A recipe for disaster. From great skin to luxurious hair, the beauty products you’re using may contain not so pretty chemicals for your skin. Abc 4 news talks with a dermatologist to break down the biggest culprits and keep you safe.
1. DEA – affects fetus development
DEA (Diethanolamine), is a substance used to produce ingredients that add foaminess and creaminess to shampoos, body washes, bubble baths and waterless hand cleaners. A DEA offshoot – Cocamide DEA – is an allergen that can be irritating to the skin and associated with contact dermatitis.
The biggest DEA-related concern, according to dermatologists, is its potential harm to fetuses. One animal study done on mice showed that the ingredient could damage the developing brain and memory by blocking the absorption of the B vitamin Choline during infant development. The best substitute is coconut oil.
2. Parabens - may cause breast cancer
Parabens are a preservative in personal-care products. They prevent the growth of microbial organisms and is found in shampoos, moisturizers, shaving gels, makeup and many other items.
According to dermatologists, The biggest concern is that parabens might mimic the hormone estrogen which has been tied to certain types of breast cancers. One study in 2004 found them in human breast tumors. Researchers aren’t sure how the parabens got into the tumors or whether they caused the tumors to appear. Try using citrus seed extract or antioxidants like vitamin E.
3. Triclosan - may cause hormone disruption and antibiotic resistance
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal ingredient found in many antibacterial soaps, gels, toothpastes and some cosmetics. Because of increased interest in keeping germ-free, especially during the cold and flu season, many consumers believe a product’s use of triclosan is an added benefit.
A study on a popular toothpaste containing triclosan was effective in preventing gingivitis, but animal studies have tied triclosan to hormone disruption. Dermatologists say the ingredient may even contribute to making bacteria antibiotic-resistant. The FDA is reviewing the safety and effectiveness of this ingredient. Dermatologists say just use regular soap and water.
4. Fragrance – can cause allergic reactions/migranes/asthma
In addition to making products smell desirable, fragrance can even mask or conceal the odor of certain unpleasant-smelling ingredients.
Added fragrance can cause allergic reactions, migraines and asthma symptoms in chemically sensitive people. Over longer periods of time, research has shown some added fragrances may be hormone disruptors because the body cannot eliminate them.
Nothing beats good body hygiene. Wash sweaty areas thoroughly, he says, so that you don’t need perfumed products to make you smell better. Go fragrance free.
5. Mercury – can cause kidney, vision, hearing, nervous & immune system damage
Mercury, a highly toxic substance, used to be a staple in many mascaras serving as both a preservative and a way to kill mites that could burrow in women’s eyelashes. Now it’s also used as an ingredient in skin lightening products sold over seas and online – ones that promise to eradicate age spots or freckles.
Mercury can damage the kidneys, vision and hearing, and cause harm to the nervous and immune system over time.