Most cosmetics contain a combination of at least some of the following ingredients: water, emulsifier, preservative, thickener, colour, fragrance and pH stabilisers.
Creams and lotions are based on emulsions—small droplets of oil dispersed in water or small droplets of water dispersed in oil. Since oil and water don’t mix, emulsifiers are added to produce the small droplets and to prevent the oil and water from separating. Emulsifiers work by changing the surface tension between the water and the oil, thus producing a homogeneous product with an even texture. A wide variety of emulsifiers are used in the cosmetics industry.
Preservatives are added to cosmetics to prevent the growth of micro organisms (e.g. bacteria and fungi), which can spoil the product and possibly harm the user. Preservatives used in cosmetics can include parabens, benzyl alcohol and tetrasodium EDTA (ethylenediaminetetra-acetic acid).
Thickening agents, including synthetic polymers such as polyethylene glycol, are often added to cosmetics to change their consistency. Cosmetics that are too thick are usually diluted with solvents such as water or alcohol.
4. Fragrances, colours and pH stabilisers
The ingredient list of a cosmetic product might also include chemicals that give a pleasant smell to the product, provide an appealing colour, or adjust the pH (the acidity).
Fertility Foes Found In Cosmetics And Toiletries
Pick up any women’s magazine today and you can find any number of cosmetics brands being touted as beneficial to you. But beware the facade, educate yourself on the dangers of the chemicals in cosmetics you’ll be able to make better choices about the cosmetics you buy and use.
Here’s a list of some the main chemicals found in cosmetics. These chemicals contribute to hormonal disruption, female infertility, male infertility and reproductive disruption in adults, developing embryos, and children. Other health issues are also briefly outlined below.
|Chemical||Action||Found In||Potential Health Effect|
|Artificial colours Labelled as fd&c or d&c, followed by colour numbers such as fdc red 4, fdc red 1, or food red 1. Some artificial coal tar colours also contain heavy metal impurities, including arsenic and lead||Colour pigments||As labelled on artificially coloured products (generally unless a products states that it is 100% naturally coloured—watch out!)||Still used in cosmetics, these are banned in all foods as they are known causes of urinary bladder polyps and wasting of the adrenal glands, carcinogen.|
|Behentrimonium chloride:||Used in most conditioners as a detangler||Hair conditioners and treatments||Toxic ammonia compound. Ingestion can be fatal. Concentrations as low as 0.1% can be irritating to the eyes and cause necrosis (tissue death) of mucus membranes.|
|BNPD Also known as 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol or bronopol, onyxide 500||Anti-microbial agent||Sunscreens, insect repellents, hair conditioners||Carcinogen and mutagen and can also cause contact dermatitis|
|Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)||Antioxidant—one of the 10 most commonly used preservatives in cosmetics||Found in many cosmetics including creams, shampoo, lipstick and eye shadow||Carcinogen and teratogen. May cause dermatitis, rashes, asthma attacks and breathing problems, fatigue, liver stress and more|
|Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)||As above, an antioxidant, and preservative derived from coal tar dye and petroleum. Much more toxic than BHA.||Found in many cosmetics including creams, shampoo, lipstick and eye shadow||Carcinogen and teratogen. May cause dermatitis, rashes, asthma attacks and breathing problems, fatigue, liver stress and more|
|Coal tar Often shows on labels as fd&c, or d&c colours—derived from petroleum. Coal tar contains petrochemicals such as benzene, xylene, toluene, and also heavy metal salts||Lipsticks, eye shadows, face creams and perfumes||Asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, nervousness and lack of concentration. Coal tar is a known carcinogen increasing risks of skin lung, scrotum and skin cancer|
|Fluoride Sodium monofluorophosphate, sodium fluoride||Mostly toothpaste, water (used to make most cosmetics)||It is a poison to humans when ingested over a long period, as it accumulates in body tissues. Fluoride is a known carcinogen & teratogen, decreases fertility in women and is not approved by the FDA in the US. Fluoride has been removed from various animal feeds because it was causing birth defects in the offspring.|
|Formaldehyde In ingredient labels often listed as: imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropane-1, 3-diol, dmdm hydantoin, and quarternium 15||Preservative used in many cosmetics||Nail hardeners and nail polish, shampoos, baby washes/wipes, mascara, creams, bubble baths, anti-dandruff shampoos and some deodorants.||Negative skin reactions, a carcinogen and irritant to the respiratory system and skin, causes dizziness, headaches, chest pain and weakens the immune system.|
|Fragrances 95% synthetic compounds derived from petroleum Benzene, aldehyde, toluene, methylene chloride, limonene, benzyl acetate, aniline-d5, safrole, dimethyl sulfate, butanol (group 1-, 2-, and tert-)||Just one perfume can contain more than 500 chemicals||All products which contain the word fragrance on the ingredient label, as well as commercial perfumes||Dizziness, skin irritation and hyper-pigmentation, carcinogen, highly neuron-toxic. Irritating to the eyes, nose and throat. Can trigger an asthmatic reaction in otherwise healthy people.|
|Imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea:||Preservative, releases formaldehyde at just over 10c||Most products ranging from creams, lotions, shampoos etc||Contact dermatitis, carcinogen|
|Isopropyl alcohol Derived from propylene, a petroleum derivative.||Antiseptic, removes oil from the skin||Used in face toners, lotions, creams, cleansers, acne treatments.||A very drying and irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips the skin’s natural acid mantle, making it more vulnerable to bacteria, moulds and viruses. It may also promote brown spots and premature aging of skin.|
|Mineral oil Refined liquid hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. Also known as paraffin, paraffin oil, paraffinum liquidum||Lubricant—prevents moisture loss.||Baby lotions, face creams, eye shadows, eye brow pencils, sorbolene products and hair products||Coats the skin like plastic wrap, which interferes with the skin’s natural immune barrier and limits the skin’s ability to breathe and release toxins. It also slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature ageing|
|Parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-)||Preservative, antimicrobial||Most cosmetics, skin and hair products||Teratogen, carcinogen, skin reactions/allergies|
|Petrolatum||Lubricant, prevents moisture loss||Used in artificial colours, plastic, polyester, foam rubber, cosmetics, perfumes, formaldehyde, toothpastes, mouthwashes, hair sprays, shampoos, lotions and preservatives (that go in cosmetics as well as food).|
|Phthalates* Dibutyl phathalate, Diethyl phthalates||Plasticisers||Nail polishes, fragrances, shampoos, hair spray, hair mouse, hair gel, fragrance, deodorant, hand and body lotion, medicines||Birth defects, early puberty in girls, sperm damage, feminisation of baby boys, and infertility—a growing number of studies link phthalates to reproductive problems in men and boys.|
|Polyethylene Glycol ‘PEGs’ Ingredients, ‘-eth’ ingredients, ‘-oxynol-‘ ingredients, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, polysorbate 60 & 80||Detergents, foaming agents, emulsifiers, thickeners and certain solvents with all these names may be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane||Various cosmetics||Interferes with the skin’s natural moisture balance, causing an increase in ageing and leaving the skin vulnerable to bacteria. May also lead to cancer of the liver and nasal tumours (animal tests), as well as systemic cancer (skin painting tests).|
|Propylene glycol (1,2-propanediol) Petroleum derivative||Solvent, humectant and skin-conditioning agent||Most beauty creams, cosmetics and cleansers, shampoos, conditioners and lotions Also major ingredient in industrial anti-freeze, brake & hydraulic fluids||Carcinogen, teratogen and suspected neuron-toxic hazard. Linked to skin irritation, provokes acne, gastro-intestinal disturbances, nausea, headaches & vomiting. Over exposure can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.|
|Saccharin Synthetic compound derived from coal tar||Flavouring agent||Flavoured products||It has been shown to cause bladder cancer in animal studies. Research has shown that this chemical enhances the cancer-causing effects of other carcinogens.|
|Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) Sodium laureth sulfate (SLEs) ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS).||Creates foam. A detergent and emulsifier which strips the skin of its natural oils, interfering with the skin’s barrier function and making it easier for other chemicals to get through||Bubble bath, shower gels and facial cleansers, toothpaste||Mutagen, causes DNA alterations, carcinogen. Can also cause damage to skin, liver, brain, lung, heart and eyes, damage the immune system and cause hair loss.|
|Talc||Astringent||Talcum powder, make up, baby products||Carcinogenic as it can be contaminated with asbestos fibres as well as heavy metals, which can be inhaled when applying makeup, or baby products (there is no safe level of asbestos exposure). Clear evidence exists that inhaling talc and using it in the genital area causes ovarian cancer and urinary tract disorders as well as respiratory distress in infants.|
|Thimerosal Heavy metal mercury||Preservative||Mascara, eye drops, vaccines||Birth defects, miscarriages, infertility as well as all the negative health effects of mercury as outlined in ‘heavy metals’ section|
|Titanium, zirconium, benzalkonium, bismuth, antimony (*1), barium (*2), aluminium, tin, chromium, benzene & PCBs||Various purposes||Most cosmetics contains at least one or more of these ingredients—creams, lotions, sunscreens, shampoos, lipstick, make up, eye shadows||Carcinogen, increase risk of breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease.|
|Triclosan||Antimicrobial, linked to the increase in antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’||Deodorants, mouth washes, antibacterial products, soaps and toothpaste as well as being infused into an increasing number of consumer products, such as kitchen utensils, toys, bedding, socks, and garbage bags||Immune system assault, a potent disruptor of thyroid function. Low thyroid levels, or subclinical hypothyroidism, is an established risk factor in cases of infertility, miscarriages and foetal development problems, as well as a potential cause of IQ deficits, developmental delays, and in severe cases, cretinism. N.B. Drinking mouthwash containing alcohol and fluoride is a major source of poisoning amongst children.|
|Triethanolamine (TEA)/ Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA)||Most commonly used chemicals in cosmetics. Emulsifiers, foaming agents, and ph balancers||Cleansers, soaps, moisturising lotions and creams, shampoos and conditioners, hair dyes & other hair care products, lotions, creams and bubble baths||Anaemia, kidney degeneration, and nerve damage to the brain and spinal cord. Lifelong use of these chemical-containing products clearly poses avoidable cancer risks to consumers, particularly babies and young children.|
(All chemicals on this table are considered to be hormonal/endocrine disruptors) *For more information about damaging phthalates and how to avoid them, visit http://www.safecosmetics.org/docUploads/NotTooPretty_r51.pdf
The Cosmetics Solution?
Get educated! And buy real, quality, natural, organic products. To avoid the toxic dangers of many leading cosmetic brands I’d recommend organic cosmetics. For more information about specific products and the chemicals they contain, visit the Environmental Working Group’s searchable cosmetics database. You can search by product name and brand; so get informed today at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. You can also search individual ingredients.
Another similarly useful website is http://www.safecosmetics.org. Also, here you will find a list of companies who have pledged not to use chemicals that are known for, or strongly suspected of, causing cancer, mutations, or birth defects. This website promotes personal care products that are non-toxic and have replaced hazardous ingredients with safer alternatives.
There are many certified organic products and companies but be sure to do your research before you buy anything. When you learn about what affects your health and fertility you can begin making changes that positively affect you and your future generations. Begin today!
Read more of our Natural Fertility Breakthrough articles and grab our free resources.