This ingredient helps make shampoo or conditioner creamy or sudsy and can be found in products like facial cleansers, shampoos, soaps and moisturizers. In the short term, DEA can cause moderate skin and eye irritation, however regular exposure has been linked to liver, skin, and thyroid cancers.
Look for ingredients like methenamine, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. These preservatives are used to increase the shelf life hair care products and they work by continuously releasing small amounts of formaldehyde – a known human carcinogen.
An estimated 75-90% of body care products contain parabens, making them the most widely used preservative in makeup, skincare and hair care products. The ingredient has been linked to increased skin aging, hormonal disruptions, breast cancer, and DNA damage.
Fragrance or Parfum
About 3,000 different ingredients are used in fragrances, though these will show up as one word on ingredient lists – “parfum” or “fragrance”. Used in more than just perfumes, these smell-enhancing substances can be found in almost every type of cosmetic product. Many unlisted ingredients in fragrances
have been linked to health problems like asthma, allergies, and even cancer.
PEG compounds are used as thickeners, solvents and moisture-carriers. Depending on how they are manufactured, these ingredients can get contaminated with carcinogenic substances like ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. Even when not contaminated, PEG compounds have been shown to cause skin irritation.
Petrolatum is a petroleum jelly that is used in hair products to add shine. The ingredient is often contaminated with PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), a known carcinogen, and can cause skin irritation and allergies in smaller doses.
Ingredients ending in “-methicone” or “-siloxane”, which are found most commonly in hair products and deodorants, have been found to impair fertility and cause hormonal disruptions.
SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
This is a foaming agent found in shampoo. Many commercial varieties are contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane – known carcinogens.
A recent study by the David Suzuki Foundation found that roughly 80%
of cosmetic products owned by surveyed individuals contained at least one of the ingredients on the “dirty dozen” list.
It can be hard to find products without these ingredients, luckily there are apps
for checking ingredients.
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