The beauty industry just like others are filled with very clever people. Big companies know exactly which buzzwords to stick right in front of their labels and which ones consumers are avoiding.
So long story short, brands know by saying things like sulphate-free or parabens-free, they're going to get a lot more positive feedback. But what are they replacing them with? Shady alternatives.
#1 — Parabens
These preservatives mimick estrogen and are mostly getting phased out in products today, but they're being replaced with shady alternatives which can release formaldehydes. An early study showed prolonged exposure (even at the lowest levels) can severely damage your nervous system, can cause breast cancer, and interfere with male reproductive functions.
#2 — BHA and BHT
These preservatives are bad news for both human and aquatic life. While they make products last on a shelf longer, they're both suspected endocrine disruptors which, in some countries, are even labelled to warn about cancer.
#3 — Parfum, fragrance, and phthalates
Any synthetic or fake fragrance will have a ton of chemicals in them. All of which could contain carcinogens, hormone disrupters, and allergy-triggering ingredients. Phthalates is one of these hidden chemicals masked behind the word fragrance. Also avoid diethylhexyl phathalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) which have been banned in childrens' toys but still found in cosmetics in Canada.
#4 — PPD
All permanent hair dyes contain this cancerous and lymphoma-linked organic compound, phenylenediamine (PPD for short). It's known for being a hair dye allergen that irritates wherever it comes into contact with skin.
#5 — Paraffin, petroleum, and mineral oil
These ingredients are found in tons of hair and beauty products, and it's also one of the reasons for global warming and ocean pollution. It's proven to be a carcinogen and in some parts of the world, it's actually banned in cosmetics unless the refining history can be provided by the manufacturer.
#6 — DEA
This organic chemical compound reacts with the preservatives that are found in cosmetics to form the carcinogenic chemical compounds called nitrosamines.
#7 — Formaledehyde
Ingredients found in common cosmetics like DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, methenamine, and imidazolidinyl urea expose users to low levels of formaldehydes which over a prolonged period of time can kill you. These ingredients are restricted in Europe but not in Canada!
#8 — Oxybenzone
Two of the chemicals found in sunscreen, benzophenone (BP-3) and octyl methoxycinnamate (octinoxate) are tied to lower birth rates, allergic reactions, hormone disrupting, and thyroid changes.
#9 — PEGs, Sodium laureth sulphate, "-eth"
Polyethylene glycol compounds (PEGs), foaming agent sodium laureth sulphate, or anything with "-eth" in the name, you can almost guarantee is a carcinogen. Steer clear of these!
#10 — Palm oil
While this ingredient doesn't necessary affect human health, it definitely is a concern for rainforests and savannahs in East Asia where it derives from. Also known as palmate, this is an alternative to petrol-based ingredients in products.
Finding a completely safe and natural preservative that gives you good shelf life is hard. Ingredients that are deemed safe today could be deemed what gives you cancer tomorrow. Keep yourself armed by researching new ingredients as they pop up.
What are some previously loved products you no longer stock up on that contain these? Let's help others avoid carcinogenic ingredients!