It’s easy to see a product labeled “natural” or “organic” and assume that it is somehow automatically better for you and your skin. However, the real test to perform for the healthy truth is to look at the ingredients listed on the back. There are some controversial chemicals that you’ll want to avoid that are more important than the label of “organic” or “natural.” It is also important to remember that “organic” or “natural” skincare products can contain botanical/plant ingredients that can be highly allergic and may not be regulated by the FDA.
Parabens: There are common preservatives that are used to prevent bacterial growth in products. Parabens have been faced with a lot of scrutiny due to their behavior in the body as mimickers of estrogen. Estrogen disruption has been linked to reproductive issues and breast cancer. While parabens have yet to be directly linked to causing cancer, there is growing concern about their unknown effects when accumulated in the body.
Phthalates: Phthalates are chemicals that have been used to soften plastic and vinyl by increasing their flexibility. Many of these have been banned in children’s toys, but can still be found in some fragrances and nail polish. Some studies have shown that these chemicals can be endocrine disrupters, which cause disturbances in the body’s hormones.
Sulfates: Sulfates help with the lathering component in shampoos, body washes, and face washes. You’ll often see products in the store with big letters that say “Sulfate-Free.” A push for these products has occurred because sulfates can irritate the skin, and fade hair dye.
Triclosan: A lesser-known additive, this antibacterial ingredient is included in many products such as toothpaste, soaps, and even toys. Triclosan is currently being researched for its possible disruption of the body’s hormonal regulation and immune system, as well as its adverse effects on the environment.
Although avoiding all chemicals is usually not possible, anyone with sensitive or allergic skin should look out for these ingredients.