It may be hard to believe, but toxins are all over the “health” and beauty industry. Yes, the products you use to make your skin feel smooth and silky, your hair lush and shiny, your body smell fresh and sweet, and your nails strong and colorful likely contain toxics that are slowly absorbing in your body. If isolated in a few sporadic uses, they may not be cause for concern. But combined they accumulate in your body and can have horribly damaging health effects.
While federal regulations may not restrict the use of certain toxins in skincare and personal care items (even food), individual studies prove many of them can be harmful when consumed or absorbed into skin. At Natura Veda, we’ve identified 12 of the most toxic ingredients to avoid in beauty and skincare products. Obviously we don’t use them in our all-natural skincare line and we hope you will make a conscious effort to avoid them in your beauty routines as well.
Ironically, toxic ingredients found in skincare products can be damaging to skin. They can cause itchiness, dryness, irritation, rashes, burns, breakouts and allergies. But remember, the effects of these poisonous toxins are devastating to the entire body, not just the skin for which they are meant. The potential risks of these toxins include cancer, organ toxicity, overall sluggishness, impaired cognition, birth defects, behavioral issues, reproductive problems and infertility, among others. And because we cannot know how much toxins we’re getting due to the bombardment in hundreds of products we may use every day, these should be avoided wherever possible.
We understand that navigating healthy skincare can be difficult. Reading labels is an important step in protecting ourselves from toxicity. You don’t have to be scientist to know at least the top 12 toxic and carcinogenic ingredients in order to make smart purchasing decisions. Additionally, there are some general rules you can follow to reduce your risk of toxic consumption and absorption:
Go Natural and Organic whenever possible. The more pure ingredients you can use, the better. You’ll reduce your personal toxic footprint and slowly allow your body to detox. Plus, you’ll benefit from wholesome ingredients that will have better results for your skin and body in the long run. (Hint: look no further than Natura Veda’s all-natural line of skincare products!)
Cosmetics often contain poisonous heavy metals. Over time, heavy metal poisoning can stress the body, leading to a number of diseases and illnesses. Many cosmetics include an endless list of toxic ingredients. For example, many lipsticks contain lead. Our advice: work to repair and refresh skin so you are comfortable with a natural look. When you feel makeup is necessary, opt for mineral makeup that is less toxic.
Fragrance Free is best. Everyone loves a sweet, fresh scent but when fragrances are added to products meant for skin, they usually have phthalates known to cause reproductive issues for males and females, as well as liver and kidney damage. Natural products usually have an herbal aroma that can be just as appealing.
Color is usually not bright. We’re told to eat the rainbow for good health, but the same is not true for skincare and other personal care items. Usually, when a product is an interesting color, it contains F&D pigment or coal tar. That certainly includes hair dyes and nail polishes, as well as cosmetics, shampoos and lip balms.
Hand Sanitizers sans alcohol please. Most hands sanitizers on the market are alcoholic, but some are now alcohol-reduced or alcohol free.
Sunlight deactivates or interacts with some skincare products. Be aware of when you use certain products. Those with Vitamin A derivatives retinyl, retonic acid or retinol should be avoided during the day as they may react negative to sunlight.
Never use sunscreen over SPF 50. While in theory they seem more protective, they are usually improperly balanced to protect against UV-A and UV-B rays and are often misused. Instead, stick with SPF 15 to 50 and reapply often. Also, be smart by wearing protective clothing, hats, staying in the shade and not getting too much sun exposure.
Powders are double negatives. Powders such as baby powder or loose makeup powder is a double whammy because it is absorbed in skin but also airborne, which can damage the lungs and entire respiratory system.
Avoid chemical skin lighteners and hair straighteners. These treatments use harsh chemicals to make mega changes to defy our natural color and shape. Skin lighteners can contain mercury and may cause irreparable skin lesions. Hair straighteners are also unsafe, especially those with keratin.
Keep these tips in mind as you set out on your mission to reduce toxins in your daily life. It takes a little effort but is well worth it for your ultimate health and wellbeing.