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"The High Price of Personal Care" - Written By Sarah Outlaw (Co-Owner of 90210 Organics) For Natural Life 101.com

The High Price of Personal Care
By Sarah Outlaw

Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs virtually everything we put on it. Being aware of the ingredients in your personal care products can save your skin and your body from potential harm, both now and long-term. When choosing a personal care product, check it against the Cosmetic Database at www.cosmeticdatabase.com to see where it falls on the safety scale. If the brand you use is not listed, simply enter in the ingredients one at a time and you will be able to find out how safe that product is.
Here are some of the most common ingredients in personal care products and the dangers they pose.

Formaldehyde is a common chemical used in both cleaning and personal care products.  It’s a cheap preservative which is the main reason manufacturers like it so much.  Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen which means cancer causing.  It may be fatal if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed though the skin. Yet manufacturers can put it in shampoo and not even list it as an ingredient because of trade secret laws.  You will be shocked to know that formaldehyde is also commonly used in baby shampoo, bubble bath, deodorants, perfume, cologne, hair dye, mouthwash, toothpaste, hair spray, and many other
personal care products. While the amount is slight, no one knows how repeated exposure can damage one’s health.
Formaldehyde can also irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Babies especially are very susceptible to chemical damage to their lungs, skin and central nervous systems. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, Chronic Fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep.  It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma.
Nearly all commercial brands of skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde-releasing ingredients. Remember, you won’t find “formaldehyde” on the label because it goes by other names such as Quaternium-15.

Sodium Lauryl Sufate(SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is an eye irritant and may be damaging to the immune system. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties.  It is possibly the most dangerous ingredient in personal care products. Even coconut or vegetable-based SLS/SLES may not be any healthier for you because of the way it is formulated.SLS/SLES are used as detergents and surfactants.  These closely related compounds are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers.  Yet both are widely used in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioner, and about 90% of all shampoos and products that foam.  SLS can stay in the
body for up to 5 days and easily penetrates through the skin, enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, the liver, the lungs and the brain.  This poses serious questions regarding its potential health threat through its use in shampoos, cleansers and toothpastes.

Mineral Oil:  Most oil being sold today as baby oil is 100% Mineral Oil.  This commonly used petroleum ingredient coats the skin like a plastic wrap. The skins natural skin barrier is disrupted as this plastic coating inhibits its ability to breathe and absorb the Natural Moisture factor (moisture and nutrition).  The skins ability to release toxins is impeded by this “plastic wrap” which can promote acne and other disorders.  This process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing the skin to prematurely age. Coconut, apricot or almond oil are safer alternatives.

Lead causes neurological and kidney damage, high blood pressure, disrupted blood cell production and reproductive problems. It is also fatal in higher doses. Young children under the age of six can be affected to a greater extent because of their developing brains and central nervous systems.Some lipsticks contain lead and immediately enter the body through the lips and can be ingested. It is also present in some cosmetics. For a list of what cosmetics contain lead, go to www.safecosmetics.org .

Parabens are chemicals that are used as preservatives in many personal care products. Even some so-called “natural” companies use parabens in their products. A consumer must be very diligent in checking the labels. Just because a product says it is natural does not mean it is chemical-free.
Two reasons why parabens are continually being used are that they are cheap and effective in extending the shelf life of a product.  Scientific studies have not proven that parabens are harmful though other more recent studies have shown the opposite. Parabens may act as an endocrine disrupter and an estrogen imitator. They are a possible carcinogen and may contribute to breast cancer.

Propylene Glycol (PG): This ingredient is actually the active component in antifreeze.  There is no difference between the PG used in the industry and the PG used in personal care products.  It is used in industry to break down protein and cellular structure (what is skin made of) yet it is found in most make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shave, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpaste.
What you don’t know is that because of PG’s ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing, and goggles when working with this toxic substance.  The MSDS warn against skin contact, yet consumers are not protected nor are there warning labels on products such as stick deodorant, where the concentration is greater than that of most industrial applications.

ISOPROPYL ALCOLHOL is found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances, and many other cosmetics.  Inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis and even coma.

FD & C Color PIGMENTS: Many color pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and even death according to “A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients”. Debra Lynn Dadd says in Home Safe Home: "Colors that can be used in foods, drug, and cosmetics are made from coal tar. There is a great deal of controversy about their use, because animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic."

Dioxins can be found in trace amounts in tampons and feminine pads. Dioxins are suspected carcinogens and have caused cancer in animals during testing. Tampons are also chlorine-bleached and made with synthetic fibers. This combination is linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome.  The EPA has determined that people exposed to dioxins have increased risk of developing endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and reduced fertility.

FRAGRANCE is present in most deodorants shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care and baby products. Many of the compounds in fragrance are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. "Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors have shown that exposure to
fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes.” (Home Safe Home, Debra Lynn Dadd).

Now that I have completely plunged you into depression with all of this information, allow me to assure you that there are safer alternatives to products that contain harmful chemicals. We are so fortunate today to have companies that care about the quality of their ingredients and the health of their consumers. If you cannot pronounce the ingredients, don’t buy that product. I have included some resources that will help you find the products that are right for you and your family.


Debra Lynn Dadd’s
“Home Safe Home” book
and website:

Safe Cosmetics

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