You know what makes me really angry? A wander down the supermarket cosmetics and skincare aisle (wasteful plastic packaging aside for a minute). Just picking up a product and flipping it over to see the list of 20 different unpronounceable chemical names makes me feel sick. You shouldn't need a chemistry degree to understand what is in your skincare, and products hide some pretty ugly toxic ingredients behind those names. Not to mention the blatant green-washing "now with Jojoba oil", (that's 0.5% Jojoba Oil in an otherwise synthetic chemical cocktail).
In the not too distant past, we used to be sold skincare which contained ammonia, arsenic and lead. It seems absurd to us now! Though, it doesn’t take much digging to uncover the list of thousands of toxic synthetic chemicals still going into our everyday skincare, many of which are known carcinogens. Our skin absorbs around 60% of what we put on it, so I wonder to myself, how is this even legal?
At The Physic Garden, we are on a mission to help you make better, natural choices. Read on to discover some the toxic ingredients to avoid in your skin and body care products...
Top 12 Toxins to Avoid
Parabens – Cosmetic preservatives
Parabens easily penetrate the skin, and act as hormone disruptors in both females and males. Parabens mimic estrogen, the female sex hormone, and have been found in breast cancer tissue. Methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage. Watch out for any ingredient ending in paraben for example, Methylparaben or Propylparaben.
Sodium laureth sulphate (SLS/SLES) – Foaming agent
Commonly found in shampoo, handwash and bubble bath. A skin and eye irritant which may be contaminated with ethylene oxide, a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane which may be carcinogenic. Ethylene Oxide can also harm the nervous system. 1,4-dioxane is an environmental pollutant, that doesn’t degrade easily and can remain in waterways long after it is rinsed down the drain.
Triclosan – Preservative and anti-bacterial agent
Found in toothpaste, deodorants and anti-bacterial products. Triclosan can pass through the skin, and is a known hormone disruptor. It is a skin and eye irritant, and is highly toxic to aquatic life, having long-term adverse consequences to the environment.
Dibutyl phthalate – Solvent and plasticiser
A hormone disruptor absorbed through the skin, commonly used in nail polishes and dyes. It has been shown to enhance the capacity of other chemicals to cause genetic mutations, and specifically, causing developmental defects in the testes and prostate leading to reduced sperm count. Phthalates are toxic to unborn babies, and may cause health effects such as liver and kidney failure in young children when products containing phthalates are sucked or chewed for extended periods.
DEA (Also MEA & TEA) – Foaming agent & pH adjuster.
Found in soaps, moisturisers, sunscreens, shampoos and cleansers as a foaming or cream making agent. Exposure to high doses have been linked to liver cancer, and pre-cancerous changes to the skin and thyroid gland. It is an environmental toxin and acutely toxic to aquatic organisms.
Formaldehyde – Cosmetic preservative
Used in nail polish, dyes and shampoos. An irritant to eyes, nose and throat which is toxic when inhaled and absorbed through the skin. It is classified as a human carcinogen.
Mineral Oil & Petrolatum – A skin barrier
A by-product of petroleum production often used in lip balms, baby products & moisturisers. Clogs skin pores and prevents toxins from being released. Can also be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are carcinogenic. Studies show that long-term skin exposure is associated with cancer.
Talc – Absorbs moisture
Found in baby products, powders, blush and deodorants. Some talc naturally contains asbestos which is linked to lung cancer. Talc has also been linked to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems.
Fragrance/Parfum – Scent
The name given to a host of over 3,000 chemicals including parabens and toluene. Manufacturers are not required to list the chemicals classified as Fragrances, as they are considered a trade secret. Mnay of these chemicals are known to trigger asthma, migraines, dizziness and allergies. Fragrance has been shown to trigger an asthma attack in 3 out of 4 asthmatics. Some research has shown that exposure to Fragrance may even contribute to the development of asthma in children.
BHA & BHT – Synthetic antioxidants
Make-up and cosmetic preservatives known to be endocrine disruptors and may be carcinogenic. Lab studies have shown it causes liver, thyroid and kidney problems and affecting lung function and blood coagulation in mice. It is an environmental pollutant and toxic to aquatic life.
Polyethelene Glycol (PEG) - stabiliser and enhances absorption
The glycols are used in many cosmetics, shampoos and body lotions. They may cause delayed allergic reactions, and are considered a neurotoxin. It has also been linked to kidney and liver damage.
Polymethyl methacrylite - plasticiser
Used in nail polish and in anti-ageing products such as fillers, it is irritating to the skin, eyes and mucus membranes. It causes respiratory problems from short or long-term exposure. Neurological symptoms have been reported in humans following acute exposure to methyl methacrylate. Fetal abnormalities have been reported in animals exposed to methyl methacrylate by injection and inhalation.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. I would invite you to grab a product you have which may contain any number of these ingredients and research the ones you don't know. It is truly shocking what we have been putting on and in our bodies and environment. So what can we use instead? Fortunately nature has provided us with a full range of solutions which we use in our range of 100% natural bath & body remedies.
See what some of our lovely customer have to say about our range...
Immune & Calm Bundle ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"Fantastic value bundle of vapour rub, calm balm and sleep balms. Love that all three are made right here in Australia with natural ingredients so no nasty chemicals. By using essential oils and herbs, all three products smell beautiful, no horrible artificial chemical aroma." - Kym
Bug Balm ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"It’s so nice to have a natural bug repellent that works. Mosquitos absolutely love me and I often have to cover myself up and wear repellent, I feel better knowing I’m not covering my skin in harsh chemicals." - Hayley
Belly Balm ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"Beautiful product that I love using on my baby bump. Completely confident in the safe and natural ingredients. Lovely smell and feel on the skin." - Athena