We often hear people talk about “Going Natural” when referring to hair. but is it limited to just hair.!? Isn’t going natural is to embrace a natural lifestyle.!?.For me going natural mean to say a big NO to all harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances that will affect our skin/health/hair and the environment on a long run.
My Little Journey
I’ve always been a big fan of Ayurveda, home-made facial masks, scrubs, and have used them my whole life, but my daily skin care routine was filled with bunch of synthetic chemicals that helped me fight acne, but also made me worry about premature ageing (not knowing all the after effects).
Right when I had no acne on my skin, the overachiever in me couldn’t help but think “How could I do this better with natural products” ? One good night, I decided to go natural and started my hunt for BEST natural products. The first few days with my new skin regime went good and my excitement was to peaks, until I started to break out. After trying few more products and shuffling back and froth with my old regime, my skin started to feel worst than ever. I realized, I was going wrong. I was blindly using products that said natural, not knowing/understanding most of the ingredients. I then decided to go smart by knowing all the baddies that I shouldn’t be looking on a product (even though it said natural) and about some goodies that will suit my Indian skin.
If you are motivated to go natural too, then Knowing some of these major “Touch me not” ingredients, will certainly help you get started in your natural skin care journey. You can always search for any ingredient on the Environment Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
Some FACTS: It takes around 26 seconds for all the chemicals you are putting on your skin to enter the bloodstream and cause damage. On a typical day, we might be exposed to over 200 such chemicals, many of which are suspected of causing cancer or hormonal imbalance.
Ingredients to avoid
SOAP/BODY WASH: Avoid Parabens, Synthetic Fragances, Triclosan
Purpose/Usage: Synthetic Preservative
Reason to Avoid: These chemicals are estrogen mimickers-meaning body treat them as estrogen when they enter the blood stream and cause hormonal imbalance leading to early puberty and reproductive difficulty in both men and women. Also, found in breast cancer tumor
On Label: Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, 4-hydrobenzoic acid, Benzylparaben
Also found in: Shampoo, Deodorant, Tooth paste
2) Synthetic Fragrances:
Purpose/Usage: Artificial Scent
Reason to Avoid: This is basically a bunch of synthetic chemicals used to artificially scent a skin care product. These chemical combination is never listed on a product as it is considered to be a “Trade Secret”. This can cause headache, migraines, dizziness, allergic reactions and asthma.
On Label: Fragrance (not Natural Fragrance) , Parfum
Also Found in: Skin Moisturizer, shampoo, perfume, facial cleanser
3) Triclosan & Triclocarban (found in antibacterial soap)
Purpose/Usage: Synthetic Antibacterial with similar chemical structure as Agent Orange
Reason to Avoid: Produce These chemicals produce Dioxin, that are powerful endocrine distruptor- esp thyroid and reproductive hormones. Studies indicate triclosan to be an antibiotic-resistant so extensive use of antibacterial soap with triclosan will reap same benefit as using normal soap. Considered highly toxic to aquatic organism and is banned in Canada.
On Label: Triclosan
Also found in: laundry detergent, antiseptics for wound, tooth paste, facial tissues.
4) Alkyloamides- DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine)
Purpose/Usage: Creamy or foaming agent
Reason to Avoid: Harmone distruptors that can form cancer causing nitrosamines Cause mild to moderate skin and eye irritation, excess exposure/ constant application of these products may can cause in liver cancer and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid
On Label: DEA, Diethanolamine, TEA, Triethanolamine.
SHAMPOO/ HAIR CARE- Avoid Parabens, Formaldehyde, Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), Synthetic Fragrances, Alkylomides
1) Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
Purpose/Usage: Foaming Agent (found mostly in all foaming products)
Reason To Avoid: Sulfates combined with other chemicals can form cancer causing nitrosamines, a carcinogen. known to be skin, kidney and eye irritants and can cause eczema. Animals exposed to SLS experience eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation, and even death. Also cause hair whitening (personal experience)
On Label: Sodium lauryl sulfate, Sodium laureth sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate, Anhydrous Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Irium
Also Used in: Bubble bath, Facial cleansers, dish soap, detergents, car wash and 90% of all skin care products that has lather.
2) Fomaldehyde,MDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea & imidazolidinyl urea
Purpose/Usage: Used as Preservative
Reason To Avoid: Cause skin and eye irritation, joint pains , dizziness, headache, asthma. This chemical was deemed as a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) and has been linked to occupational related cancers: nasal and nasopharyngeal. Other side effects include weakening the immune system.
On Label: Formaldehyde. Formalin, Urea, Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
Also Found in: Cosmetics, nail polish, cleansers, conditioners, body washes, deodorant.
TOOTHPASTE/ MOUTH WASH: Avoid Parabens,Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfat, Flouride, Triclosan, Alcohol
1)Alcohol found mostly in mouth wash, mouth refreshing sprays
Purpose/usage: Freshens Breath, antimicrobial
Reason To Avoid: It might freshen the breath and antimicrobial initially but it dry up quickly causing bacteria to strive back. Extremely drying agent, that strips the skins natural acid mantle opening it up and leaving it vulnerable to bacteria, viruses and carcinogens when applied to skin.promotes brown spots and premature aging of skin
On Label: Alcohol
Also used in: Body Moisturizer, hand Sanitizer
Purpose/Usage: Reduce risk of cavity
Reason To Avoid: Can discolor teeth, weakening the immune system, cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea, contribute to certain cancers and can lead to birth defects.
On Label: Sodium Monofluorophosphate
MOISTURIZER/ LIP CARE: Avoid Petrolatum, Phthalates, Parabens, Synthetic fragrances, Alkyloamides
1) Phthalates (dibutyl phthalate)
Purpose/Usage: Synthetic fragrance
Reason To Avoid: These are endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.
On Label: Benzylbutyl phthalate (BzBP), Di-n-butyl phthalate or Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Diethyl phthalate (DEP)
Also Found in: Hair Spray , Lipstick, Perfume, nail polish
Reason To Avoid: can cause cancer, Skin irritation and allergies.
On Label: petrolatum, petroleum jelly, mineral oil
Also Found in: Makeup
SUNSCREENS: Avoid Parabens, Retinyl Palmitate, Oxybenzone, SPF >50, Aerosel Spray and Powder sunscreen
Purpose and Usage: Blocks UV Radiations
Reason To Avoid: Hormone disruptor which penetrated through the skin and enters the bloodstream. Only blocks the sun good rays (UVB) rather than damaging rays UVA
On Label: Oxybenzone Benzophenone-3
2) Retinyl Palmitate
Purpose/Usage: Anti Aging,Vitamin A
Reason to Avoid: When exposed to the sun’s UV rays, retinol compounds break down and produce destructive free radicals that are toxic to cells, damage DNA, and may lead to cancer. 2009 study by U.S. government scientists released by the National Toxicology Program found when this is applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, it may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.
On Label: Retinol, Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid
Also Found in: Facial moisturizer, Anti Aging Creams, Body lotion, facial powders.