Dangerous ingredients used in cosmetics

So what are you really putting on and in your body? Only the cosmetics companies know for sure, as not all ingredients are required to be included on the label.

The list of dangerous ingredients used in cosmetics is long: the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has stated that nearly 900 of the chemicals used in cosmetics are toxic. According to US-based author and natural medicine proponent Dr Joseph Mercola, here are some of the major ones, which you will want to avoid:

Also known as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, among others. Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, and are possible carcinogens. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked methylparaben in particular to metabolic, developmental, hormonal and neurological disorders, as well as various cancers.

Scientific studies have shown that the oestrogenic effect linked to the extended use of parabens can lead to diminished muscle mass, extra fat storage and breast growth in males. Other studies have shown that oestrogen stimulates breast cancer. There have been no successful studies to show that repeated and prolonged use of parabens is safe. Paraben is a low-cost synthetic preservative for which many large cosmetic brands have tried to fund studies in the hope of proving that prolonged usage is safe; all studies failed.

Parabens can be found in face and body moisturisers, bodywash, deodorants and cleansers.

Plasticising ingredients which, among other problems, have been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys and lower sperm motility in men.

Used in shampoo to prevent bacteria from developing, methylisothiazolinone (MIT) may have detrimental effects on your nervous system.

Made from petroleum or coal tar and found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure is linked to anaemia, lowered blood-cell count and liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing foetus.

A registered pesticide, triclosan is an antimicrobial active ingredient that acts to slow or stop the growth of bacteria, fungi and mildew, and reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. This chemical is added to many personal care products, including antibacterial soaps and bodywashes, toothpastes and some cosmetics, plus furniture, kitchenware, clothing and toys. Triclosan’s harmful effects include impaired heart and muscle function and hypothyroidism.
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