What are Parabens and Sulphates? and why should I care?

You might be wondering why should I worry about using products that contain Parabens and Sulphates? Well, the bottom line is, what you put on your body ends up in your body.

So what are they? and which ones should I especially be looking out for?

Parabens – Parabens are preservatives found in several skincare products. If you turn over any skincare or cosmetic product to read the ingredients, you will more than likely find parabens. Examples include: methylparaben, proplyparaben, isopropylparaben, isbutlparaben. (You will know it’s a paraben if the word ends with paraben.) This preservative has been approved by the FDA, however, many scientists believe this preservative causes the hormone system to be disturbed. Parabens have been linked to breast and other forms of cancer. Studies have concluded that concentrations of parabens have been found in human breast tumors.

Phthalates – Phthalates are chemical compounds that are used as plasticizers – ingredients that give plastics their elasticity, texture and quality of skincare products. Phthalates are considered estrogen disruptors and the cause of reproductive problems, especially in males.

Sulfates – Sulfates are found in detergent, cleansers and shampoos. Tests show that sulfates such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate can penetrate into the eyes as well as systemic tissues and show long-term retention, especially when used in soaps and shampoos. SLS forms nitrates, which enter the blood stream in large amounts, cause eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, dandruff and allergic reactions. If it foams, it may not be your friend.

Petroleum – used in skincare products to moisturize. Most companies use this ingredient because it’s cheap. In many European countries, this ingredient is banned in skincare products. Petroleum can contain carcinogens which are cancer causing chemicals.

Artificial colors and fragrances – Fragrances in lotions, shampoos, and many other cosmetic products are composed of aromatic hydrocarbons. Perfumes and products containing fragrance can contain many chemicals to produce a distinct scent. A significant number of these aromas are derived from petroleum. These chemicals have been associated with allergic reactions and hormone disruption. Some fragrance chemicals have not been assessed for safety. Until all fragrance ingredients are disclosed on the label, consumers cannot know what is in a particular fragrance, therefore it’s best to avoid fragrances altogether.

Certain artificial colors and dyes can cause allergic reactions. It takes up to 25 chemicals to create the synthetic color purple for example. That’s a lot of chemicals! This puts a great deal of stress on the body’s detoxification system. There’s simply no need to add artificial colors to skincare products.

After realizing that so many products I had were full of these chemicals, I threw them out one by one and replaced them with natural products. Of course I didn’t do it all at one time, especially as I had spent a small fortune on some. I’m still doing my research and making sure the new products I purchase actually work and that’s probably the best advice for anyone who is looking to buy new beauty products. Don’t buy into fads and ads, research research, research!

Love R x

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