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Helen is an awesome woman on a mission to give you simple and actionable health advice. Since 2012, she’s been armed with the goal of making it easy to read health and nutrition labels. Visit this blog post on her website here or message her directly on Twitter at @healthambition
Pain is beauty. You’ve heard the expression before, and it holds true whether you’re thinking of body hair removal or ripping off a pore strip. However, cosmetics have the potential to cause a different kind of pain in the form of serious health conditions.
History has produced many instances where people (usually women) became ill or even died due to the use of toxic cosmetics.
We tend to scoff today at the lead-based red and white makeup used in the 1800s. The fact of the matter is that we’re still using products that contain harmful ingredients.
Cosmetics tend to be full of potentially harmful chemicals, and you may not even realize it. However, there are natural beauty alternatives out there if you spend the time to find them.
While the products may not look, feel, or smell exactly like the original, potentially less safe versions we’re used to, they are better your health.
Let’s look at some ingredients to avoid if you’re trying to break free from chemicals in your daily life.
1. Parabens and Other Preservatives
Parabens, sulfates, and other cosmetic preservatives are ridiculously common ingredients. They’re found in almost all mainstream cosmetic products.
In recent years, food and health product preservatives have been put under the microscope to find out if they’re really safe. The answer was a resounding “no” all around.
What’s the issue with these ingredients? Parabens have been found to be endocrine disruptors, meaning they can mimic hormones or affect your body’s production of hormones. This hormone disruption is attributed to other health issues like breast cancer, infertility, and the early onset of puberty.
2. Petroleum-Based Ingredients
While the U.S. government still gives it the okay for use in health and beauty products, any substance that may cause cancer should be avoided.
You probably already know that formaldehyde can be dangerous. Did you also know it could be hiding in your makeup bag or medicine cabinet under a different name?
Formaldehyde is frequently found in hair products, nail lacquer, body wash, and false eyelash glue. Other names for the same chemical are methylene oxide or methyl aldehyde.
4. Synthetic Fragrances
Synthetic fragrances are found in almost all commercial cleaning and cosmetic products. They can be composed of any number of different chemicals.
The real issue is that they are largely untested. Companies aren’t even required to reveal the formulation of their fragrance ingredients!
Synthetic fragrances have been shown to cause respiratory issues, migraines, and many other health conditions. The fact that these ingredients are largely untested is enough to ward off circumspect consumers.
Though these ingredients are found everywhere, there are viable alternatives. Essential oils, for example, provide a perfect, natural solution to the fragrance issue.
Triclosan is a substance frequently found in antibacterial products like hand soap, hand sanitizer, and even toothpaste. While our world today is all about waging chemical warfare on germs, it may not be such a great idea in the long run.
Animal tests have shown that triclosan may interrupt hormone production. It is also thought that the antibacterial properties of triclosan may be partially responsible for the development of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains.
It can be difficult to contemplate your beauty routine with the absence of commercial products at its foundation. However, there are healthier, more natural ways to look and feel beautiful, inside and out.
While most of these chemicals are considered safe in small quantities, a tiny bit of toxic product doesn’t seem like the ideal path to health and beauty to me.