Cosmetic Toxins in the Female Body & How to Detox from Them
According to research conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), US women on average use 12 personal care products that contain 168 chemicals, on a daily basis.
Continued chemical exposure to toxins in skin care products can have consequences, especially when they are part of a daily routine for a lifetime. Examining samples of blood and urine from more than 31,000 women, a group of investigators measured the levels of 111 synthetic chemicals generally found in plastics, personal care and cleaning products.
All study participants presented higher of the following toxins in their bodies:
- Dioxins/furans (industrial combustion byproducts);
- Phytoestrogens (plant-derived estrogens);
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, coolants);
- Phenolic derivatives (phenols, industrial pollutants);
- Organophosphate pesticides;
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (combustion products)
Women who had higher levels of these chemicals experienced menopause up to four years earlier than women with lower levels. Particularly nine of the identified PCBs, three pesticides, two phthalates and one type of furan were associated with early menopause and ovarian function problems. Alarming? Yes.
We’re often misled by the “100% natural ingredients” note on skin care product labels. How safe are they to use and how natural? Most of the products on the market today contain toxic chemicals that get in our bodies and increase toxic build-up of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules which naturally form on the skin. Free radicals attack collagen in the dermis layer of skin and cause inflammation.
Ingredients in Skin Care Products to Be Avoided and Why
Other toxic compounds widely used in skin care and skin-firming creams are:
- Diazolidinyl urea (Formaldehyde) – used in skin care products and in the food industry due to its preserving properties. The major concern around this chemical is that it releases formaldehyde, the substance thatmorticians use to “preserve” dead bodies. Formaldehyde was found to be a skin toxicant and allergen.
- Propylene glycol – commonly found in skin care products due to its “skin conditioning” qualities. MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) report that this chemical is inflammatory and causes urticaria (hives) and dermatitis.
- Disodium EDTA – is a typical “penetration enhancer” forcing other chemicals into the skin and in the blood stream. It can cause rashes, allergies, asthma, mucous membrane irritation, numbness, headache, toxic skin and mucous membrane reactions.
- Petrolatum – known by many other names such as petroleum, mineral oil, toluene, it has been associated with skin cancer risks.
- 1.4 dioxane – EWG identified this extremely toxic petroleum byproduct in 43% of the body-firming lotions and 36% of the facial moisturizers. Alarmingly it is notorious for its carcinogen capacities. It is often listed as “PEG”, “xynol”, “ceteareth” or “oleth”.
- Parabens are other poisonous substances contained in our beautifying creams – listed as Methyl, Ethyl, Propyl and Butyl Paraben, these are preservatives that are meant to prolong the shelf life of products. Extensively used in moisturizers, scientific research has linked these chemicals to cancer. Methyl paraben is particularly toxic for releasing methanol. Parabens have also been associated with hormonal disfunctions, skin rash and breast cancer.
Most of the skin care and skin-firming products containing these toxic ingredients have been banned in Europe. What happens in the US? What does FDA do? While marketers continue to sell such products unbothered and thrive, FDA sit back and watch us poison ourselves simply because their “authority over cosmetics” is different from that over other products they regulate. Specifically, they only take action if a product is considered damaging, misbranded or adulterated. Moreover, according to FDA website cosmetic companies are not bound by law to share their product safety information with the FDA. Meanwhile, until regulators move in the desired direction, read carefully the labels of the products you intend to buy and refrain from using any that contain one or more of the substances listed above.