Part of the reason we find ourselves surrounded by so many toxins is that the LABELS on our products can be difficult to read. They are full of long, complicated ingredient lists; and often, completely innocent, skin-soothing components have names that are very similar to bad-for-you synthetic chemicals.
So, what are some ingredient terms to watch out for?
FRAGRANCE is a lovely term that conjures up visions of flowers and butterflies in fresh fields. But whenever you see “fragrance” listed on a product, beware. This term refers to any number and/or combination of thousands of synthetic chemicals that have been linked to issues such as allergies and irritants, migraines, organ damage, and even cancer. And the kicker is that companies aren’t even required to list what makes up their fragrances! They are legally allowed to use that all-encompassing and innocent-sounding term “fragrance.”
PARABENS are preservatives. They help extend the shelf life of a personal/beauty product. This might seem like a good thing, as nobody wants to open their cabinet and find moldy bars of soap! But parabens can penetrate the skin and also have a tendency to disrupt hormone function. Some studies have even linked parabens to cell division and breast cancer. Parabens show up on your labels as words such as butylparaben, propylparaben, and methylparaben.
TRICLOSAN is found in many dishwashing detergents and soaps, but it can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs. Some studies say it is harmful to thyroid function and the endocrine system.
These are just three of the most common chemicals found in many beauty, personal, and cleaning products. We can’t possibly cover every ingredient found in every product, but there’s a great resource you can make use of to find out just that: EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
This is an online database organized according to ingredients as well as personal care products. When you enter a product into the search, it will bring up a results list of the ingredients found in that product and their safety rankings. Next to each ingredient’s safety ranking, you’ll find a list of the reasons it scored that rank, so you can tell if the warning is due to allergy potential, organ system concerns, etc.
QUESTION – HAVE YOU PREVIOUSLY HEARD OF FRAGRANCE, PARABENS, OR TRICLOSAN?