It is widely known that 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies, which means it is important to know each of the ingredients in the products we apply onto ourselves every day. Unfortunately, we all know that this is easier said than done. As a consumer, we try to do our best to find brands representing cleaner alternatives and learn about ingredients that can be harmful both to us and to the environment. The problem is, we still see ingredient after ingredient listed on the back label of a personal care product that is either hard for us to understand (usually listed in a scientific name) or clearly a harmful substance. More and more companies are finally taking the initiative to remove unwanted ingredients, but it is important for us consumers to continue educating ourselves to avoid any of the products that may cause harm including things like reproductive damage and environmental destruction. In this post we wanted to discuss some of the toxic ingredients that still to this day make their way into many of the personal care products we purchase. Next time you buy cosmetics, skincare, haircare, and other personal care products, try to avoid products that have any of the ingredients below.
Parabens are artificial preservatives that are commonly used in skincare and cosmetic products. Historically, parabens were known to prevent harmful bacteria and mold from growing inside cosmetic products. However recently, scientists have found that parabens may increase the risk of cancer and have the ability to harm reproductive organs, affecting childbirth. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) limits the amount of parabens in individual products, but these guidelines don't necessarily limit the paraben exposure consumers incur through cumulative consumption of personal care products throughout their life.
You will be surprised how easy it is to find products with parabens. Products containing parabens range from shampoos and conditioners to sunscreens to toothpastes. Parabens are more commonly used in products with higher water content as these types of products tend to easily grow fungi and other harmful bacteria. Studies have shown that personal care products are the gateway to paraben exposure and a higher level of paraben has been found in consumers who are frequent users of cosmetics and personal care products. Commonly seen parabens include the methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isopropylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben. Some of the shorter-chain parabens are used in combination, while others may be used on their own.
Paraben is considered harmful to the reproductive organs because it imitates the estrogen in our body, disrupting the hormone balance and reproductive system. There is also a concern that exposure to paraben increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Studies have shown that when the body mistakenly perceives paraben absorbed into our body as estrogen, it triggers the body to increase breast cell division as well as growth of tumors. Paraben is not just damaging to women but also to men, as it is known to cause infertility issues, decreased sperm production and lower testosterone levels.
Another chemical used in many products that we should be careful of is phthalates, a chemical that gives plastic its flexibility. It is hard to understand why a chemical found in plastic is also found in personal care products such as nail polish, soap, hair spray and others, but that is the reality. Phthalates that are typically found in cosmetics include dibutylphthalate (DBP), dimethylphthalate (DMP), and diethylphthalate (DEP), and are thought to be linked to some health issues including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and impairment of neurological development.
Petrolatum is commonly seen in personal care products as often as parabens and phthalates. Historically, doctors have recommended products with petrolatum (or more commonly known as petroleum jelly) to relieve rashes and moisturize chapped lips. Many of us certainly have had Vaseline, a pure form of petrolatum, take up a space in our cabinet at some point in our lives. Even if you are one of those rare people that have never purchased Vaseline, it’s hard to not come by a product without petrolatum because it's used in all types of personal care products including baby products. Companies market petrolatum as an ingredient that improves hydration but all it actually does is seal the surface of the skin, which locks down the moisture but also toxins the skin is trying to remove from our body through our pores. This causes bacteria build-up and skin irritation, resulting in acne and other unwanted skin conditions. What makes the matter even worse is that petrolatum is also used as a lubricant for machinery, and we all know that most of the things that are used on machinery aren’t particularly safe for us to put on our bodies.
Some countries don’t consider petrolatum toxic, but many countries consider petrolatum, moderately hazardous. While there are no studies showing direct linkage between petrolatum and cancer, there are reasons to believe it can be considered as harmful substances. The reality is, petrolatum is derived from crude oil, which of course is a fossil fuel. If putting crude oil on your skin sounds like something you don’t want to do, then be sure to avoid personal care products that contain petrolatum.
RETINYL PALMITATE AND RETINOL (aka, VITAMIN A)
Many people still use different forms of vitamin A in their skincare routine and praise its ability to improve collagen production. In fact, vitamin A is a key nutrient that supports reproductive health and boosts our immune system.
Because of its ability to help cell renewal and enhance collagen production, vitamin A can be found in many anti-aging skincare products. Additionally, the fact that vitamin A can help normalize the cell renewal cycle, allows it to be a powerful ingredient that can prevent unnecessary buildup of dead skin cells on the skin surface, which can end up clogging pores and creating acne. This is why vitamin A can also be found in products tailored towards consumers who want to treat their acne and breakouts.
However, in recent years, some scientists have suggested that some forms of vitamin A, such as retinyl palmitate could be the cause of skin tumors and lesions if applied to the skin incorrectly. Application of vitamin A becomes especially dangerous if you are in an area with greater exposure to sun. Intaking too much vitamin A could also cause various health problems, such as liver damage, osteoporosis, hair losses, and could also cause birth defects. For those using personal care products with Vitamin A, it is very important to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from being overly exposed.
BENZOPHENONE-3 (a.k.a OXYBENZONE)
Speaking of sunscreen, there are many ingredients even in sunscreen you have to make sure to avoid. For example, oxybenzone has been used in sunscreens and other personal care products for decades because of its ability to filter UVB and UVA, which are known to cause harm to our skin. Unfortunately, scientists have been realizing that oxybenzone can actually be the common cause of allergic reactions and may also be harming our reproductive and internal organ systems. Studies have shown that oxybenzone has also been destroying coral reefs and marine life, causing environmental destruction. Researchers say that one drop of oxybenzone can spread through 6 ½ Olympic size swimming pools, which means a little bit of oxybenzone can cause significant environmental damage. More and more people are becoming aware of the toxicity of oxybenzone, especially since 2018, when Hawaii officially banned sunscreens that contain oxybenzone to protect the environment.
With many toxic ingredients still available to consumers, we at Magic Skincare make it our number one priority to ensure all of our products do not contain any toxic chemicals. We source our ingredients from trusted manufacturers who are focused on producing organic raw materials without any synthetic chemicals. The reason the brand exists today is because we always believe in the natural healing power of plants, and that is all we need to nurture our mind and body. Through years of research and development, we have perfected our formulation, which allows all of our ingredients to perform at their highest potential. All of our products are non-toxic, plant-derived, and vegan and we only use natural preservatives in our products that also have benefits to our skin and body, so you can feel good inside and out.