Make up ingredients – what we need to know

More and more people check ingredients of their favourite cosmetics. We look for shampoos without SLS and moisturisers without mineral oils, but have you ever wondered what can you find in your make up?  Not checking what chemicals hide in your make up might counteract all the good ingredients in your natural skin care.

Silicons, PEGs, EDTa, mineral oils, these and many other ingredients we rub into our skin daily. Sometimes we even leave them on over night. They cause allergies, irritate our skin or clog our pores. Some ingredients even though they don’t have any negative shot term effects they might contribute to developing serious illnesses including different types of cancer.

When checking the ingredient lists, we should pay attention to the order they are listed in. Ingredients are listed in a descending order, from the highest percentage ingredient to the lowest. Ingredients, especially when it comes to make up products are listed using very small font. The ingredient list is very long and consists of hard to pronounce names. In most cases you will need a magnifying glass to read them ;-).  All the companies comply with INCI standards, which sets standards for ingredient naming conventions.

INCI standards for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. The INCI system was established in the early 1970’s by the Personal Care Products Council. The list is maintained by the Personal Care Products Council. With few exceptions, the INCI labeling names in all countries are the same.

What to avoid

Parabens – (Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben)

Found in: makeup, moisturiser, shaving gel, shampoo, personal lubricant and spray tan products

Several studies link parabens, which mimic estrogen, to breast cancer, skin cancer and decreased sperm count, but has not ruled that it is harmful.

According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutylparabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders.

Look for ingredients with the suffix “-paraben” as well—paraben-free products will be labeled as such.

Petroleum distillates

Found in: mascara

Petroleum-extracted cosmetics ingredients may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities. They are produced in oil refineries at the same time as automobile fuel, heating oil and chemical feedstocks.

Synthetic Colors

If you take a look at your product label and notice FD&C or D&C, they represent artificial colors. F — representing food and D&C representing drug and cosmetics. These letters precede a color and number (e.g., D&C Red 27 or FD&C blue 1). These synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. Synthetic colors are suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant and are linked to ADHD in children. The European Classification and Labeling considers it a human carcinogen and the European Union has banned it.

SLS Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

Found in: shower gels, shampoos, face cleansers.

SLS was originally used in industrial degreasers now is widely used in products that need to lather and remove oil and dirt. It can irritate sensitive skin and is absorbed through the skin. It is not very harmful, but the amount of SLS absorbed through the skin accumulates over time, and the more we use products containing SLS the more chances we have to develop an allergic reaction.

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