In terms of products and brands to try, there's just so much to be found that it can get intimidating and confusing. Given that this is about your body and personal care, you have to be sure about what you're buying.
In the beauty world, there are a lot of ingredients that have a pretty bad reputation - and for good reason. But when you just want to buy a moisturiser or a face wash, it can get pretty tedious to do comprehensive checks online. After all, isn't life hard enough already? Not to worry though. We're here to help! The first step to knowing what products are good is to know what ingredients to avoid. So we've got a list of some controversial ingredients that you should most definitely not have in your products!
Even if you're living under a rock, you've probably heard people go on and on about parabens. They're preservatives commonly found in a wide variety of beauty and cosmetic products. Now you must be wondering why a preservative should be the cause of much controversy. Well, the problem is that parabens are potential carcinogens. They've also been linked to endocrine disruption and decreased fertility.
Now it's important to keep in mind that the studies against the use of parabens are not conclusive enough for them to be banned. But it's always better to be safe than sorry. especially when better and less harmful alternatives are available! It is also important to note that preservatives aren't bad, parabens are!
Phthalates are widely used as binding ingredients. You'll find them in cosmetics, food packaging, household cleaners etc. In the past couple of years, studies have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), breast cancer, obesity and Type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioural issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. That’s a lot of reasons to give phthalates a miss!
Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent. It is most often used for treating hyperpigmentation. What makes hydroquinone a case of controversy is the fact that it may be a potential carcinogen and is also a known skin irritant.
Although hydroquinone is widely available, it can cause some severe reactions if you have sensitive or dry skin. Medium-to-dark skin tones should also most definitely avoid this product.
There's a lot of buzz surrounding mineral oil in the beauty industry. Mineral oil is a clear and odourless oil derived from petroleum. Like petroleum, the problem with mineral oil is that it isn't particularly hydrating. It is an occlusive and acts as a barrier but is not providing any nourishment on its own.
So, if you're looking for something hydrating, mineral oil probably isn't for you unless it's used with more hydrating ingredients. Another issue is that mineral oil can potentially clog your pores.
If there is one product every dermatologist will tell you to use it is sunscreen. There are two types of sunscreens - physical and chemical. Chemical sunscreens contain molecules that absorb UV A, UV B, or both. Since chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin there is a concern whether the chemicals present can enter the bloodstream and cause any damage. You'll also find that people with sensitive skin generally struggle with this type of sunscreen.
Physical sunscreens, although they leave a cast, are a much safer option.
Toluene is a clear colourless liquid with a distinctive smell. It is a good solvent (helps dissolve other substances) and is used in nail paints, normal paints, varnishes etc. The problem with toluene is that it can affect your nervous system, causing dizziness, headaches, tiredness, nausea among others
One you should definitely avoid!
Formaldehyde pops up in many places - hair straightening or curling treatments (like Keratin), flooring, fertilizers among others. It is also used as a preservative. What's worrisome about formaldehyde is that it is a potential carcinogen. Chronic exposure to formaldehyde can also cause damage to the central nervous system. Bad news!
Talc is a mineral found in a wide variety of cosmetic and personal care products. You'll find talc in quite a few eyeshadows and highlighters.It is added to absorb moisture, smooth or soften products, prevent caking, and make makeup opaque.
What's troublesome about talc is that, according to studies, it elevates lung burden. Talc inhalation can interfere with mechanisms that clean lungs and mitigate inflammation thereby damaging cells and potentially leading to cancer.
Petrolatum, or petroleum jelly, derived from petroleum, is often used in personal care products as a moisturizing agent. You’ll find this one in a lot of lip balms. As mentioned earlier, this is more of a barrier ingredient than a hydrating ingredient. Other than being a possibly-comedogenic occlusive, petrolatum has also been linked to cancer. White or fully refined petrolatum is considered safe for use but any other form is best avoided.
Triclosan is a synthetic chemical with antimicrobial properties. It can destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi. It is widely used in cosmetics, personal care products, household products such as soaps among others. The problem with triclosan is that is a known endocrine disruptor and suspected carcinogen. Best to avoid!
Silicones are one of those ingredients that may or may not work for you. Being water-resistant and smoothing, silicones are used in a lot of beauty products - particularly primers. They smooth and blur out pores, ensuring even makeup application. But here's why you might want to avoid them - they can clog your pores, cause acne, dehydrate your skin and prevent skin renewal.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is a well-known surfactant used in skincare products such as body wash, cleansers, shampoos and hand washes. It is this ingredient that gives these products the foamy, bubbly consistency. What makes SLS an ingredient you want to avoid is the fact that it is a known skin irritant and can strip the skin of its natural oils causing dryness. But always remember, surfactants aren't the problem, sulphates are! Not all surfactants are drying and irritating!
There you have it! Next time you go shopping be it online or offline, be sure to do a mental check and make sure none of your products has any of these bad boys! For natural and organic beauty products that are kind to you and the environment, you can check out our products too. At Myra Veda, we're committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle with quality skincare and haircare!