Consumers looking to embrace a natural lifestyle are turning not only to organic food but also to organic beauty products. However, some find the standards for these products confusing and even misleading. The current Organic Certification system still allows some natural skin care products to be classed as “organic” even if they contain a percentage of chemical ingredients.
To avoid inadvertently damaging your skin and health, it is important to understand the composition of the organic beauty treats you use. Minimizing your exposure to harsh chemicals and using only natural ingredients will improve and protect your skin in the long-term.
Some common chemicals used in personal care products include:
Parabens such as isobutylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. Studies are ongoing to find indication of parabens’ carcinogenic properties and determine if their estrogen activity is more prevalent and harmful than the body’s own. The FDA does currently declare parabens to be safe for use.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) acts as a de-greaser, surfactant, and emulsifier, but can cause skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, and drying out of the skin.
Phthalates can adversely affect human reproduction and development with high exposure. Diphthalate (2-ethylhexyl) has been shown to have carcinogenic properties.
Propylene Glycol is derived from petrochemicals. It acts as an emulsifier but can accelerate the signs of aging and cause skin irritation and dermatitis.
Triethanolamine (TEA) is used to adjust the pH of cosmetic products. It is reported to cause allergic reactions, eye problems, and drying out of the skin and hair.
Diethanolamine (DEA) is a powerful chemical. Studies on mice have indicated that DEA may contribute to increased incidences of liver neoplasms and renal tubule adenoma. Research also suggests that brain development may be impaired by prenatal exposure to DEA.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a synthetic detergent, used as it causes relatively mild skin irritation. However, impurities created during the manufacturing process (amidoamine and dimethylaminopropylamine) can cause high-level sensitization.
Imidazolidinyl & Diazolidinyl Urea are preservatives used to activate formaldehyde in cosmetics. They may contribute to contact dermatitis, allergies, and increased skin sensitivity.
Synthetic Colors can cause skin irritation and allergies with prolonged use.
Artificial Fragrances such as hydroxyisohexyl-3-cyclohexene, carboxaldehyde, and isoeugenol can cause headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, and lung problems with prolonged exposure.
Mineral Oil is obtained from petroleum products. It can cause skin irritation and allergies, and block the skin’s pores, restricting nutrient movement and waste matter removal from cells. Studies on rats have shown that products containing mineral oil may even contribute to arthritis.