5 Ingredients in Beauty Products You Really Want To Avoid For Health and Weight Loss

Every day, without realizing, we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals. What’s surprising to many is that exposure to these toxins doesn’t just happen when we step outside our homes. These harmful chemicals can exist in everything from our makeup to soap and other personal care products.

Too often, we buy beauty products without checking the ingredients label and unfortunately not all beauty products carry an ingredients label.

In the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), beauty products with ingredients other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market.

We figure that if these products are being sold in our favorite stores, then they must be safe. However, many of these products aren’t safe, and they contain chemical ingredients that are mostly untested and unregulated, with some of them known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing chemical) and disruptive to proper endocrine function.

These chemical endocrine disruptors can mimic the effects of hormones, compromising the performance of our glands. Chemicals such as Bisphenol-A (BPA), a substance often present in food containers, plastic water, and baby bottles, and phthalates are endocrine disrupters that can contribute to weight gain as well as many other disorders.

Here’s a more in-depth look at chemicals that can be found in everyday beauty products and their harmful effects on our bodies:

1. Phthalates 

Phthalates can cause damage to the endocrine system that naturally controls body weight. As endocrine disruptors, they have been linked to weight gain, as well as the increased risk of breast cancer, congenital reproductive disabilities in males and females, and early breast development in girls.

Phthalates can be found in cosmetics, fragranced lotions, body lotions, hair care products, and nail polish. On product labels, look for: Phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP, and fragrance

In a recent study on metabolism disrupting chemicals and metabolic orders, Dr. Jerrold Heindel observed that developmental exposure to Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and other phthalates could lead to increased weight gain in animal and human studies. [1]

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) 

Found in 90% of personal care and cleaning products, SLS has been linked to skin irritations and other issues such as hormonal imbalances, kidney, and respiratory damage. Residual levels of SLS can be found in the brain, lungs, liver, and heart following the prolonged use of products that contain this substance.

Because it is an inexpensive surfactant, it is widely used in shampoos, toothpaste, mouthwash, body wash, soaps, detergents, along with other harmful chemicals such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS). On product labels, look for: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Myreth Sulfate

3. Mercury 

Mercury can often be found excessively in some skin lightening creams. It is also found in anti-aging creams that claim to remove freckles, age spots, blemishes, and wrinkles.

When mercury enters the body, it can damage the liver, kidneys, and brain. Prolonged exposure to inorganic mercury can harm the central nervous system. On product labels, look for: mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, Mercurio, and mercury.

In a Giuseppe Genchi’s study titled Mercury Exposure and Heart Diseases, he and his team revealed that that chronic exposure, even to low concentrations of mercury, can cause cardiovascular disease, reproductive problems, and developmental toxicity, as well as neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and carcinogenicity. [2]

4. Formaldehyde 

There is a slew of other chemicals that can found in your beauty products that you may not even realize. Some hair smoothening products actually contain formaldehyde which is carcinogenic. Formaldehyde has been detected in some of the products from the most prominent cosmetic brands including nail polish and nail polish remover, hair conditioners, toothpastes, some baby wipes, and perfumes made with synthetic fragrance.

Although formaldehyde is a carcinogen, exposure to the vapours of formaldehyde also produce short-term symptoms such as headaches, itchy or burning eyes, and nose, it exasperates asthma and respiratory difficulties (found in about 20% of the U.S. population, it may also lead to depression, insomnia, mental confusion, nose bleeds, rashes, joint pain, disorientation, fatigue, hoarseness of voice, nausea and vomiting.

To avoid formaldehyde, on product labels, look for: Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, Hydroxymethylglycinate, Imidazolidinyl urea, 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, Diazolidinyl Urea, Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol )

5. Parabens

Be cautious of parabens in your creams, makeup, hair care and shaving lotions. Parabens are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic products increase shelf life by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. Typically products have more than one paraben in them to cover a broader range of microorganisms. On the downside, parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are linked to breast cancer and other hormonal disorders.

To avoid parabens, on product labels, look for: Alkyl parahydroxy benzoate, Methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, and isobutylparaben.

There’s a wide range of natural beauty products that are chemical free, sold at any drugstore. Although they tend to have a shorter shelf life and may be slightly costlier, they are definitely worth the effort in the long run.
It is best to avoid these chemicals also if you want to lose weight since fat tissue also serves the body as a way to contain toxins, preventing these toxins from causing damage to more tissues.
You will find it harder to shed off excess fat tissue when exposure to toxins is high. So for your health and beauty, it is wiser to go for natural products.

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References:

[1] Jerrold J. Heindel, Bruce Blumberg, Mathew Cave, Ronit Machtinger, Alberto Mantovani, Michelle A. Mendez, Angel Nadal, Paola Palanza, Giancarlo Panzica, Robert Sargis, Laura N. Vandenberg, and Frederick vom Saal. Metabolism Disrupting Chemicals and Metabolic Disorders. 2017 Mar; 68: 3–33.

[2] Giuseppe Genchi, Maria Stefania Sinicropi, Alessia Carocci, Graziantonio Lauria, and Alessia Catalano. Mercury Exposure and Heart Diseases. 2017 Jan; 14(1): 74.

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