5 toxic ingredients to avoid in beauty products
Why are toxic ingredients in beauty products and how to avoid them? Most of the cosmetic products, even the expensive ones, contain chemicals that are toxic to our health. Let’s see why.
If you have ever tried to make by yourself any skin care product, following the new trend that is now circulating in the world, but also with us – handmade cosmetics (DIY) – you may have encountered these problems:
- the lack of finding ingredients which can give your products the same pleasing scent and effect as a drugstore product could
- the lack of knowledge how to come up with specific recipes
- the lack of time, motivation and a sterile environment where to produce your cosmetics
The cosmetic industry has all the resources to manufacture a high quantity of products, faster and cheaper, with a specific effect for the skin (or for any other part of your body).
Understanding the role of toxic ingredients
Each substance has a precise role in a cosmetic product: it either gives it a smooth texture for the touch and it’s easy to apply, or it gives it consistency of a cream, lotion or gel.
These possibly toxic chemicals that we are talking about and which are added in cosmetics, are additives with antibacterial role, colorant, stabilizer, etc.
Normally, in small quantities it does not harm the skin and health. But the biggest problem is the cumulative effect they have over time. The skin absorbs the cosmetics we apply to its surface, but does not metabolize all the ingredients, and some accumulate and after a while can have toxic effects on our body.
In fact, toxic ingredients in cosmetics can be even more harmful than those in food. From the surface of the skin, the cosmetic substances reach directly into the blood and then into the whole body, without first passing through the liver and kidneys to be filtered, as it happens with the potentially toxic substances in food.
This problem is managed much more better in Europe than in America, for example. European legislation is more restrictive regarding the toxicity of cosmetic ingredients and their dosage.
In the United States, too many tests are not required before a new cosmetic product is released, and in perfumes they even have substances that manufacturers are not obliged to mention on the packaging.
So, be careful what you buy from across the ocean, what products you order online, where they come from and what quality they have.
5 toxic ingredients to avoid in your cosmetic products
While the European legislation is more restrictive, toxic ingredients are still not missing from the beauty industries. There are a lot of substances which you should avoid having in your daily skin care product.
Don’t be scared of all these toxic ingredients and chemical names, you don’t have to remember them. Make a list of them for when you go shopping, or print this article.
How to read a skin care label
According to the Plant-Powered Beauty book, an ingredient can be defined as a mixture that contributes to the whole completed recipe.
Combined with other ingredients, it makes up the finale product.
An ingredient has two roles:
1.it has a function in the formula by helping make the product creamy,sticky,smooth, etc. It’s basically how it reacts and the way it behaves in relationship to the other ingredients.
2.it has a therapeutic action on the skin: it moisturizes, softens,treats acne,prevents wrinkles, etc.
Ingredients can come from two sources:
1.Botanicals (from plants)
2.Synthetics (artificially designed)
On a deck, ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration, meaning that the order in which the ingredients are listed reveals how much of each ingredient is actually used in the recipe of the product.
- The base is usually between 65-80 percent of the product and it is always listed first
- The active and supporting ingredients (which provide the actual therapeutic actions and the textural or aesthetic function) can constitute between 5-10 percent of the product
- The functional ingredients (which can be also designed as an active ingredient too) may constitute 5-10 percent of the formula
- The additives ingredients are not more than 2 or 3 percent of the product, and they generally include preservatives,colors, pH balancers,aromas,fragrances etc.
It is also good to know that what is listed last on the ingredient list contains most likely less than 1 percent of the total formula.
By having an idea of how much of each ingredient is used, you can begin to see how the recipe is composed.
A simple trick to help you understand the long list of ingredient names is to try to isolate the first three to four ingredients listed, and then take note of where the first plant-sounding name appears.
This will give you a general idea of what makes up the majority of the product. It will also reveal what the active therapeutic components may be.
Everything listed that follows that first recognized active ingredient is likely to be less than 1 percent of the recipe.
A quick scan like this can reveal what makes up the majority of any skincare product. And if you see that the first three to five ingredients of a product are water and alcohol or petroleum (listed as paraffin or mineral oil), chances are there is nothing therapeutic about it.