BHA and BHT
These two abbreviations stand for chemicals commonly used in foods and cosmetics as preservatives. However, recent research has reported that there’s strong evidence about BHA being a strong endocrine disruptor as well as that it’s a possible human carcinogen. Although BHT has been cleared when it comes to the risk of cancer, it’s still considered a mild endocrine disruptor. It’s true that some experts claim that these two ingredients are perfectly safe and that BHT can be even anticarcinogenic, which additionally confuses consumers, but it’s best to stick to the recommendation given by the Center for Science in the Public Interest as strongly suggests that BHA should be avoided, while BHT received so-called “caution” label.
If you take a look at several cosmetic labels frequently found in your home, you’ll most certainly come across sulfates in lists of ingredients. These detergents are used mainly as cleansing agents, and they’re almost indispensable in shampoos, body and face washes, and facial cleansers. If your shampoo or face wash is foamy, you can be sure that it’s full of sulfates. The problem with these chemical lies in the fact that they remove natural oils from your skin and scalp, thus being counterproductive as the skin starts overproducing the oils in order to prevent dryness and irritation. This, in turn, leaves your skin too oily and your hair greasy. Sulfates are responsible for various skin allergies and should be avoided.
If you decide to stay away from phthalates, you’ll have to be very careful and persistent because these chemicals can be found everywhere, from food packaging to cosmetics and personal care products. Their role is to make plastic more flexible, so they are used in nail polishes to reduce cracking and hair sprays in order to avoid stiffness. Although the cosmetic industry tried to get away with using this hazardous ingredient, the evidence surfaced that linked it to asthma, breast cancer, obesity, type II diabetes, and male fertility issues among many other things. All this resulted in the report issued by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission in which its risks were examined, exposed, and highlighted.
Parabens are preservatives that extend the shelf life of skincare products as they prevent bacteria and microbes from developing. Bathrooms are usually warm and humid, which turns creams and make-up into a fertile ground for all kinds of bacteria, and that’s why parabens can be found on countless product labels. Although they have been in use for over 70 years, a heated discussion about their potential hazard to human health has been raging during the past few years. Hormone disruption, premature skin aging, and even some cancers have been linked to the use of parabens, and although many skincare manufacturers insist that they’re safe, some research studies have found traces of parabens in human breast tumors, while others detected it in the urine and blood of healthy male subjects a few hours after using products containing these chemicals. Since your health is at stake here, it’s always best to choose paraben-free brands such as Ultraceuticals and be sure that your skincare products don’t contain toxic ingredients.
Despite sounding much more pleasant than all those previously mentioned chemicals, fragrances are actually very questionable. Namely, companies use this umbrella term to smuggle all kinds of other chemicals into their cosmetic product, as a loophole doesn’t require them to disclose what exactly they’re using, due to the need to protect their trade secrets. There are almost 500 possibly toxic ingredients that can go by the name of “fragrance”, and what’s even worse, some of them have found their way even into baby wipes, lotions, and creams. Allergies, neurological disorders, and weakening of the immune system are common side effects of fragrances, so make sure to use unscented, fragrance-free products.
Don’t be fooled by the price of your skincare, because even if you’re using expensive, premium brands you still have to check your labels and see what’s inside your favorite anti-aging creams and soothing lotions.