When was the last time you looked at the ingredients list of your skincare products?
Do names like parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, triclosan and sodium laureth sulfate sound familiar?
Behind the pretty packaging of a skincare product often lies ingredients that are far less pretty.
All the above chemicals are either found to be toxic ingredients, suspected cancerous ingredients or harmful irritants. Ingredients, like parabens, has been linked to breast cancer (as they mimic cancer cells when absorbed by the skin into the bloodstream), while diethyl phthalates are linked to hormone disruption and reproductive problems. Others, like triclosan (a widely used antibacterial ingredient) has been found to produce chlorofoam when exposed to chlorinated water(e.g tap water), a highly toxic and plausibly carcinogenic ingredient.
Yet why are such ingredients still so widely used?
One main reason is the lack of rules and regulation for the cosmetic industry. Companies are allowed to use any chemicals they desire unless it has been proven they are detrimental to health by the authorities. This problem is further compounded by industry officials shrugging at the use of these ingredients, using the claim that small amounts should pose no health risk.
Ironically, the greatest issue here is the sustained use of these “small amounts” of ingredients. Women on average slather on 12 different skincare products a day while men use 6. In the long run, this will only cause toxic exposure to accumulate and may end up as a significant health risk.
So, the next time you pick up a new skincare product, it wouldn’t hurt to check the ingredients before making that purchase.