Taking good care of your skin is important. The truth is, what you put on your skin is just as important as what you should NOT put on your skin. This can be challenging for a couple of reasons. First, there are a lot of ingredients that go into certain skin care products. More doesn't always mean better but a long list can make it difficult to sort through what is good and what is not. Second, most of the ingredients are difficult to pronounce. To be clear, just because you can't pronounce it doesn't mean it's not "good" for you. However, with these long spelling words and pronunciation issues we might say screw it and not care. That could be a problem.
There has been a lot of chatter in recent years about harmful ingredients and the adverse health effects they can have. Some of these harsh ingredients are derived from chemicals, others are used as preservatives and some come from sulfuric acid. So, what should you be on the lookout for when buying products?
1. Parabens – According to the Food and Drug Administration, parabens are a family of related chemicals used as preservatives in personal care and cosmetic products. The most common ones are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben. Basically, if the ingredient ends in “paraben,” it’s a paraben.
Our progressive friends in the European Union have banned the use of five parabens in cosmetics and personal care due to “concern for human use.” Research has shown that men who have been exposed to parabens have lower testosterone levels and more abnormally-shaped and slow-moving sperm which contributes to infertility.¹ Translation - That's not a good thing.
2. Phthalates – These chemicals act as binding agents and are used in a wide variety of products from household cleaners and food packaging to personal care products. There is a lot of research out there on phthalates and more to come.
One study indicated that phthalates have been linked to cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure in men.² And, another study has shown links to the prevalence of abdominal obesity and insulin resistance in men.³
3. Sulfates – The dictionary defines sulfates as “a salt or ester of sulfuric acid.” Sulfuric acid doesn’t really have a good reputation in terms of skin care. There hasn’t been any direct research linking sulphates to cancer, infertility or development issues. More commonly, sulphates might cause irritation to your eyes, skin, mouth and lungs.⁴ And, for those of you with sensitive skin, sulfates may clog pores and cause acne.⁴
Our advice? Be a smart and read labels. As we said earlier, what you put on your body is just as important as what don't put on your body.