10 nasties found in everyday skin and haircare products that you should avoid.

10 nasties found in everyday skin and haircare products that you should avoid.

It is very easy to choose the right non toxic ingredients you love when in comes to skin and body products. Retinol, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Antioxidants all feed the skin. But what about what we should stay away from.

Here are 10 to avoid… It is what we don’t put on our skin that is just as important and makes all the Organic difference.

“your skin in like a sponge, don’t absorb toxins”


Alkaline substances are often used in skin and hair care products to neutralise excess amounts of acid within a product. A common alkali used in such a way is ammonium chloride, which has been cited to cause skin rashes. This substance is also used in the making of fire extinguishers.


Over the past century success in reproducing the natural aromas in the form of synthetic fragrances has today formed an industry in itself. It is important to understand that chemicals easily invade the body through inhalation and skin contact, not just through what we eat. When we consider that a fragrance can represent a cocktail of up to 200 chemicals, all personal care items that contain artificial fragrances are nothing short of a recipe for disaster. Why then are they used? Cost is the primary reason. To cite a simple example, natural rose oil can cost thousands of dollars per kilogram, whereas a low quality chemical substitute can be added at less than 1% of the price.


Home used products such as shampoos and cleaning products account for almost 30% of phosphates in our sewerage system. Phosphates strongly contribute to the outbreak of the highly toxic blue green algae, a substance that is poisoning our waterways and killing marine life. Toxic blue green algae is 10 times more lethal than strychnine and 200 times more lethal than cyanide.


Enzymes are protein molecules that maintain the life process within a living organism. Unfortunately the crude industrial methods that are prevalent nowadays such as intensives heat treatments often render a product lifeless. As a consequence, enzymes need to be added to generate a rebirth for the product. The junk food that we are often persuaded to eat would be rather difficult to eat if it were not treated with added enzymes prior to our consumption.


Bleaching and brightening chemicals have little or no place in an effective home care product. They are used simply as a marketing tool to highlight (brighteners) or remove (bleach) colours in order to persuade the consumer that they have purchased a superior product. The most common bleaches are chlorine and peroxide, each having its own destructive effect on the environment and our health.


Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers – and in 90% of products that foam. Animal exposed to SLS and ALS experience eye damage, central nervous system depression, laboured breathing, diarrhoea, severe skin irritation, and even death. Young eyes may not develop properly if exposed to SLS and ALS because proteins are dissolved. SLS and ALS may also damage the skin’s immune system by causing layers to separate and inflame.


As the word suggests, fillers are used to add size or weight to a product to give a ‘ value for money ‘impression. Common fillers include, mica and bismuth oxychloride, a byproduct of lead and the copper refining process. Other common filler ingredients include rice powder, silk protein, boron nitride, cornstarch, tapioca starch, silica spheres and talc.


Coal tar is used to seal wooden light poles, to make roadways and is used in many personal care items (commonly used in the making of artificial colours). Coal tar has an element called PAH that is suspected to be carcinogenic. Anti-dandruff shampoo contain tar derivatives and it is said, that after just one hair wash it is possible to absorb as much PAH as a coal worker does in a full days work. Coal tar is widely known to cause cancer in animals and can be the cause of skin rashes and hives. It is often used in the personal care industry as a solvent.


Artificial Colouring agents are another in a long line of chemicals in modern society that are fundamentally used to attract more consumer dollars and nothing more. Often such agents as FD & C yellow or FD & C green could be used to make a product appear as though it contained the natural ingredients of honey or seaweed for example. Two examples are FD & C blue no.1 which has been shown to cause tumours in animals and FD & C red no.40 which is made from carcinogenic substances. Both considered safe when released on the market yet later were found to have detrimental side effects.


The slogan “ not tested on animals “ is often misleading. Governments around the world demand that many ingredients be tested for safety before they are included in a skin care formula. Products that contain artificial colours (FD & C Colours), fragrances, artificial preservatives or synthetic chemicals are products in question. Many of these ingredients must legally be tested on animals before they are used on the human skin. The product itself may not be tested on animals, unfortunately a major portion of the ingredients are.

· Beaver: Castoreum is from the beavers dried sex glands and is used in perfumes

· Beetle: Carmine is a colour obtained from crushing the bodies of beetles.

· Cattle and Chickens: In most cases Collagen is a by-product from the slaughter of cattle and chickens. Hyaluronic acid comes from the combs of roosters.

· Deer: Musk is used in perfumes and is taken from the glands of deer.

· Mink: A by-product of slaughtered minks, Mink Oil is used in moisturisers, shampoo and conditioners.

· Rabbit and Guinea Pig: Using products with FD & C Colours encourages animal testing that is required by some governments.

· Sheep: Tallow is used in soap, lipstick and shaving cream and is made by boiling the organs and tissue of sheep.

· Whale: Ambergris is from the intestines of the sperm whale and is used in some perfumes. Spermaceti is from the head of the sperm whale and is used in some cosmetics.

One thing is certain and doesn’t lie - the ingredients list. Get beyond the front of the pack and a quick scan of the back will reveal all you need to know and just may make all the difference when choosing the best and safest products. After all your skin is like a sponge, and will absorb whatever you put on it.
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