Brainy Beauty Bit: Harmful Chemicals in beauty products and how to spot them


More and more brands are bringing out products without any harmful chemicals. Brands like Dr. Organic and Anatomicals only bring out products that are natural and won't harm you. They are sulfate, parabens and silicone free. But what are these chemicals and what do they do to do you? I often find myself turning around bottles and tubes to check out the ingredient-list, but then realize that I cannot even figure out what half of these ingredients mean. So today I'm going to explain them all. 

Parabens - These chemicals can be found in shampoos, conditioners, body milks and toothpastr, but they are even additives in food. They are chemicals used as preservatives, that's why they are found in so many products. They are used to fight bacteria and fungus. 

There have been multiple investigations on both side of the subject. Are they bad or are they safe? They have in some cases been linked to causing cancer. They can mimic the hormone estrogen, which has been proven to play a part in causing breast cancer. They have also been linked to causing a less active reproductive system. Simply said, they can make you infertile. Parabens can also make your skin age must faster. 

How do you recognise parabens in products? Parabens can be recognised in the list by all ingredients that end with -ethyl, -butyl, -propyl, -benzyl and -isobutyl. 

Silicones - Silicone is a chemically derived product with occlusive qualities. What this means in terms of skincare is that covers the skin to protect and keep the moisture in. By doing so, silicone also fills in uneven skin texture like fine lines and acne scars so it gives the illusion of great skin when foundation is applied over it. This is why most makeup primers in the market will contain silicones because it helps the primer do its work i.e. prime the skin for makeup.

They are also used in conditioners, masks and creams for your hair. Silicones coat your tresses and make them feel soft and hydrated, while they really aren't. They're just covered by a silicone layer. 

Silicone can build up in your hair and on your scalp overtime. This can make your hair weak, prone to getting oily very fast and it can clog the hair follicle. Because your hair shaft is coated by the silicone it seals out moisture, so the shampoo or conditioner that make your hair feel really soft is actually drying your hair out and making its condition worse. 

Silicones are quite easy to recognize in cosmetics. They most often end with -methicone or another -one. The one most commonly used in cosmetics is dimethicone. 

Sulfates - Sulfates are surfactants. Surfactants are chemicals that can break the surface tension allowing water to penetrate deeper and give you a deeper clean. They are also the chemical that make your shampoo, dishwashing soap, engine cleaner work. What is the risk of sulfates? As I said before, sulfates are also used in engine cleaner to degrease the engines. 

Sulfates strip your hair or your skin of their natural oils. Do you know that tight feeling after using a specific cleanser? I'll bet that that cleanser has sulfates in it. 

How do you recognise sulfates? I've provided a short list of the most commonly used sulfates. From least irritating to most: Sodium Myreth Sulfate, TEA Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonia Laureth Sulfate. 

These things are all easily avoidable in cosmetics. Tons of brands make products without these ingredients these days. It might take somegetting used to, because your hair won't lather up extremely or you skin won't feel squeaky clean. Nor will your hair feel as super smooth as you are used too, but it will in time be healthier. 

I hope this post made understanding the ingredients-list a litte easier. It certainly cleared things up for me. What is your opinion? Do you mind using these chemicals? Let me know below!

1 comment: