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12.08.2015

A Woman On A Mission

(Illustration by Lucia Emanuela Curzi)

Because I am a woman on a mission, I challenged a friend to download the Think Dirty app and scan the products she was using at home. 

"Everything I use is toxic," she told me with a hint of resignation in her tone. "I don't even know where to start!" 

And I get it. I was that person a year ago, overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead of me. I loved the shampoo I was using before I realized it was full of nasty ingredients, and it took me years to find that perfect shade of foundation. Going green meant that I would have to start all over again, and I didn't know then if it would be worth the time and money.

In my previous post I had shared that the best way for me was educating myself on different ingredients and reading the labels on everything I buy.

I have decided to highlight the top 8 dirty ingredients in today's post for those who are not familiar, but if you already are a green beauty maven please feel free to skip this article or forward it to a family or friend!

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I think it's a good start. Here it is in alphabetical order:

1. 1,4-dioxane (PG, PEG etc.)

Also known as: PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene and ingredients ending in "eth" or "oxynol".

Found in: A staggering 46% of personal care products and 67% of children's bath products.

Danger: Readily absorbed into the skin and a known carcinogen (cancer-causing) linked to tumors of the liver, gallbladder, nasal cavity, lung, skin, and breasts.

2. Ethanolomine Compounds (DEA, TEA, MEA etc.)

Also known as: Triethanolamine, diethanolamine, DEA, TEA, cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide DEA, linoleamide MEA, myristamide DEA, oleamide DEA, stearamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate.

Found in: Soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners and dyes, shaving creams, household cleaning products, cosmetics, sunscreen and more.

Danger: Banned in cosmetics in the EU but not the US- causes liver cancer and kidney tumors in lab rats. DEA has also been found to affect male reproductive health and memory function and brain development in babies when mothers are exposed.

3. Formaldehyde

Also known as: DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol), 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, hydroxymethylglycinate

Found in: Nail polish, antiperspirant, makeup, keratin hair treatments, hair dye and the like.

Danger: Toxic over concentrations of 0.2 percent and a known carcinogen linked to nasal, stomach and gastrointestinal cancer and leukemia. Also causes immune-system toxicity, liver problems and is an irritant and allergen.

4. Fragrance

Also known as: perfume, parfum.

Found in: Almost everything you use like perfume, makeup, deodorant, skincare and haircare.

Danger: Cause the breakdown of collagen and get in the way of skin's ability to fight environmental damage and heal, often masks the presence of hormone-disrupting phthalates.

5. Parabens 

Also known as: methyl/ethyl/butyl/isobutyl/propyl paraben, also hydroxybenzoic acid or hydroxybenzoate or ester.

Found in: Almost everything on the shelves, because it is a cheap and effective way to extend the shelf life of products

Danger: Known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Also linked to immunological, neurological and skin irritation problems.

6. Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP etc.) 

Also known as: Anything with "phthalate" in it, also DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP, dibutyl/diethyl ester, 1,2-benzenedicarboxylate. Unlisted when present in fragance.

Found in: Almost everything on the shelves, because it is a cheap and effective way to extend the shelf life of products.

Danger: Known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Also linked to immunological, neurological and skin irritation problems.

7. Sodium Laureth Sulfare and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLES and SLS) 

Also known as: sodium dodecyl sulfate, sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium sulfate/salt, PEG lauryl sulfate etc.

Found in: Cleansing products, toothpaste, fash wash, creams and lotions, as they contribute foaming and lathering properties.

Danger: SLS can irritate skin and eyes while SLES is often contaminated by 1,4-dioxane (see number 1) which causes cancer. Hazardous to marine life.

8. Triclosan (and its cousin triclocarbon)

Also known as: DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum, Ultra-Fresh, Irgasan, Irgacare, Viv-20, and Microban

Found in: Toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, deodorant, over-the-counter medications, cosmetics and hand creams, as it is an antibacterial agent and preservative. 

Danger: Liver and inhalation toxicity, weakening of immune system, birth defects and can disrupt thyroid function even at low levels. Very toxic to marine life.

It will take some time to familiarize yourself with the ingredients, but I promise it will get easier with time.

I am always wary of companies who do not disclose their ingredients list, and what I have done over time is create my own list of brands and companies that I know I can trust and support their businesses. 

P/S: This article was written for all the women in my life 


I am happy to answer any questions you may have about transitioning to green beauty - you can email me at tricia [at] nihaonewyork [dot] net or leave a comment below!


2 comments

  1. Hi Tricia!
    thanks for all the tips and all, so sad that OLO doesn't ship to SG! :(


    Ruth aka burstsofjoy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, shame! Let me check for you if there are any stockists that ship internationally :)

      Delete

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