With thousands of beauty and skincare products on the market today, the number of choices alone can make your head spin. It’s hard enough figuring out which products to use, let alone which ones actually work. While store shelves are lined with luxurious-looking skincare products designed to enhance and beautify, these same products are loaded with harmful ingredients that can seriously damage your health and degrade the appearance of your skin.
Cosmetics are the least regulated products under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and the government doesn’t require pre-market safety testing, review or approval for cosmetics. Before buying into a marketing message, BUYER BEWARE: Your beauty and skincare products just might make you sick.
Common Chemical Culprits
Two of the most common classes of chemicals causing health concerns are phthalates and parabens. Phthalates are a group of industrial chemicals called “plasticizers” because they are used to make products soft and flexible. When used for plumbing, vinyl flooring or cable sheathing, phthalate plasticizers make products more elastic, durable and less expensive. But when phthalates are added to your beauty and skincare products, you may think twice about the toxins being absorbed into your body.
Phthalates are used to help keep nail polish from chipping, to make fragrances linger a little longer, and to soften the feel of many skincare creams, lotions and soaps. While these chemical additives seemingly may do wonders for many consumer products, when absorbed through your skin—the body’s largest organ—these chemical culprits are highly toxic and can cause serious health issues including liver, kidney and lung damage, as well as reproductive and neurological damage.
Phthalates are often referred to as “endocrine disruptors” because they mimic your body’s natural hormones and can interfere with critical functions including metabolism, tissue generation and repair, mood, growth and physical (including reproductive) development.
Parabens are yet another group of chemicals included in the manufacturing of anti-aging creams and other beauty products such as shampoos, moisturizers, personal lubricants, toothpaste, sunscreen, spray tanning solutions, shaving gels and even food products. Parabens are used as a preservative to inhibit bacterial growth and increase shelf life. When absorbed through the skin, these paraben culprits accumulate in body tissue—especially breast tissue—and mimic the hormone estrogen. This is especially alarming because estrogen imbalance can drive the growth of breast tumors.
In addition to breast cancer, another health concern is that parabens found in skincare products can react with the sun’s UV rays, thereby accelerating the death of skin cells. Researchers correlate this increase in the rate of cell death to premature skin aging in the form of skin laxity, sagging, wrinkles, discoloration, dark spots and diminished skin tone.
Manufacturers are not very forthcoming when identifying phthalates or parabens in their products, so it is important to read the ingredients and learn to recognize the various compounds by their chemical names.
Diethyl phthalate (DEP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), dimethyl phthalate (DMP), and benzylbutyl phthalate (BzBP) are commonly used phthalates in personal care products including skincare lotions, nail polishes, perfumes, shampoos and deodorants. Products containing parabens usually include one or more of the following ingredients: methylparabens, propylparabens, ethylparabens, butylparabens or isoparabens.
At SKINSHIFT™, we never use ingredients that are toxic or harmful in any way. Dr. Ruthie Harper carefully designed the SKINSHIFT™ product line to promote health and beauty for your skin.