6 Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare Products

Chemical and contaminants linked to cancer can be found in food, water, and many other everyday products, including those you put on your skin. However, no category of consumer products is subject to less government oversight than cosmetics and other personal care products. One of the reasons we started Restoracell was to share skincare products that “restore healthy skin at the cellular level” and  do not harm your health with toxic ingredients.

Since 2009, 595 cosmetics manufacturers have reported using 88 chemicals in more than 73,000 products that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. According to the Environmental Working Group, (EWG), American women use an average of six personal care products that contain 85 different chemicals each day, while men use an average of six personal care products that contain 85 other chemicals. Many of these products are applied directly to the skin, the body's largest organ, where ingredients are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Like me, you may find it overwhelming to ensure that what you are putting on your skin is safe.

Restoracell products are 100% free of any harmful chemicals or chemical preservatives. For maximum safety of skin health, Restoracell uses methods that naturally preserve the product while effectively delivering ingredients deep into the skin (i.e. paraben free).

I am not a doctor or a scientist but a concerned mother, wife, grandmother, and daughter passionate about protecting my family and friends from harmful ingredients. I have spent the last four years studying the ingredients and potential dangers of consumer goods and gladly share the information when I have the opportunity.

Here is a list of the top chemicals to avoid in your skincare products:

Fragrance- While many of us love nice-smelling things, fragrance (not essential oil) should raise a red flag. The FDA does not regulate synthetic fragrances in the United States. According to the EWG, there are 3,100-plus chemicals used in the fragrance industry. Fragrance chemicals, like other toxic chemicals, can pass from the skin to the blood. It is alarming when we do not know what's in them or whether they are safe for short and long-term use. And, because manufacturers in the United States are not required to list their fragrance ingredients on product labels, you can never be sure to which you are exposed. (You should watch out for products containing ingredients such as fragrance, eau de toilette, perfume, and aroma on  labels.)

The American Academy of Dermatology reported fragrances to be the leading cause of allergic reactions on the skin. They cause dermatitis and rashes, and about 35% of people report migraines or respiratory problems.

Phthalates- This compound is not listed among ingredients but is often hidden under the "fragrance" umbrella. Phthalates are significant endocrine disruptors, facilitating early puberty in girls and boys and reducing sperm count in men. However, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), new research reveals that exposure to these widely used chemicals can also harm brain development, increasing the risk for learning and behavioral issues in children. Phthalates are used in cosmetics as lubricants, and you can find these in products such as moisturizers, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polish.

Parabens –"Methyl, Butyl, propyl, and ethyl parabens have been linked to hormone disruption. Parabens are probably the most familiar ingredients to avoid due to a 2004 research paper that appeared to find traces of parabens in breast cancer tissue samples. Parabens are in skincare products such as moisturizers and deodorants.  

Formaldehyde – Despite decades of research that classifies formaldehyde as a known carcinogen, it is still a fairly common ingredient in many products. Short-term exposure can cause skin irritation, difficulty breathing, watery eyes, and burning in the nose when inhaled.  Formaldehyde, widely used as preservatives in skincare and cosmetics, is mainly used in nail polish, makeup, lotions, and deodorants.  

PFAS- Scientists are still learning about the impact PFAS exposure may have on human health, but preliminary evidence (https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/index.html) has linked PFAS exposure to cancer, reproductive harm, and damage to the immune system.

According to research scientist and green cosmetic chemist Yashi Shrestha, "they're fluorinated chemicals in sunscreens, hair products, and shaving creams”. The CDC says some of the potential health effects of PFAS exposure includes increased cholesterol levels, increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer, changes in liver enzymes and decreased vaccine response in children.

Oxybenzone - (benzophenone-3 or BP-3) is an organic compound that stabilizes and strengthens the color and scent of skincare products.  Its most important use is in the form of sunblock. It absorbs UV Beta and UV Alpha rays and is common in regular lotion sunscreens and makeup foundations with an SPF. In addition, it quickly dissolves into lotions and creams, producing an easily absorbed product that protects the skin from the sun.

Oxybenzone can cause severe skin allergies, redness, and irritation. One of the biggest concerns over Oxybenzone is that the body quickly absorbs it. This absorption may accumulate in the body, eventually leading to potentially toxic levels which may affect the endocrine system. Oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor. In addition, studies have shown that Oxybenzone mimics the hormone estrogen, possibly leading to conditions such as skin and breast cancer.

I encourage you to do your research on these and other potentially harmful chemicals in your skincare products. I use a couple of apps that help me. One is EWG Healthy Living, and another one is Think Dirty. Both have extensive databases on products with their ingredients rated for safety.

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