7 Toxic ingredients to Keep Out of Your Products: Part 1

Toxic Ingredients in personal care products



Did you know that formaldehyde is found in nail polish, hair products, shampoos, cleansers, eye creams and body wash? In skin care and beauty products, it is most often used as a preservative. It is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a known carcinogen.

One study linked it to infertility, increased the risk of endometriosis, miscarriages, and birth defects (since it can cross through the placenta) when high levels indicated at .33 ppm (parts per million).

Another study found that mice exposed to formaldehyde for 30 days showed decreased T3, T4, and TSH levels. These are thyroid hormones that are vital for our metabolism, mood and hormonal balance. (1)

How many women (ages 45-60) can you name WITHOUT a hypothyroid condition? It seems like it has become the new normal for menopausal women.



What in the world is PEG? PEG compounds are polyethylene (plastic) mixed with glycols which then make a thick, sticky liquid. They are petroleum-based compounds to be used as thickeners and softeners. Think about the plastics in your life. What is making them bendable?

PEGs can be found in moisturizers, creams, lotions, face masks, and cosmetics or household products that need to be thickened.

You will find them on ingredient labels as PEG-6, PEG-8, PEG-100 etc...A little science tip...The number attached to the name represents the molecular weight of the compound.

Contamination  Like many of the toxins on this list, it isn't just the ingredients but the poor regulation of the ingredients and contamination that often happens.

PEG compounds are often contaminated with ethylene oxide (used as nerve gas in World War I) and is known to be a carcinogen. PEG compounds are also often contaminated with 1, 4-dioxane which is suspected to be cancer causing.

The problem with 1,4-dioxane is that it likes to hang out and will often stay in your shower or your home even after you used your shampoo or other household products. With their slippery surface, PEG compounds also break through our skin barrier and allow other toxins in the products to enter more easily. If you have poor skin health - rashes, acne, cracked skin or heels, poor cuticles - you especially want to watch out for this because you are giving them an easy entry!

A study showed that 46 of 100 natural and uncertified organic products were contaminated with this toxin! (1) This hit home for me because when I started switching to natural products back in 2014, I didn't know about regulations. I thought if it stated that it was "natural" or "organic" that it was safe. That was until I learned about the Environmental Working Group and started searching for those natural products. I was surprised that they weren't coming up as low toxicity.

No Parabens. No Sulfates. No Gluten. No Soy....... In the cosmetic industry, do labels really matter when there is NO, ZIP, ZERO regulation! 

One reason I started using Beautycounter was because of their dedication to the quality of their products. They are 100% transparent about the ingredients they use. They screen rigorously - using third party testing. They are constantly learning about the latest research and evidence to help support the ingredients they are using in their products. They source responsibly and share transparency.

When I purchase from Beautycounter, I know I can count on a quality, safer product. I know that I don't have to worry about contamination of ingredients and endocrine disrupting toxins that might creep into my product. I know that I'm supporting a movement and advocating for legislative change



Okay....so maybe a little dramatic but phthalates have been shown to DECREASE sperm count in men which to me says they are worthy of the label "sperm killer."

What are phthalates? A type of chemical used to soften or increase the flexibility of plastic or vinyl. They are also used to hold fragrance and color in a product. If you don't know about fragrance, stay tuned it's coming soon.

They can be found in all sorts of products like IV bags and medical tubing, shower curtains, vinyl products, raincoats, dryer sheets, laundry soap, lotions, shampoo, lipstick, nail polish and aftershave

Overwhelming Evidence:

Linked to obesity, insulin resistance, early puberty in girls, hot flashes, reduced sperm, erectile dysfunction, and reproductive defects in male fetuses. 

Over 3 years, 337 women in urine samples within 24 hours of using at least 13 personal care products. Deodorant, shampoo and lotions were the most commonly used products. In 87% of the women, they found 8 or 9 different types of phthalates. The remaining percentage contained 2 different types. (1)

80% of 163 infants tested had at least 7 different types of phthalates in their urine, from shampoo, lotion and baby powders.

Another study in 2015 found a link to increased risk of miscarriages. (2)(3)

But even more scary, is phthalates inference with testosterone and the huge effect it has on male's hormonal health. Really scary article and study discussing the impact on testosterone in little boys. (4)

Looking at couples struggling with infertility that were receiving IVF, they took urine samples from the men on the day they donated sperm and found 17 different types of phthalates! The study took it one step further and analyzed the sperm samples and the impact of phthalates on DNA. The study is still ongoing as it relates to epigenetics and whether or not the phthalates are changing DNA. (Read more here)

Phthalates are a serious problem with many studies showing impacts on men, women, and children.

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