunity system. Also unlike chemical based cosmetic products, natural beauty products are biodegradable and thus is safe for the environment as well.
So… switch to organic skin care routine and make a difference to your lifestyle!