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I personally am very suspicious of any ingredient in my cosmetic products that i dont know or dont understand what it is. If i dont know what it is, i dont know what it does – why should i risk putting unhealthy chemicals on my skin or hair?

That is why, i made a list with ingredients, that i personally feel should be avoided. It is hard and annoying to always check the ingredients list when buying something so ordinary as shampoo, but maybe after reading a bit of the following infos, you will at least take a look at the products you already have in your bathroom and be a bit more critical:

1. PARABENS

– parabens are cosmetic preservatives, probably the most widely spread from this list. They are mostly found under the forms of Methylparaben, Butylparaben, and Propylparaben. However, try to avoid any product having ingredients with the word “paraben” in them!

–  the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed parabens as Category 1 priority substances, based on evidence that they interfere with hormone function. (source: tudy on Enhancing the Endocrine Disrupter Priority List with a Focus on Low Production Volume Chemicals. Revised Report to DG Environment. Hersholm, Denmark: DHI, 2007)

– parabens are suspected of encouraging the development of cancer (have been detected in breast cancer tissues!!), affecting the male reproduction functions and, in reaction with UVB, they increases skin aging and tissue damage.

– they are often used in “fragrances”, in which case, they do not appear in the Ingredients list under their chemical name, but under “<type> fragrance”. avoid products that have artificial fragrances in them!!

– Parabens are also very dangerous because they penetrate the skin easily.  (source:Parabens. http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety

(PAY ATTENTION: parabens are sometimes also found in food!!)

2. SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES)

– this ingredient helps creating more bubbles or foam in cosmetic products

– the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies 1,4-dioxane as a possible human carcinogen and it is also persistent. In other words, it doesn’t easily degrade and can remain in the environment long after it is rinsed down the shower drain. (Source: David Suzuki Foundation)

– among the side effects: eye damage, skin damage, diarrhea, hard breathing, hair loss

3. BENZYL BENZOATE

– suspected in cancer development,  it also disrupts the endocrine function.

– very common in cosmetic products

4. SYNTETIC FRAGRANCES & COLORINGS

– as said above, the term “fragrance” includes around 200 ingredients, which are not mentioned in the ingredients list. Some of these ingredients can be extremely harmful, there is however no way of knowing.

5. LEAD & MERCURY & ALUMINIUM (what are they doing in cosmetics anyway?!)

– lead (lead acetate) occurs most of the times in toothpastes (but also in lipsticks and hair colors). Because it is a neurotoxine, it causes brain damage and various development delays even if adminsitrated in small quantities.

– mercury is usually found under the name “thimerosol” in mascaras or other eye make-up products. The side-effects are many and because it is easily absorbed, also very dangerous! (it is even linked to autism with children)

– aluminium is also highly dangerous (it is even linked to development of Alzheimer disease!!). I have pasted in the list below and article only about the danger of aluminium in cosmetic products

There are, of course, other harmful ingredients that you should pay attention to. These are the ones i find are the most often in European products, but of course the products we use vary on our taste and on the type of skin/hair we have. Be sure to check out the sources below and read more about the topic:

1. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/downloads/Dirty-dozen-backgrounder.pdf

2. http://www.healthfoodemporium.com/index_dangerous-ingredients.php

3. http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/natural-beauty-cosmetics/toxic-beauty-products

4. http://chemistry.about.com/od/healthsafety/tp/toxic-chemicals-in-cosmetics.htm

5. http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/dangerous-ingredients-in-cosmetics#3

6. http://ansm.sante.fr/var/ansm_site/storage/original/application/bfd7283f781cd5ce7d59c151c714ba32.pdf

7. http://www.safecosmetics.org/

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