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Many consumers don't stop to think about the products they use every day. Unfortunately, many consumer products, from make-up to cleaning supplies to plastic food containers, contain substances that can be harmful. Absorbing harmful chemicals through skin contact can be even worse than ingesting them, because when you ingest them, at least you have the enzymes in your digestive system to break them down.
An FDA survey found that up to 25% of people have had a skin reaction to a skincare or beauty product. Allergic or irritated reactions to these products can cause redness, swelling, hives, itching, and other effects. Everyone finds different ingredients to be allergenic for them, but three of the most common are parabens, formaldehyde, and sodium lauryl sulfate.
Virtually every personal care product that contains water will have some type of preservative in it as well. Parabens have been used as a preservative in personal care products since the 1950s. The most common products to contain parabens include lotions, make-up, shaving cream, and hair care products. Unfortunately, parabens can cause allergic reactions for some people. Furthermore, parabens are thought by some to act as endocrine disruptors. What this means is that parabens act like estrogens in the body. This could affect fertility, hormone balance, and risk of breast cancer.
Formaldehyde is a substance found in tiny amounts in humans, plants, and animals. However, in larger amounts, it can be very harmful. The FDA has found that nearly 1 in 5 cosmetic products contains this carcinogen. The Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry has stated that formaldehyde exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, upper respiratory tract, and skin. Even very low concentrations of formaldehyde have been known to cause allergenic symptoms.
Nearly all nail polishes contain notable amounts of formaldehyde, as well as Brazilian blowout treatments. However, product labels do not always list formaldehyde, even if there is formaldehyde in the product. This is because some manufacturers use "formaldehyde releasers". There are chemicals that, when you add them to water, decompose slowly to form formaldehyde molecules. Formaldehyde releasers include DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, bronopol, 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, and Hydroxymethylglycinate.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent. Therefore, it's found in a majority of commercially available soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes. Although it is effective for creating lather and for cleaning, it's also extremely harsh and irritating. Sodium lauryl sulfate can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and hair.
Using non-irritating, hypoallergenic products can make a world of difference to your skin's health. When your skin isn't irritated or stripped of its natural moisture, it can function properly and have a healthy glow. Consider making a switch to more natural products such as the following: