Ingredients are listed in accordance with the amount of product being used, from greatest ingredient to lowest.
Any product containing water or water-based ingredients should have a reliable preservative included. There are some preservatives that are classified a safer preserving system and are Cosmos and Eco Cert approved.
There are 13 ingredients I personally prefer to stay clear of:
Are chemicals that can be found in plastic, nail polish, after shave lotion, hairspray, perfume, shampoo, and fragrance oil (usually listed as fragrance). Concern over these chemicals have been raised after the detection in blood, amniotic fluid, and human breast milk. Most countries have banned Phthalates, but not all.
Usually used as a preservative, and can be listed as (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl parabens). In studies by (Gao et al 2016) & (Geer et al, 2016) suggest affect on oestrogen levels, hormonal imbalance, and female reproductive health.
Is a wide-spectrum antimicrobial agent that could disrupt thyroid function. It is believed Triclosan can penetrate through skin and be an endocrine disruptor. This can usually be found in shaving cream, deodorant, toothpaste, or soap.
- SODIUM LAURETH SULPHATE (SLS)/SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE (SLES)
A detergent or emulsifier, generally found in products like skin cleansers that bubble, foam, or lather. It can be an irritant to the skin and eyes depending on the structure of the sulphate.
- POLYETHYLENE GLYCOLS (PEGs)
These are petroleum-based ingredients usually found in creams for moisturising or cleansers to dissolve grease. They can be used as a penetration enhancer and can alter or reduce the skin’s natural moisture balance. PEGs can often come contaminated with impurities and could cause eye, skin, respiratory irritation or liver and kidney toxicity. Information on PEG toxicity is contradictory at times or limited, so to be safe I like to avoid this ingredient.
- TRIETHANOLAMINE (TEA)
Generally used as a pH adjuster, or surfactant. TEA is an amine, and the contamination concern is nitrosamines. It has restrictions on amounts that can be used due to fears of organ system toxicity.
- IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA
Usually used as a preservative, has a formaldehyde releasing ability and with sufficient time, can allow it to be absorbed in the skin’s dermal cells. Generally found in fragrance, facial cleansers, soap, eye makeup, or hair products. Other chemicals with formaldehyde releasers can also be listed as DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15.
Can be used in moisturisers, colour cosmetics, foaming, anti-static or lubricating agents. Whilst Polyacrylamide is not the concern, it has the potential to break down into acrylamide, which could be a suspected carcinogenic.
In skincare, it is usually used as a whitening agent, that can be found in hair dyes or skin lightening products. The concerns with this ingredient are non-reproductive organ system toxicity and ecotoxicity.
- SYNTHETIC COLOURANTS
Often found in hair dyes or cosmetics FD&C can be derived from coal tar (a by-product of petroleum).
- SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES
Can be used in skincare and cosmetic products. They are not required to be listed on an ingredients list but can be listed as ‘parfum’. Therefore, there is no real way of knowing what you are really being exposed to.
Usually used to soften, smooth, or moisturise. Can be found in some body butters, hair care, make up primers and foundations. They are synthetic and have been suspected to have possible endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxicants and eco toxicant. They can be listed as Dimethicone, Methicone, Trimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, and Dimethiconol.
- MINERAL OIL
Is a petroleum by-product and can be found in some haircare products as it coats the hair or skin and used an emollient or skin conditioner. Sometimes also found in lip products, which could be problematic as some can be ingested. Suggested to be a human immune system and respiratory toxicant or allergen. Mineral oil can be listed as Paraffinum liquidum, Paraffinum, Cera microcristallina, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil or Parrafin Waxes.
Hopefully this list helps you decipher through ingredient lists on products.