Found in: cleansers, scrubs, shampoos, lotions, and any product with a high water content
Listed on your labels as any ingredient ending in “-paraben,” these chemicals prohibit the growth of microbes in your cosmetic products. However, several parabens are strongly linked to cancerous tumor growth in breast tissue, endocrine disruption, and reproductive toxicity. Pregnant women: avoid at all costs, as these chemicals can affect your baby’s development during pregnancy.
Found in: lotions, creams, gels, hair products, deodorant
Currently, there are no federal laws regulating the listing of fragrance composition on cosmetic and skincare labels. What does this mean? Harmful toxins, chemicals and additives under the guise of “fragrance” can mosey right on by from your favorite lotion and into your body without you ever knowing.
Heavy Metals: arsenic, lead, mercury, zinc, iron, etc.
Found in: toothpaste, lipstick, sunscreen, nail polish, eye makeup
Heavy metals are most commonly used in the production of colorant cosmetic products (i.e. lipsticks, eye makeup), and are linked to cancer development, organ system toxicity, and development issues. While these ingredients are banned for cosmetic use in Canada, Japan, and the European Union, many of these ingredients are still found in cosmetics and skincare products in the United States due to less regulation. Many heavy metals are left unlisted on your cosmetic labels, so use colorant products with caution.
Found in: toothpaste, deodorant, foundation, anti-aging creams
While the definition of “nanomaterials” remains legally undefined, many consider these to be insoluble particles of various chemical compounds that are used as fillers, preservatives, and color additives. They are listed as ingredients labeled with “micronized” prior to the name. Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and quartz silica are commonly used in cosmetic products in the nanoparticle form. Nanomaterials are shown to have a higher toxicity in the body due to their insoluble nature, and can easily find their way to your brain because of their tiny size.
Found in: baby shampoo, body wash, lipstick, cleansers, color cosmetics, nail polish
Like parabens (which are a form of preservatives), preservatives discourage the growth of bacteria and mold in cosmetic and skincare products. Common preservatives used in cosmetic products are formaldehyde, benzylate, TCC, polyoxymethylene urea, bromopol, and glyoxal.These chemicals are linked to cancer development, skin and tissue irritation, endocrine disruption, and neurotoxicity. Be on the lookout for these preservatives and others, as the FDA does not have any specific regulations for the use of preservatives in cosmetic products.