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12 evil ingredients existing in many cosmetics

Some of the ingredients in beauty products aren’t that pretty. U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.


David Suzuki Foundation surveyed Canadians to see how many of the “Dirty Dozen” ingredients below appeared in their cosmetics, and their findings show that 80 per cent of entered products contained at least one of these toxic chemicals.


Founded in 1990, the David Suzuki Foundation is a national, bilingual non-profit organization headquartered in Vancouver, with offices in Toronto and Montreal. Through evidence-based research, education and policy analysis the foundation works to conserve and protect the natural environment.




Now get ready to check the ingredients of your favorite cosmetic and see the list :


Dirty Dozen: 12 Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics

(David Suzuki foundation)


1. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluen)

Found in lipsticks and moisturizers, among other types of cosmetics, BHA and BHT are classified as possible carcinogens. Long-term exposure to these ingredients has been linked to liver, thyroid, and kidney problems.


2. Coal Tar Dyes

On ingredients lists, these will show up as “P-phenylenediamine” or “CI” followed by a number. P-phenylenediamine is a coal tar dye found in hair dyes, while CI (or Color Index) numbers are used to identify coal tar dyes in a variety of pigmented cosmetics like lipstick. Derived from petroleum and composed of many different chemicals, coal tar dyes are recognized as a human carcinogen and have been linked to brain damage.


3. DEA (Diethanolamine)

This ingredient helps make cosmetic products creamy or sudsy and can be found in products like facial cleansers, shampoos, soaps and moisturizers. In the short term, DEA can cause moderate skin and eye irritation, while sustained exposure has been linked to liver, skin, and thyroid cancers.


4. DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate)

Dibutyl phthalate is a plasticizer commonly used to prevent nail polish from becoming brittle. Consistent use of DBP has been linked to hormonal disruptions and developmental defects in fetuses, as well as liver and kidney failure.


5. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives

Look for ingredients like DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. These preservatives are used to increase the shelf life of a variety of cosmetics and they work by continuously releasing small amounts of formaldehyde – a known human carcinogen.


6. Parabens

An estimated 75-90% of cosmetics contain parabens, making them the most widely used preservative in makeup and skincare products. The ingredient has been linked to hormonal disruptions, breast cancer, increased skin aging, and DNA damage.


7. Parfum (or Fragrance)

About 3,000 different ingredients are used in fragrances, though these will show up as one word on ingredient lists – “fragrance” or “parfum”. Used in more than just perfumes, these smellenhancing substances can be found in almost every type of cosmetic product. Many unlisted ingredients in fragrances have been linked to health problems like asthma, allergies, and even cancer.


8. PEG Compounds

Common in cream-based cosmetics, PEG compounds are used as thickeners, solvents and moisture-carriers. Depending on how they are manufactured, these ingredients can get contaminated with carcinogenic substances like ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. Even when not contaminated, PEG compounds have been shown to cause skin irritation.


9. Petrolatum

Petrolatum is a petroleum jelly that is used in hair products to add shine and in lip balms, lip sticks, and moisturizers as a moisture barrier. The ingredient is often contaminated with PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), a known carcinogen, and can cause skin irritation and allergies in smaller doses.


10. Siloxanes

Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone”, which are found most commonly in hair products and deodorants. Many of these ingredients have been found to impair fertility and cause hormonal disruptions.


11. SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)

This foaming agent can be found in cosmetics like cleansers, bubble bath, and shampoo. Many commercial varieties are contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane – known carcinogens.


12. Triclosan

This ingredient is found in antibacterial cosmetics like deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers. The ingredient is said to cause skin and eye irritations in the short run, and conditions like antibiotic resistance and hormonal disruptions with sustained use.

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