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Today we are spoiled for choice when it comes to skincare products. Creams to target certain concerns or those for general moisturising, they have their benefits clearly highlighted on flashy packaging. As our attention span has shortened dramatically over the last decade or two, that's all we need in our busy lives. We don't like to read lengthy ingredients' lists which we don't even understand. If you care about your health however, it's time you pick your face cream more wisely. Skincare industry commonly practices the use of toxic and potentially harmful chemicals. Therefore I have prepared a list of ten controversial ingredients for you to learn more about. Check them out.

This mysterious three letter code is a short for polyethylene glycol that is widely used in skincare or hair care products. If you picked up a random product that you have in your bathroom, you'd find this ingredient on the label. It's that popular. Do you use anti freeze in your car? That's 100% all polyethylene glycol. In skin care, PEG is used in lesser amounts to give the formula appealing texture and prevent it from separation. All reliable sources insist on the fact there's not enough evidence for PEG to be harmful when applied on the skin at low levels. If taken internally however, it can cause liver toxicity or death. That's pretty scary knowing that PEG is easily absorbed by the skin and it helps other ingredients penetrate into the deeper areas of dermis. Avoid where possible.

I have not got much tolerance for sodium laureth sulfates. A true black character amongst skincare ingredients. What's worse, it's also very popular. You will find in almost every foaming product you use, shampoos, shower gels, bath soaks and in toothpaste. Why is it so famous? It effectively removes the  impurities from the skin and creates a desirable foam. On the other hand though, it also strips the skin from natural protective lipid layer causing severe irritations. It doesn't end here. SLS gets easily absorbed by the body's internal organs, including brain, heart,  lungs, liver and eyes. Prolonged build up of this toxin will potentially give you a serious health problems down the line. Not a good news at all,  especially if you are a big fan of high foam products. Any alternatives? Dry sand scrubbing anyone? Or, It's time to check that natural black soap out.

Paraben family are utilised by skincare industry to prolong the shelf life of the products. There is a lot of disagreement in regards to the safety of these preservatives. The most commonly found are methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Regulatory bodies claim they are safe to use in beauty products. Independent sources state that even though parabens aren't harmful as such, in combination with other preservatives, they can release formaldehyde, a nasty chemical that is used to embalm dead bodies for example. That's when the risk of cancer increases dramatically and so is confusion as to which blend of chemicals is potentially giving us one way ticket to the graveyard. We would need a lot of scientific knowledge, private lab and a lot of spare time to identify whether our daily face wash is an assassin. It seems like it's a wise choice to stick to paraben free products.

Whereas parabens may not be as bad as they sound, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate is without a doubt the preservative to be avoided. It will irritate the most resilient of skins and it will cause many more health problems. Don't be fooled by skincare companies claiming it is a gentle preservative that comes from a natural amino acid. Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate requires complex processes to take place, therefore its chemical structure changes into a nasty toxin that can transform you from a healthy individual into an allergy prone weakling catching infections one after another. Yes, it does stop unwanted microbes from growing inside your cream but the negative side effects by far outweigh the benefits. STOP using immediately.

This suspect is used in sun blocking products. It will protect your skin from UV sun rays damage but it will do much more than that. It has the increased ability to penetrate deep into your blood stream, delivering nothing less than a huge cancer hazard. It interferes with estrogen levels, spiking the risk of breast cancer. Life's ironic side showing again here, you protect yourself from getting melanoma whilst risking cancerous damage to inner organs of your body. There are many types of sun blocking screens out there, but benzophenome is the one to be dropped by all means. Some manufacturers may question that statement claiming there's not enough evidence. Well, isn't it because the rats haven't even survived the testing process?

Mineral oil known also as a paraffin oil or liquid petroleum is widely used in skincare, especially in baby care products. It is a by product of gasoline. That's right, the one you use in your car. To be honest, mineral oil originates from a naturally occurring fossil fuel. It has to go through a radical purification process though to be considered as a safe ingredient in skin care. Mineral oil is so popular because it has one major benefit. It adds moisture to your skin at an instant and visibly reduces lines. Unfortunately, it can also lead to the skin being too moist, which will impair its natural biological cycle. As a result you may end up with mineral oil dependant skin, unable to function and prematurely aged. What's more, with different mineral oil grades available on the market that are destined to be used in diverse industries, it is very difficult for us mortals to identify whether the product we are just about to buy isn't contaminated with cancer inducing toxins. No, thank you.

Aluminum based compounds found in deodorants and  feminine hygiene products may be a threat to our hormonal system. Considering the fact that our body, mind and soul are all under dictatorship of a balanced hormone level, we don't want to interfere with its majestic powers by spraying some nasties all over our skin. On the good note though, before you get rid of your favourite anti-perspirant,  aluminum can't be absorbed through your skin, unless you spray on open wounds or cuts. Just eliminate direct aftershave application and you can enjoy safer use of deodorant. What gets absorbed through your nose though, is another story.

It is worth mentioning that fragrance chemicals are used in almost every skincare or hair care product you can find, surprisingly, even in the unscented type. Your beloved perfume may be a mixture of hundreds of unique compounds. To escalate this issue to a panic level, majority of perfume manufacturers never reveal the formula, making it a trade secret. The exposure can lead to allergies, sinus problems, asthma,  cancerous changes and nervous system toxicity. Dietyl phtalate for instance, is used by companies to make the fragrance linger on the skin. Not only does it linger, but also it flirts with hormonal function of the wearer him/herself making it a very risky romance.

Polyethylene, in other words plastic. Yes,  to your astonishment, plastic is used in cosmetics, namely in pressed powders, foundations, face exfoliators, body scrubs, hair styling products and toothpaste. It works as an emulsifier which means it binds oil with water based ingredients. Amongst other uses like solids dilution, or thickening the formulas, it has some serious side effects too. In labs, it proved to cause immunotoxicity and skin irritations. Although polyethylene could not penetrate into the body through a healthy skin, it was harmful when applied to open nicks or scratches. When inside , potentially resulting in tumour formation.


Cocamide Dea is found in a range of beauty products, face cleansers, shampoos, hand soaps, foundations and shave creams. Number ten on our  list is a definite leader in carrying health hazards to its users. Cocamide dea has been unanimously announced a cancer causing chemical. Backed by research and good intentions - two key players within skincare industry Colgate-Palmolive and Lush decided to drop cocamide dea from their ingredients reserves. As they aren't exactly natural brands, it puts even darker shade on the chemical that somehow did make it into our bubble bath.

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