Big Bad Beauty – 7 ingredients to avoid

6 Common ingredients in your daily skincare products to avoid – by René

I must confess, there was a time that I enjoyed not knowing all that I know now! But as they say, ignorance is bliss… And it wasn’t until my ignorance caught up with me that I started to wonder if I was making good choices for my health.
In 2015, after receiving an unexpected diagnosis, I began doing a lot of research. Every product in my home was put under my research magnifying glass. Sugar. Air freshener. Shampoo. I’m sure you get the picture.

To my shock, I realised that most of the product ingredients I was using on my skin were completely synthetic and quite harmful. So I asked myself, “How much of these harmful ingredients find their way into my bloodstream?” The answer I found, is that our skin absorbs between 60-80% of what we put on it. That is an extremely high percentage considering that those were products I certainly didn’t use for their internal “benefits”. Or side effects.
Most of the ingredients I couldn’t pronounce, and didn’t know the origin of! The labels left only a big question mark in my mind. But seek and ye shall find.
We searched for truth, and solutions, in this crossroad we faced, and we found simplicity and peace in the natural design of our Creator! He is good, and He wants to bless us with life in abundance. Within the wisdom of His design, we found freedom. And this is what we want to share with everyone!
For myself, it helped to identify what needed to be removed first. These ingredients are common in our skincare, make-up, shampoos and conditoners. So with the help of a few naturally-minded folks (see references below), here is a simple summary:

1. Parabens
Parabens are a whole family of chemicals (methylparabens, propylparabens, butylparabens, and ethylparabens) that help preserve shelf-life of products.
Parabens can mimic estrogen in the body disrupting our delicate hormonal balance.

2. Phthalates (I still don’t know how this is pronounced!)
Phthalates group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics in cosmetics. This helps products stick to our skin.
Phthalates can be dangerous to children, and several have been banned for use, but it’s best to avoid them all together as they can disrupt endocrine function.

3. Fragrance
When I see this in an ingredient list, I think, “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. “Fragrance” is an innocent enough word, but it is actually the header of a massive list of ingredients that allows companies to not have to be completely transparent with their ingredient list. These non-disclosed items are in almost EVERY product in the general market, not only in beauty and skincare. “Fragrance” normally refers to synthetically formulated scents in all kinds of beauty products.

Fragrance ingredients consist of chemicals that can cause allergies, hormone disruption, and can lead to big health problems including reproductive issues and infertility.

4. Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) was first used as an engine degreaser in World War II because the chemical was abrasive and corrosive enough to remove the toughest oils and soot.
SLS is present in nearly all commercial shampoos, scalp treatments, hair color and bleaching agents, toothpastes, body washes and cleaners, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents, and bath oils/salts.

5. Heavy metals, such as Lead, Aluminum and Mercury
Often found in make-up and deodorant, heavy metals cause damage to many different cell types. The neurotoxic effects are likely the most heard of.
Lead, for instance, can cause behavioral and learning problems. It’s already been removed from products such as paint, but is still present in many of the things we’re putting on our skin.
It is best to avoid these in commercial products.

Note: there is a naturally occurring mineral, Alum, which is sometimes an ingredient in products and is currently not known to be harmful.

6. Formaldehyde (also known as Formalin)

This product I know well from my days in the animal medicine industry…from what I understand, it is added to samples of tissue to preserve it, as it kills all the processes that would cause it to decay.
It can, however, contribute to cancer, asthma and allergic reactions.

I truly hope this list has answered some of your questions! And I can’t wait to share all the benefits of ingredients made by our Creator.

Blessings, and shalom.


Sources & credits:

7. Aluminium

Extra reading: Why to avoid Aluminium in skincare products:

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