Sulfates, Parabens and Phthalates: Do You Really Know What’s In Your Skincare Products?
Posted by The Essence Luxe Couture Team on
We spend a fortune on beauty and skincare products expecting them to improve and enhance our look. For many. beauty and skincare products are an absolute essential, not only do they help lift our confidence and self-esteem, but for those who have certain skincare conditions, they can be a life-saver. But have you ever really taken a close look at what ingredients are in your favorite products?
The cosmetic beauty industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Each company is vying for your attention, and of course, money. Cosmetic companies want to provide you with the cheapest solution to remedy whatever issue you may be looking to fix. But cheap is a façade. The effects of some of the ingredients many companies use in their products, all in the name of ‘cheap’, can cause very expensive long-term health and environmental problems.
You might have glanced at them, sure, but do you really know what they do and how they affect your skin? Probably not.
Don’t fall for sneaky marketing ploys by skincare brands and make sure you always read the ingredient labels to see if any of the following harmful ingredients were used; because if they were, you’ll only be harming your skin and body by using them. Become an educated consumer and don’t fall for brands using the following ingredients:
The beauty and cosmetic industry uses parabens as a form of preservatives and they’re in practically everything you use! The industry has been using them in products since the 1950s. Parabens are preservative that help prevent nasty things like parasites, mold and fungus from growing in your skincare products. It also helps extend the life of your skincare and makeup products. That’s great and all, but the real problem with parabens is that they’re easily absorbed into the skin, causing who-knows-what in your body. Some studies have even linked parabens to cancer.
Because of studies related to parabens and cancers, people are a wee bit hesitant when purchasing products that do not explicitly say ‘paraben-free’. So, it’s popular and on-trend for many brands to market their products as ‘paraben-free.’ (Totally uncool right?) But don’t be fooled because parabens aren’t always listed as “parabens” on the label. Watch out for listed ingredients like propylparaben, benzylparaben, butyiparaben, isobuylparaben, methylparaben and ethylaparaben. You’ll notice that these words have ‘-paraben’ somewhere in their names, so they’ll be easy to spot!
Some companies are removing parabens not for the sake of human health, but rather brand health. The mounting evidence against these ingredients hasn’t convinced them – they just want their products to keep selling, and they know that continuing the use parabens, will lead to declining sales if left unaddressed.
But what are they using instead of using parabens? Are they finding ways to create quality, shelf-stable products without the use of synthetic preservatives?
Thanks to advances in ‘green’ chemistry, today there are a ton options out there that are completely free of synthetic preservatives and still leave your products shelf-stable and fungus-free.
Phthalates are used for many things in the cosmetic industry. They’re used to reduce cracking in nail polish, reducing stiffness in hair products, and are used to help chemicals stick together in fragrances, to name a few. Phthalates are actually apart of your body’s natural chemistry composition. The problem with phthalates in products is that, it’s overuse, causes over absorption, and leads to disruptions with your body’s normal hormone balance, which can lead to problems with your reproductive system and hormones. In other words, when you overdo something, even something good, it starts to hurt you. And in this case, naturally occurring phthalates, when overused, cause hormonal issues in women. They’re also possibly linked to other things like insulin resistance and developmental problems in kids.
The biggest problem with these ingredients is that they might not be listed on product labels, so you’ll have to do some detective work to see if your favourite skincare products’ use them. Usually, they’re listed under fragrances, which is why you should always stick to products that are scented using natural essential oils, or better yet, products that are unscented. Since 2010, however, most companies have stopped using most phthalates in general. Yay! (Source: FDA)
Sulfates are cleaning agents that work by removing oil and dirt. You can see why they’re used so often in skincare cleaners, shampoos and soaps. There are over one hundred varieties of sulfates, and while some are naturally derived, others are synthetic. Most sulfates, however, are made using sulfur- and petroleum- based products.
What makes them so troublesome is the fact that they can strip your skin and scalp of beneficial natural oils that protect them. That’s why the ‘sulfate-free’ movement first became prominent in the Afro-American community, since their unique kinks and curls absolutely need these oils. If a person is allergic to sulfates, the ingredients can be very irritating, causing things like rashes and other uncomfortable reactions. And because it strips your body of its natural oils, your body starts producing more oils to compensate, causing oily skin and a whole set of new skin issues to deal with. Not fun.
But sometimes we don’t have time to read labels and Google ingredients. The best way to avoid these harmful ingredients totally is to find a reliable organic, vegan skincare brand, who’s items are always sulfate-free, paraben-free, and phthalate-free! And these products are often scented using natural oils and ingredients. That way you save yourself some time, and the headache of micro-managing the damaging effects of the many ingredients that do more harm than good.
Organic skincare products are made using natural ingredients that benefit your skin. Most are eco-friendly, so these companies ensure there was no harm to Mother Earth when creating and producing them, which is a win-win situation for you and our planet!
If you’re looking for a reliable and socially conscious, organic, vegan skincare line, try out the various products that Aloe and Bloom offer! You’ll not only look better but you’ll feel better knowing that your skincare products aren’t harming you in the long run.