One of my newest adventures has been going green when it comes to my personal care products. Now I have never been a beauty queen but I have always wanted to take care of my skin and look great on a night out. Lately, I have been ridding my bathroom of any products that are bad for the environment and bad for me. Let me tell you…it has been quite the process. There are a ton of things out there that are disguised to look like they are good for you. Plus, there are a ton of terms that make determining what’s what very confusing.
Today, I thought I would share with you a breakdown of the meanings of some of the terminology that is used in personal care product labeling in the hopes that if you decide to join me on this green adventure, you will know what your dealing with.
1. BHA and BHT– Used mainly in moisturizers and make up preservatives. It is suspected to alter your endocrine system and may cause cancer. It is also harmful to fish and other wildlife.
2. Coal tar dyes– Look for hair dyes and other products that list “CI” followed by five digits. The U.S. colour name may also be listed as FD&C Blue No. 1. These dyes use p-phenylenediamine and can cause cancer because they contain heavy metals that are toxic to your brain.
3. DEA– Used in cream and foam products, such as moisturizers, shampoos, and hair mousse. These products can form nitrosamines, which can also cause cancer.
4. Dibutyl phthalate– used in nail care products, especially in nail polishes. These interfere with your reproductive system and are also harmful to wildlife.
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives– Used in a variety of cosmetics. Look for words like DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, and quarternium 15. These preservatives contain formaldehyde which is known to cause cancer.
6. Parabens– Used in numerous cosmetics and they interfere with the male reproductive functions.
7. Parfum (fragrance)- Refers to any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in cosmetics, even those listed as unscented. These ingredients trigger asthma, allergies, and can cause cancer. They are also harmful to wildlife.
8. PEG compounds– Used in cream bases and can cause cancer. They contain dioxane which is a toxin.
9. Petrolatum– Used in hair products for shine as well as lip balms, sticks, and moisturizers. These products can contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which can cause cancer.
10. Sloxanes– Look for ingredients with the words ending in siloxane and methicone. Siloxanes are used in cosmetics as softeners and smoothers. They are harmful to the reproductive and endocrine systems.
11. Sodium laureth sulfate– Used in cosmetics that foam such as cleansers, shampoos, and bubble bath. They contain dioxane which causes cancer.
12. Triclosan– It’s code word is “antibacterial” and is found in toothpastes, cleansers, and deodorants. It can cause antibiotic resistance and is known to harm wildlife.
As you can see it is no simple quest to determine what products are good for you when they contain so many different and potentially harmful additives. I hope I have encouraged you to go and examine your own personal care products and to rid your home of any of them that are harmful. We all work so hard to live well, save money, and enjoy life…it would be a shame to lose it all over a bottle of shampoo.
For more information about these contaminants please click here.