There’s a big market out there for natural beauty and this is down to the fact that most other products contain chemicals than could be bad for you. Not only can some of these synthetic ingredients dry out your skin, but some can be really harmful to your health too.
Here’s a list of ingredients to avoid in your beauty products.
These ingredients are used to prolong the shelf life of a product. They have, however, been shown to cause allergic reactions in some people. Studies haven’t been conclusive in proving that parabens are dangerous but they have been linked to cancer, which is why a lot of people are choosing to avoid them.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
These have been associated with cancer in lab animals and can cause problems for people who use them over an extended period of time. In beauty products they can dry out your skin and, in some people, cause allergic reactions.
This mineral oil is best avoided. Although it’s not dangerous, it’s bad quality and can really clog up your skin. Manufacturers use it because it’s a cheap bulking agent that makes you look like you’re getting more for your money.
Instead of moisturising the skin it creates a barrier, trapping in whatever existing moisture is already there. This inhibits you body’s natural ability to moisturise itself. The more you use a petroleum jelly, the more you’ll need to, as when it wears off your skin will feel even drier.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Also known as SLS, this is a cheap ingredient used in shampoos to help it to lather up. It causes eye irritation, dry scalp and allergic reactions.
There’s no need for shampoos to lather up as much as they do but people are often put off by more natural shampoos that don’t lather.
This is used in a number of hair styling products and is considered toxic if inhaled. It can also build up on your hair so if you do use products containing it (such as hairspray) then you should use a clarifying shampoo once in a while to remove it.
This is a fabric softener that the beauty industry has taken and put into cheap shampoos and conditioners. Manufacturers do this to save money when really they should be looking for natural conditioning agents.
These are often just labelled as ‘fragrance’ on an ingredients list and should be avoided because there is no way of telling how that scent has been achieved. In most cases it’s from synthetic ingredients. People have been known to get headaches, dizziness, rashes and respiratory problems from these fragrances.
Finally, be aware that there’s no regulation on natural products. Some brands might call a product natural just because it has a few natural ingredients. Always take a look at the ingredients list, less is often more.