Sign up for our Free monthly newsletter \\ articles \ Top Ten Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients
skin health
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Imidazolidinyl Urea & DMDM Hydantoin Propylene Glycol (PG)
Mineral Oil Triclosan Isopropyl Alcohol
Synthetic Fragrances DEA, TEA, & MEA
Phthalates FD&C Color Pigments

Whats in Your Cosmetics?

As a consumer, you must be on the look out for chemicals and toxic ingredients that may be injurious to your skin and your body. You would not even consider eating products that contained chemicals or cancer causing agents, so don’t let these toxins cross the threshold and enter your system through your beauty product either!

Insignificant amounts of research are available to provide evidence of the safety or health risks of low-dose repeated exposures to chemical combinations like those in personal care products, but let’s get one thing straight—the absence of data should never, never be mistaken for confirmation of safety.

The more we investigate low dose contact with these products, the more we comprehend that they can cause adverse effects ranging from the subtle and reversible, to effects that are more critical and permanent. On the whole, our research of product safety reveals a cause for concern.

Interestingly enough, 450 ingredients that are used in this country are banned for use in cosmetics in the European Union by the industry. The dictatorial vacuum in the United States gives cosmetic companies enormous leeway in selecting ingredients, while it shifts potentially considerable and unnecessary health risks to the users of the products.

Cosmetics and personal care products are promoted based on the quality and ingredients of their formulas. Numerous products allege to be filled with expensive vitamins, oils, and perfumes. Others profess to use an all-natural formula. How can you be certain that the products you purchase contain the ingredients they claim to have or that they are safe? Read the label? Guess again! Unless you happen to be a scientist or a chemist, the ingredient list on the majority of cosmetic and personal care products will look like a laundry list of monotonous, tongue twisting names that make no sense at all. If you want to educate yourself, there are several books that will really bring you up to speed on what is in your personal care products. One would be, Dangerous Beauty, by Mark Fearer; and the other is called, Drop Dead Gorgeous, by Kim Erickson. Additionally, there are many groups that are pushing for safe products such as

Why should you have reservations about the safety of ingredients in body care products that you spread over your body and hair? There are many reasons, yet here is the most compelling one:

Hongran Fan and her coworkers at the Veteran Affairs Palo Alto (Calif.) Health Care System and Stanford University School of Medicine planned to demonstrate the effectiveness of intramuscular gene injections by comparing them with simply dripping a DNA vaccine solution onto the skin of mice. Well, they discovered that it was possible to distribute the vaccine through the hair follicles on unbroken skin.

So, if you can absorb an effectual prescribed amount of a vaccine simply by having it come in contact with your skin, how much of the toxic ingredients that are in your personal care products are you absorbing through your skin? Think about it—you are literally bombarding your tissues, your organs and your brain with man-made chemicals and their processing residues!

Link to study

Always question and investigate chemical ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Shun phony “organic” and “natural” body care products that are filled with, “derived from” synthetic chemicals. Support the companies that actually create non-chemical, true organic products that are considered safe and don’t need to be tested on animals (for obvious reasons). You really can make a difference for you, the environment and your loved ones.

Here are what we believe to be the top ten offenders in cosmetic products:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

These are used as detergents and surfactants (an agent such as a detergent or a drug that reduces the surface tension of liquids so that the liquid spreads out, rather than collecting in droplets) and are found in soaps at car washes, cleaners for your garage floors and engine degreasers. Both SLS and SLES are utilized more extensively as one of the major ingredients in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioners and about 90% of all shampoos and products that produce suds.

We spent approximately 7-8 hours searching the internet, books and any other research we could get our hands on in regard to sodium lauryl sulfate and laureth sulfate. We read all the sites that quoted a study done by the Georgia Medical College which would scare the heck out of anyone who read it, and one report by the American College of Toxicology. Before we take someone’s word for the detrimental effects of a substance, we wanted to see some real scientific proof. Upon further investigation, we discovered that the researcher who did the study at the Georgia Medical College refuted the statements as being, “taken out of context.” sodium laureth sulfate

Having said all that, we did find the following information. According to the Department of Oral Surgery and Oral Medicine, Dental Faculty, University of Oslo, Norway,

“The aim of the present clinical double-blind crossover study was to investigate the effect of two different toothpaste detergents, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and cocoamidopropyl betaine (CAPB), as compared with a detergent-free paste, on 30 patients with frequent occurrences of recurrent aphthous ulcers. The study consisted of three 6-week periods during which the patients brushed twice daily with the different test toothpastes. The localization and number of new ulcers were assessed. A significantly higher frequency of aphthous (mouth) ulcers was demonstrated when the patients brushed with a Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - than with a CAPB-containing or a detergent-free placebo paste. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate -free toothpaste may thus be recommended for patients with recurrent aphthous (mouth) ulcers.”

We also found that the Scorecard of the Environmental Defense Fund lists SLS as a suspected gastrointestinal and liver toxicant.

According to the FDA, when used in children’s bubble bath, these chemicals produce “risks” which “have been known for sometime”. Thus it is required by law to bear the following warning on the label:

Caution—Use only as directed. Excessive use or prolonged exposure may cause irritation to skin and urinary tract. Discontinue use if rash, redness, or itching occurs. Consult you physician if irritation persists. Keep out of reach of children.

Added resources suggest that the presence of SLS may allow other chemicals in a product to be absorbed more effortlessly. Since it is used as a surfactant to enhance the performance of other ingredients in cleaning products, it only stands to reason that SLS would heighten the absorption of other chemicals. During one search, a study materialized that showed SLS enhanced the absorption of carbaryl (Sevin) into the skin. An alternative study (Baynes, et al. 1996) implicated SLS in the absorption of benzidine, a bladder carcinogen.

Last but not least, we would like to say a few words in defense of coconut oil—the real deal, that is. Coconut oil has really received some bad publicity recently. If you read some of the labels out there that say, “sodium lauryl sulfate from coconut oil” or “triethanolamine from coconut oil”, you would obviously get mixed messages. Just for the record, none of those products come from coconut oil. They are synthetic products, produced completely by a chemical process, and contain petro-chemicals among other things. They are akin to coconut oil, but that is even stretching the truth. Let’s just say that they would like you to feel better about buying it, and leave it at that.

Bottom line: We won’t use it.


Site Map Legal Disclaimer Privacy Statement
Disclaimer: None of the above statements have been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the American Medical Association. The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider before using any herbal products.