While all chemicals are not bad or harmful in isolation, some may harm or create side effects in combination while other chemicals in beauty products should be avoid when pregnant.
However there are certain groups of chemicals which have come under the spotlight, more prominently than the others for their direct or possible linkage to various kinds of cancers and other ailments.
SLS free body wash, Paraben free shampoo, Pthalate free face cream.... These are common terms we hear and see nowadays. But what exactly are these and why have they been termed the culprits out of many others?
SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a widely used and inexpensive chemical found in many mainstream personal hygiene products such as shampoos, toothpastes, mouthwashes, soaps, detergents and body wash. SLS is a detergent and surfactant which essentially means it breaks surface tension which separates molecules and allows better interaction between the product and your hair for instance. This in turn creates a lather which makes products such as shampoo and toothpaste more effective cleaners. SLS should not be confused with SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) which is much milder and is widely used instead of SLS nowadays.
SLS is believed to cause skin irritation in some people and there is also a debate about it being linked to cancer.
Parabens are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and they are used as preservatives, that's why they are found in so many products. They are used to fight bacteria and fungus, are widely available, and cost very little to manufacture and use. They easily penetrate the skin and are believed to interfere with hormone function. Parabens can mimic estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. They have been detected in human breast cancer tissues, suggesting a possible association between parabens in cosmetics and cancer. Parabens may also interfere with male reproductive functions. In addition, studies indicate that methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage. When looking for products that contain parabens, look hard. Parabens have many names including methyl, propyl, butyl, ethyl and sometime even just general or artificial fragrance.
Phthalate is a chemical plasticizing element that is often used as a preservative. Phthalates can be found in over 72% of beauty products like deodorants, nail polish, hair spray perfumes, lotions, creams, and powders. The chemicals from these products can be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.
However, research links this chemical group to health and reproductive concerns too. For example, according to the environmental lobby group phthalates affect hormone levels, semen quality and genital development in male fetus.
People who are generally wary of harmful chemicals should read labels carefully and look out for these chemicals in their products. A lot of companies today are choosing to go phthalate, sulfate and paraben free. Natural and organic beauty product manufacturers from reputed companies have started declaring the absence of these chemicals on their labels.
If you have a history of cancer in your family or if you simply want to opt for a more natural lifestyle free of harmful chemicals, eliminating products containing the above chemicals might be a good idea. However trying to get rid of everything at one go might be overwhelming or simply impossible. A more appropriate approach is to try to eliminate one product at a time and in order of priority. For example, body lotions which stay on your skin for longer hours should be more carefully chosen versus a body wash which you apply and rinse off quickly.
Living naturally is a way of life. Taking small steps towards natural living will ensure you remain on the right track rather than it being just a timely fad.
Read other articles by the Author: Top Tips To Clean Safely And Organically!, Tips to have pretty looking nails, Organic Care For Oily Skin, Don't Let Dry Skin Dull Your Sunshine, 6 Amazing Natural Hacks To Food Colouring#beautytip