Natural Living: Not-so-sexy chemicals in body care products |

Natural Living: Not-so-sexy chemicals in body care products

Maureen Lamerdin, O.M.D.

Have you ever noticed the warning labels on your body care products and perfumes/colognes? If not, take a second check. Unfortunately most of the mainstream body care products and anything that gives off a scent are mostly made up of caustic chemicals that leave you feeling anything but good. The numerous body soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, wrinkle crèmes and face masks most likely are not creating a younger you! The perfume you casually spray on yourself in the morning to dazzle the world, candles you light to create that special ambience, plug in scent releasers to cover up those hideous smells, oh, and the car scent air fresheners that make you forget you’re smoking or your child left his or her week-old lunch bag, may be causing your daily headache or even cancer!

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the body care industry’s magical mixture of ingredients consist of some 3,100 stock chemicals, the blend of which is almost always kept hidden from the consumer. Makers of popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays market their scents with terms like “floral,” “exotic,” or “musky,” but they don’t disclose many scents are actually a complex cocktail of natural essences and synthetic chemicals — often petrochemicals.

The Environmental Working Group revealed 38 secret chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, topped by American Eagle Seventy Seven with 24, Chanel Coco with 18, and Britney Spears Curious and Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio with 17. Fragrance secrecy is legal due to a giant loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which requires companies to list cosmetic ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance.

Our skin is porous and so easily absorbs chemicals that can build up in your heart, liver, lungs, and brain … even if you wash it off right after using it. The following list contains only the more widely known chemicals and additives found in body care products, many of which are suspected or known carcinogens, toxins, hormone disrupters, poisons and contaminates.

Diethanolamine (DEA), found in shampoos, body washes, bubble bath and shaving cream.

Triethanolamine (TEA), found in moisturizers, cosmetic, deodorant, toothpaste, body oils, and washes.

Sodium Lauryl and Laureth Sulphates (SLS) and (SLES), found in shampoo, bubble bath, shaving foam and cleansers.

Propylene Glycol, found in the anti freeze your car radiator, hand sanitizers, moisturizers, shaving creams, deodorants, and baby products.

Sodium Fluoride, found in toothpaste.

Alcohol, found in mouthwash, toners, and baby products.

Talc, found in baby powder, make-up, and foot preparations.

PABA, found in sunscreens.

PEG, found in cosmetics, makeup and shaving cream.

Artificial flavors, found in toothpaste and mouthwash.

Artificial colors, found in make-up, toothpaste, and shampoos.

Benzalkonium Chloride and Benzethonium Chloride, found in numerous household disinfectants, sanitizers and personal care products.

Ether, found in nail treatments, shampoo, and conditioner.

Coal Tars, found in shampoo, conditioner, hair dyes, soap, skin care and cosmetics.

Aluminum, found in antiperspirants.

Acetone, found in nail polish remover.

Formaldehyde, found in antiperspirants, nail treatments, and perfumes.

Fluorocarbons, found in hair spray.

Dioxins, found in shampoo.

Petrolatum or Mineral Oil, found in baby products, washes, and moisturizers.

Sodium Hydroxide, found in soaps and detergents.

Triclosam, found in anti-bacterial soaps, sanitizers and toothpaste.

So what’s the good news? There are plenty of products out there that only contain natural products. Stop slathering chemicals on you by following these tips: if it doesn’t have an ingredient list, don’t buy it. Use pure essential oils instead of caustic perfumes and colognes. If you don’t understand an ingredient in the list, most likely it’s bad for you.