I had never been a label reader . . . until I started working for Arbonne. In Europe and Australia, they have banned over 3000 chemicals that cause harm to our bodies. Surprisingly enough, the US has only banned 10 of those same chemicals. TEN, people! Here are a few you should be on the look out for:
- Mineral Oil: A Petroleum derived oil used as a main ingredient in many face and body preparations. Using anything with mineral oil is like placing a sheet of saran wrap over your face or body and then expecting great skin as a result. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and has two main jobs: 1. to protect our internal organs 2. to regulate our body temperature via perspiration. Our pores are in charge of taking in nutrients and medicines straight through our dermis. Our dermis is responsible for eliminating toxins and debris from our bodies. So we obviously want our skin to be able to breath, right? And if we put something on the skin that blocks the pores, (as is the case with any mineral oil) then we are hindering the body. Hence some of the reason people get blackheads; the mineral oil acts as a sheet of plastic over the skin blocking the skin from breathing and releasing debris. Mineral oil also acts as a Hygroscopic (or drawing water out of), thus depleting the skin of its much needed natural moisture.
- Parabens (Methy, Ethyl, Propyl and Butylparaben): Petroleum based preservatives that earned a bad reputation as being disruptive to the reproductive system and caused allergic responses in sensitive individuals. It was mainly due to the large quantities of these preservatives that were the cause for much concern. Many companies wanted an extremely long shelf life for many of their products and used parabens in many cases up to ten times the amount of preservatives than more cautious companies.
- Diethanolamine (A.K.A: DEA): Beware of this chemical at all times. It's a carcinogen and has absolutely no place in any cosmetic or personal products. It's not the DEA itself, per se, that is the major issue; it's what happens to that chemical when it meets other chemicals and ingredients.
- PABA (A.K.A: Para aminobenzoic acid): PABA increases your risk of skin cancer because it increases the formation of a certain DNA defect in humans.
- Petrolatum (A.K.A Petroleum Jelly): A gasoline derivative FULL of carcinogenic impurities. The links to breast cancer are immense and with 1 in 8 American girls born today, likely to get breast cancer in her lifetime, this is one chemical that should be outlawed for use in personal health care products. PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are common contaminants in petrolatum, also called petroleum jelly and sold under many well-known brand names. Petrolatum is found in 1 of every 14 products on the market, including 15 percent of all lipstick and 40 percent of all baby lotions and oils. Many of the products are applied directly to the lips and are swallowed.
- Phthalates: Synthetic chemicals commonly found in plastics, pesticides, and personal care products like shampoos, soaps, and makeup.
- Propylene Glycol: a liquid preservative, solvent and antifreeze, this toxic petroleum derivative is known to cause allergy and irritation. A common ingredient in Moisturizers, Medicines, Cosmetics, Food, Toothpaste, Mouth Wash, Deodorants, Hand Sanitizers and Tobacco. It is also used as a less toxic Motor Engine Coolant and it is the stuff that makes the smoke in smoke machines. It is a hygroscopic compound (drawing water out of), therefore, even if this chemical were safe for humans, it is counter-intuitive to use it in a moisturizer, because it draws moisture away from the skin. Perhaps a ploy to require that you use much more of this product to keep up the moisture levels in your skin. Just a thought.
- Paraffin: a waxy crystalline flammable substance obtained especially from distillates of wood, coal, petroleum, or shale oil that is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. Paraffin wax, classified as a chemical preservative, is widely used on fruits, vegetables, and candy to make them shiny and pretty as well as to retard moisture loss and spoilage. Waxes are made from vegetable oils, palm oil derivatives, and synthetic resins, as well as other materials.