Sunday, September 26, 2010

What's in your shampoo?

Or lotion, body wash, cosmetics... everything, really.  Do you even know? You might be surprised.

I decided that since many of you aren't a part of BlogFrog, I would upload the forum discussion topic as a post on here.  This in information is incredibly useful and I think very important to anyone trying to live a healthier life and to have a smaller impact on the planet.

Canadian author Adria Vasil has written a couple fantastic books, two of which are called Ecoholic and Ecoholic Home.  Adria talks about controversial ingredients found in most of our common beauty products.  Your skin is the largest organ of your body and absorbs everything!   You need to know what you're putting on it.  Here is the list.

#1 Diethanolamine (DEA): A suspected carcinogen commin in shampoos, body wash and makeup.  Cocamide DEA, MEA and TEA may be contaminated with DEA

#2 Formaldehyde: You might not see it on your ingredient list, but this carcinogen is found in imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin and quaternium-15.  Formaldehyde can evaporate into the air when the product is wet.

#3 Parabens: All types of parabens (methyl, ethyl, etc)  have been found to be estrogenic - meaning they mimic female hormones.  Parabens have been found in breast tumour samples but haven't been conclusively linked to cancer.

#4 Petrolatum: Comes from non-renewable crude oil, kind of like tanking up at the pump.  Not breathable.  Mineral oil is also petroleum-based.

#5 Phenylenediamine (PPD): Also goes by the name of P-diaminobenzene.  Found in all permanent dyes, especially darker shades, it has been tied to increases in bladder cancer in long-term frequent users.

#6 Phthalates: You'll rarely see this controversial family of hormone disrupters listed on labels.  It's often tuceked away under the ingredient "fragrance".

#7 Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS):  Skin irritants; laureth is less irritating than lauryl, but can still case dryness.  Found not to cause cancer after much suspicion, but not everyone's convinced.

#8 Talc: A powder found in everything fromeye shadow and blush to baby powder and deodorant.  Any talc that's contaminated with asbestos fibres is a recognized carcinogen.  The U.S. Department of Health's National Institutes of Health (NIH) voted to have talc (even non-asbestos-tainted stuff) categorized as a probably carcinogen, but it was voted down by another government body.

#9 Toluene: this powerful solvent is found in nail polishes.  Long-term exposure affects the nervous system, liver and kidneys.  It can also contribute to smog, making it an all-round bad guy.

#10 Triclosan: An antibacterial chemical used in everything.  It's building up in our rivers and sewage sludge and can turn into carcinogenic dioxins when exposed to sunlight in water.  It has been found in breast milk and has been banned by U.K. supermarkets.

Here is a fantastic site for checking how safe your cosmetics are, what's in them and which brands produce healthier products: Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database.  And remember - your cosmetics all have a list of ingredients.  Just like reading labels on food products, you need to read the labels on your beauty products.


  1. It is amazing how many chemicals we are in contact with a day, isn't it?

  2. Wow - I searched the products we commonly use - scary! I am definitely changing our diaper rash ointment and other baby products for sure!

  3. It can be very frustrating to think you're doing all the right things and then find out companies are hiding toxins in our most intimate products! I'm pretty sure even some Johnson & Johnson products have SLS!

    At least now we know what to look for! :)

  4. Ack, it's a real worry isn't it? But that link to the database is fab - thank you! I now use clay which is wonderful; it's messy but gets the job done and doesn't have anything nasty in it. it is also suitable for both skin and hair, saving on packaging and products cluttering my bathroom. Thanks for an informational post.

    Your friendly tortoise from SITS Mrs Green

  5. Rae - you use clay? Where do you get it? And doesn't it gunk up your drains or does it dissolve properly? You've intrigued me....

  6. This is a great reminder! It's amazing how intentional we have to be to avoid these horrible chemicals, isn't it?!?!

    Amanda (visiting from SITS -

  7. Hi white collar; I live in the UK so I get mine from a supplier over here, but it initially comes from Morocco and is ethically sourced. As for the drains - no problem at all! It's just like getting mud on your clothes and rinsing it out!


Related Posts with Thumbnails