What’s the difference between your skincare products and pesticides in your cabinet? The truth is, there isn’t much of a difference at all. Today big companies flat out don’t care what harmful chemicals go into our cosmetic products. You’d be surprised to know how many similar— TOXIC—  ingredients insect repellent shares with your favorite beauty products. Say you head down to any local beauty shop, pick up any product from a global brand and read the ingredients. You’ll find a list of chemicals you can’t even pronounce. Is that really what we should be putting on our skin? Hair? Body? If we wouldn’t eat it, then why put it on the biggest organ of our body? I found certain ingredients to avoid and things to keep in mind when you’re buying cosmetics. 

The origins of makeup started long ago and adding chemicals began in the ’50s with the intention to extended shelf life for products, but today it had gone far beyond that. Common ingredients include synthetics, parabens, and preservatives. Brands claim their products with these certain ingredients are going to benefit your skin, but what are they actually doing?

1. The first ingredient I noticed in countless amounts of products was dimethicone. Dimethicone is a silicone-based polymer used as a type of lubricant; it’s mainly found in products like foundation and primers to fill liners and pores. Though it’s approved by the FDA, it has hidden negative side effects. The layer of dimethicone traps bacteria and sebum underneath it, which will do more harm than good like cause acne flare-ups. Your skin has a respiration process of its own and applying any silicone-based products can throw off the natural balance already present. 

2. Polyethylene Glycol, also known as PEG, is another FDA “safe” chemical that is used in numerous cosmetic products. Polyethylene is the most common type of plastic used for practically anything, from plastic bags to bulletproof vests. Why aren’t we questioning the presence of plastic in our cosmetic products? Polyethylene is not proved to be linked with cancer unless ingested but still very hazardous even when applied topically to the skin. Applying any formulas containing polyethylene to broken or irritated skin can cause PEG chemicals to open the pores and allow toxins to enter easily. You can essentially find PEG in any of your cosmetics and no one knows the true dangers of it. 

3. Parabens are synthetic compounds primarily used to prevent the growth of fungus, bacteria, and other microbes. It can be found in many of the day to day products you use as it is one of the most common preservatives. Parabens are dangerous to our health since studies have shown that we could be absorbing it through the products we put on our skin. They have also been found to disrupt the balance of our hormones and detected in breast cancer tissue.

4. Formaldehyde releasers is another preservative found in nail and hair products that prevents bacteria growth in cosmetic formulas but is a human carcinogen. Research has proven that longterm exposure to formaldehyde can cause contact allergens and worsen skin conditions. When inhaled it has also been known to cause dizziness and suffocation as well as damage to the lining of the nose and throat. Those who come in contact with formaldehyde products for sustained amounts of time are linked to having eczema or have noticed eczema conditions worsening. 

The best alternatives to synthetic chemicals are natural products all around you. Being healthy doesn’t have to be expensive and can be as simple as using fruits from your fridge or your favorite organic oils.  Before testing any new products, be sure to test for allergic reactions. 

The danger of chemical is really embedded in the amount absorbed. Essentially everything in the universe has chemical structure and it cannot be avoided; we can’t exist without it. Perhaps we should analyze how we are using it and always keep in mind, ne quid nimis.