The toxic ingredients hiding in your beauty products.

You’ve heard by now that there’s probably chemicals in your everyday personal products. On one hand, it seems a little dramatic when people say your soap can cause cancer. On the other hand, there’s been a real paradigm shift with the rise of better beauty products. Obviously, something’s going on. 

When your go-to beauty supply store sections off a corner of their platform and calls it the clean department, you start to get it. Natural beauty is here to stay. Then you start getting curious about what’s so bad in those other products on the non-…natural shelves. Those are the dirty products. And a large party of the products that claim to be natural are still dirty. Yes, most products on all shelves are dirty. WARNING: there are NO rules or regulations for the term “natural”. Anyone can slap it on their label next to a couple of leaves and have you feeling like you made a healthy choice. 

There are literally thousands of toxic ingredients that fill the bottles, compacts, tubes, etc. that we’ve been trusting for decades. That’s because the FDA does not regulate the ingredients that go into our beauty products. They haven't been very strict about labeling either. Seriously, they haven’t updated the rules on beauty products in over 80 years. In the United States, there are only 11 toxic ingredients that are banned while there's over 1,300 banned in the EU. 

The wellness trend has been going strong since 2008 yet our government is still in the last century when it comes to natural beauty products. Until they get with the times, we have to take it upon ourselves to regulate the beauty industry by investigating natural beauty products. It’s an extra step, I know. But when you think of how convenient other areas of our lives have become, it kind of balances itself out. Plus, if you’re a beauty junkie, makeup addict, wellness lover or you’re a mom, sister, and so-on, exploring natural beauty products is fun! You’ll be able to gift all our besties healthy beauty products that will help them make the switch too! 

We are making efforts to petition the government to change legislation. The FDA needs to update regulations and tighten rules on what is allowed in personal care products. Until that happens, we’re left to our own devices. Unfortunately, in the meantime, many products that call themselves natural are still going to continue being dirty. Making matters worse, the rising popularity of natural products has new brands making false claims and existing brands coming out with so-called cleaner products that are still chemical laden. 

If we stop buying conventional products with hidden harmful chemicals, we will begin deterring their production. As of right now, the best way to change the overwhelming presence of toxic products is to encourage purely nontoxic beauty brands and make the switch to clean cosmetics. It seems a little dramatic, but studies have shown the health risks are very real. For your vitality and for the health of your loved ones, choose clean cosmetics. 

We’ve included a list of our never-ever use ingredients. These chemicals are commonly found in conventional products and can be sneaky when brands don't list everything on the label. Watch out for these icky-toxins next time your shopping. 

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. Found in nail polishes, hair sprays, and fragrances. Watch out for Diethyl phthalate (DEP) commonly used in fragrance. Potential endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer. 

Parabens are used as preservatives to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria in cosmetics. Parabens mimic estrogen, which links this family of chemicals to breast cancer, skin cancer, and decreased sperm count. Whatch out for any ingredients that end with -paraben. 

Formaldehyde-releasers used as preservatives or to kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms. Watch out for dibutyl phthalate, toluene, methylene glycol, propylene glycol, quaternium-15, and Diazolidinyl urea. They work by slowly releasing small amounts of formaldehyde into your products. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen. The other toxic ingredients have been linked to birth defects, endocrine disruption, headaches, and respiratory problems. 

Hydroquinone is used in cosmetics as an antioxidant, fragrance ingredient and an oxidizing agent. It’s considered an over-the-counter drug when used to lighten dark spots. Risks include cancer, organ-system toxicity, and respiratory tract irritation. This skin-bleaching ingredient has been illegally imported to be used in lighteners and can cause disfiguring and irreversible skin lesions. 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS has been known to cause skin irritation, disruptions of the skin’s natural eye balance, damage to the eyes, and a major contributor to acne around the mouth and chin area. When something says no-sulfates, that's good. But they may just be using that to deter you from looking at the other chemicals inside the bottle. 

BHA or butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is considered unsafe in the EU as a carcinogen that can cause skin depigmentation. In animal studies, the chemical has caused liver damage and stomach cancer. BHA also interferes with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels. Watch out for these toxins in exfoliants and perfumes. 

Triclosan and triclocarban became widely used with the popularity of antibacterial products. These chemicals, commonly found in soaps and deodorants, have been linked to hormonal disruptions, bacterial resistance, impaired muscle function, impaired immune function, and worsened allergies. There are plenty of natural antiseptics, like tea tree oil that can be used instead. 

Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine is coal tar, which comes from processing coal. Obviously a carcinogen. Mostly banned in the EU, these ingredients are still commonly found in specialty products like dandruff shampoos. 

Polyethylene/PEGs are the tiny plastic beads found in scrubs and exfoliating products. They are often contaminated with 4-dioxane, which is a probable carcinogen that can easily penetrate the skin. These beads are not filtered by our sewage system, meaning they can collect pollutants and travel into waterways. Ultimately, poisoning marine life. 

Retinyl palmitate, retinol acetate, retinoid acid and retinol you’ve probably heard of in reference to anti-aging. What many don't know, is that retinol products have the opposite effect when exposed to sunlight. Retinol must strictly be used at night and with extra sun protection during the day. Watch out for sunscreens with retinol-derived ingredients or Vitamin A as these ingredients can cause skin lesions. 

Petroleum is frequently found in mascara and lip or balm type products. These products can cause dermatitis as they are often contaminated with cancer-causing toxins. Petroleum is produced in the same oil refineries as automobile fuel, what’s in your lip salve may be the same stuff our cars run on. 

Oxybenzone is the chemical that’s making your sunscreen really bad. Now outlawed in Hawaii and better replaced with sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Oxybenzone has a chemical reaction with your skin and the environment and has been proven to disrupt the hormone system by mimicking estrogen. It has been linked to altered sperm count and endometriosis. Plus, it pollutes the oceans and harms marine life. 

Fragrance and Dyesprobably the most common toxins lurking in the majority of beauty products. There is no law that requires brands to list the components of the fragrance mixture or colorants on the ingredient list. When it simply says fragrance, there could be dozens of chemicals known to cause hormone disruption or serious allergies in the mix. Same goes for FD&C colors and artificial dyes you would never know were in there. Brands that list the components of the fragrance or color like (Sweet Orange Essential Oil or Yellow 10 (47005)) you rock and we love you. 

Also on the Island Time Blog

Bakuchiol vs. Retinol
Bakuchiol vs Retinol

Meet: Bakuchiol. The friendlier alternative to retinol that's here to stay. It's natural, it's non-irritating and it's here to give you smoother skin.

Dive Deeper

8 ways to use tropical melt
8 ways to use tropical melt

There's literally countless ways to use this natural cleansing balm. While we continue to find more ways to love to this multi-tasker, here are our some of our top favorite ways to melt into silky smoothness.

Dive Deeper

Tan Tips & Tricks
Tan Tips

Seafoam Glow will change the way you see self-tanning. So load up on that SPF, baby. You'll already have the perfect back-from-the-beach glow. 

Dive Deeper