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8 Toxic Beauty Care Chemicals That Are Killing You!

It's not all that hard to put together a morning beauty ritual containing literally thousands of harsh, harmful chemicals. Seriously, thousands. All you need to do is walk down the aisle at your local Walmart and pick up a standard selection of modern cosmetic and hygiene products.

Among that standard selection, you'll find these 7 chemicals – all of which are ruining your life.

1. Parabens

She thinks she's washing her hair. She's actually ruining her life. Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in cosmetic products. You'll find it in about 90% of shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, shaving cream and even toothpaste. Not in Europe, though, where many parabens have been prohibited in cosmetic products. You don't have to dig too deeply to see why the EU made that decision. Parabens easily penetrate skin and interfere with hormones. Unsurprisingly, the chemicals have been found in the tumors of not 50%, not 60%, not even 70% but 100% of breast cancer patients.

2. Phthalates

Don't worry, I can't quite pronounce this word either. Maybe Mike Tyson can. Anyways. Phthalates are used to keep cosmetic products soft. Nail polish manufacturers, for example, use phthalates to prevent the polish from becoming brittle. You can also find phthalates in lip gloss, eyeliners, blushes, deodorants and hair products. I don't think you really want to find it, though, as researchers know that phthalates accumulate in human cells and increase one's risk of cancer and reproductive defects. The really bad news? In a study by the CDC, every person tested had traces of phthalates – no doubt thanks to their prevalence in consumer products.

3. Formaldehyde

Looks that kill. Literally. As dark and terrible as it as, the use of formaldehyde in cosmetics is actually a marvel of chemistry. You see, manufacturers have come up with a way for formaldehyde to be released over time as a preservative, thanks to chemicals like quaternium-15. Of course, that means that your container of shampoo, nail polish, eyelash glue, hair gel or deodorant is pretty much engineered to turn into an increasingly toxic sludge. Formaldehyde is no joke. It's classified as a definite carcinogen. It also raises your risk of ALS, depression, insomnia and ADHD. Not fun stuff.

4. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid

We'll refer to this one as EDTA, for obvious reasons. EDTA is used as a preservative in various skin care products, bath soaps, shampoos, conditioners, hair dyes and hair bleaches. With chronic use, EDTA has the potential to cause reproductive damage, fetal disability and kidney damage. Ironically (remember, it's used in skin care products) EDTA can also cause contact dermatitis.

5. Propylene Glycol

shutterstock_272721983 The Material Safety Data Sheet for propylene glycol instructs us to avoid all contact of the chemical with skin. Of course, that doesn't stop cosmetic companies from putting the stuff in lotions to 'enhance the appearance of skin.' Ah, I'm not so sure about that. I wouldn't exactly consider contact dermatitis, mutated cell membranes and inhibited skin growth to be enhancements.

6. Toluene

Toluene begins its life in the tolu tree. It doesn't stay natural for long, though; for commercial use, it's added to gasoline and used to blend other chemicals. You can find this toxic mix hanging out in many nail treatment products. That's a bit of a bummer, since toluene has been linked to severe skin and lung irritation as well as damage to the central nervous system, kidneys and liver. Oh, I forgot brain damage and birth defects.

7. Talc

! The main problem with talc is that it often contains carcinogenic asbestos. Many experts even suspect that talc itself is carcinogenic. That's a little concerning, as talc is what keeps baby powder from caking. It doesn't just ruin baby's life, though. Other products containing talc include lotion, eye shadow, foundation, lipstick and deodorant. Fun for the whole family!

Shimmy on down to your cosmetic cupboard and have a look at the ingredient labels of the products there. If you see any of the above, you know what to do. (Figuratively, of course.)


Check out our natural beauty remedy archives to learn about how you can give your cosmetics cabinet an organic facelift!

Sources: The Daily Mail David Suzuki