Pure Beauty! The 'Dirty Dozen' List of Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid

Date: September 26, 2010 Author: Mary Luciano Categories: Raw Beauty

By Lori Stryker, President of The Organic Makeup Company

We use cosmetics every day and there are so many available, from natural, organic cosmetics to highly advertised conventional products. If you're like me, I try to consume as many organic, natural foods and beverages as possible. Several years ago I turned my attention to another area that affects our health, namely the cosmetics we use and enjoy every day.

I learned that many of the products I used on myself and my children contained, or were exclusively composed of, synthetic, petroleum-derived ingredients. Soon, my list of ingredients that I wanted to avoid became quite long and complicated. Shopping for natural products became confusing and difficult. As a result, I narrowed down my list of ingredients to avoid to a few 'dirty dozen'.

  1. Artificial colours: These are derived from coal tar. They are listed as FD&C colours with names like ‘red 28 lake’. Implicated in asthma, eczema, headaches and other allergy symptoms.
  2. Dibutyl pthalate: Found in all persons tested. Highest levels are found in women of reproductive age. It is used in cosmetics to assist the absorption of other ingredients, but interferes with our reproductive systems.
  3. Formaldehydes: A preservative used many cosmetics. This ingredient causes skin reactions and contact dermatitis. Often listed as imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin quaternium 15, diazolidinylurea, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1 or 3-diol.
  4. Fragrance: Can contain up to 200 undeclared substances and is a major cause of skin irritations and allergies. It may also cause dizziness, skin irritation and hyper-pigmentation.
  5. Alcohol: This ingredient is used as a preservative, but it dries out the skin and hair.
  6. Parabens: A petroleum product that triggers skin irritations and may be an xerestrogen. It also may play a role in falling sperm counts and rising breast cancer rates. It’s used in 99% of all cosmetics and in many natural products.
  7. Parrafin: Derived from petroleum, this ingredient is used in the form of wax, mineral oil or petrolatum, however it is comedogenic (it blocks pores).
  8. Sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate: Forms carcinogenic nitrogen compounds when combined with other cosmetics. It is also irritating to eyes, skin and lungs and has been implicated in hair loss, especially in women.
  9. Toluene: Found in many nail products and nail polish removers. Produced during the process of making gasoline and other fuels from crude oil or coal. This ingredient may affect the nervous system, and/or cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, nausea, or loss of appetite.
  10. Aluminum: Thought to contribute to Alzheimer's Disease. Found in almost all antiperspirants and colour cosmetics like lipstick.
  11. Silica: A white or colorless crystalline compound, found as quartz, sand, flint, agate, and many other minerals. It’s used to manufacture a wide variety of materials, especially glass and concrete.
  12. Nanoparticles: Used in colour cosmetics and sunscreens. Often called ‘micronized minerals’ and are photo-toxic. These particles embed themselves in the superficial layers of the skin and become ‘excited’ with ultraviolet radiation, causing DNA mutations. They have been implicated in skin cancer.

There are many products available that don’t contain these ‘dirty’ ingredients. A good quality jojoba oil works as a night time face treatment, hand moisturizer and hair de-frizzer, all in one! Take this list with you next time you need a cosmetic...because you deserve the healthiest, cleanest cosmetics available!

This article was written by permission. Lori Stryker is President of The Organic Makeup Company, a consulting firm dedicated to providing information about organic skin care and beauty. www.organicmakeup.ca


Add Comment

* are required fields.
Comment moderation is turned on.