This blog had to be written; as gloomy and lengthy as it is because it's primarily where my journey started with Orli and why I detoxed my toiletry cabinet. Yes this is another blog about chemicals nasties but I feel most people are still unaware or more to the point unconvinced that chemicals lurking in their innocuous toiletries are truly having an adverse impact over the long term.
How did our society come to have such a passionate love affair with synthetic chemicals? Like high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and additives in the food industry, it sings the same tune - of manufacturing as much as possible at the lowest possible cost. Skimming costs in ingredients, provides a bigger budget for brand marketing and convincing everyone that these chemically enhanced products are miracle anti-ageing cures. This perpetuates the delusion that without these chemicals we would be sentenced to a life of wrinkles and pimples.
Rates of cancer and auto immune diseases are rising dramatically. Food and environmental toxins are culprits but so are chemicals that are in our everyday products. It's not what you used today or yesterday that's a problem...it is the CUMMULATIVE effect of years of build up of chemical toxins from everyday products and how they REACT WITH each other and the environment.
We are weakening our bodies overall defence mechanisms by slathering our skin with synthetic chemicals every day, a few times a day. These defences are better utilised warding off real enemy virus and bacteria! Let's help our bodies, not poison it. Just as we are familiar with detoxing in our diets, we need to detox our personal care products as well.
If chemical products can't be broken down in our bodies, it's no surprise that it's not breaking down in our environment. Chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products are washed down our sinks and polluting water systems. It not only poses a danger to aquatic life but is found in agricultural soil and dust particles.
I'm not making this up to cause depression and panic. To be informed is paramount but ultimately the choice is up to each individual. I personally choose not to take my chances with these toxins; especially when natural toxin free products exist.
SLS is used in products such as garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash soaps. It's also used for clinical testing as a primary skin irritant so that they may then test healing agents to see how effective they are on the irritated skin. It's an ethoxylated compound and is often contaminated by two known carcinogens during processing; Ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane. SLS can be found in shampoo, body wash/cleanser, mascara and acne treatment. It may make your skin 'squeaky clean' but it also strips your skin of it's natural oils and think about that polluting manufacturing process overtime you see SLS!
Related to products with indications of ethoxylation 'myreth', 'oleth', 'laureate','ceteareth', 'eth', 'peg', 'polyethylene', 'polyethylene glycol', polyoxyethylene' , 'oxynol', polysorbate 60 and polysorbate 80.
This one word hides an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals. These chemical concoctions have been associated with allergies, dermatitis and respiratory distress. It also adversely affects immune and reproductive systems and can cause depression and hyperactivity. It can be found in perfume, cologne, candles, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturizers.
Widely used as preservatives in cosmetics, Methyl-, Propyl-, Butyl- and Ethyl-Paraben are some of its names. Parabens can cause allergic reactions and are easily absorbed into the body. Found in breast tissue and fat cells. Lab studies show that parabens have an estrogenic effect and this could act as a trigger for cancer. It is found in makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers.
Made form petroleum and coal tar and found in synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure in adults can be linked to anaemia, liver and kidney damage. It is toxic to the skin and immune system. Commonly used in nail polish, nail treatments and hair color/bleaching products.
Also known as petroleum jelly, this mineral oil derivative is used for its emollient properties and can cause similar problems to mineral oil. Itdoes not add moisture or nourish the skin. Instead it interferes with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism, which over time can lead to dryness and chapping. Coats the skin like plastic and clogs pores. Could be contaminated with cancer causing PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Found in lipsticks and balms, hair care products, moisturizers, depilatories and deodorant.
6. Polyethylene Glycol
This synthetic chemical has the potential to be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane and ethylene oxide in the manufacturing process. Theses contaminants are linked to kidney and liver problems, cell mutations and reproductive problems. It can be found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.
7. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and synthetic colours
They are derived from Petroleum or coal tar sources. Phenylenediamine is a particular coal tar dye used in many hair dyes. Darker hair dyes tend to contain more phenylenediamine than lighter colours.Synthetic colours are suspected to be a human carcinogen and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain and linked to ADHD in children.
Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic impurity released by a number of cosmetic preservatives, including Diazolidinyl Urea , Quaternium -15, Polyoxymethylene Urea, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. Used in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments.
Linked to cancer when used in products containing N-nitrosating agents. Other names include Methylchloroisothiazol, Methylisothiazolinone. Triethanolamine is an amine produced by reacting ethylene oxide (considered highly toxic) with ammonia (another known toxin). It is used as a buffering agent, masking and fragrance ingredient, and surfactant. It is a skin irritant, organ system toxicant and allergen.
Linked to Developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), contamination concerns (arsenic, lead, heavy metals). Aluminium ions are toxic to plants and humans. Whilst naturally occurring, plants don't thrive in aluminium rich soil.
Linked to developmental/reproductive toxicity, biochemical or cellular level changes. These chemicals function as a sunscreen agent, to absorb ultraviolet light. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors and are believed to be easily absorbed into the body. They may also cause cellular damage and cancer. Other names of chemical sunscreen agents are benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate.
12. Quarternary Ammonium Compounds /Quarternium 15
Causes skin and respiratory irritation and allergies. Certain quaternary ammonium compounds, like benzalkonium chloride, are phenolic and have been found to be endocrine disruptors. They are toxic to aquatic life. Found in shampoos, conditioners and lotions,
Used to make products creamy and suddy Found in moisturisers, sunscreens, cleansers and shampoos.DEA compounds can react with nitrites in cosmetics to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and wildlife
Classified as toxic and possibly carcinogenic. Shown to cause leukaemia in mice and can cause hyper pigmentation.
These compounds may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane which are known carcinogens. The are not safe to use on broken skin as its used as a penetration enhancer and can cause organ toxicity. Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. Thickens products and used in caustic spray on oven cleaners.
Used as a plasticiser in skincare, makeup, nail polish deodorants . Known to cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system. Increases likelihood of cell mutation and is suspected for lowering sperm count.
16. Silicone derived emollients - dimethicone, copolyop, cyclomethicone
Used in cosmetics to soften, smooth, and moisten. They make hair products dry more quickly and deodorant creams slide on more easily. Used extensively in moisturizers and facial treatments. Siloxanes can also be found in water-repelling windshield coatings, building sealants and lubricants. It's a hormone disruptor, linked to cancer and causes skin, eye and respiratory irritation and bioaccumulates in aquatic organisms.
Sever irritant and highly acidic. Over 40% of cosmetics containing Triethanolamine (TEA) have been found to be contaminated with nitrosamines which are potent carcinogens.
Widely used antimicrobial chemical that's a known endocrine disruptor especially thyroid and reproductive hormones, and a skin irritant. Triclosan contributes to making bacteria antibiotic-resistant. Can be found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps and deodorants. It is harmful to fish and wildlife.
All the above ingredients are bad news and are used in products that dominate supermarket and pharmacy shelves. More disappointing is the fact that some products claim to be natural but contain questionable ingredients. It is paramount to read labels and know what to look out for.
Raid your toiletry cabinet and check out the labels. Often the complete list of ingredients is only disclosed on the outside packaging; which isn't helpful as that usually gets thrown out immediately. I chose to toss out all my chemically laden toiletries (and their empty anti-ageing promises) and made the jump to natural products a few years ago. I was apprehensive that I would age rapidly given my 'cosmetic chemical dependencies' but instead I feel my skin thanking me everyday. I only wish I dumped those nasties 25 years ago.
Check out Orli's range of natural skin and personal care here. Absolutely free from toxins and nasties.