Toxins in Skincare - Video of Round Table Event

Toxins in Skincare - Video of Round Table Event

Posted by Courtney Henslee on Aug 26th 2020


Did you miss the virtual event? Watch the full round table discussion here:

Introduction by Courtney Henslee

The United States has the most lax laws on topical products of any nation in its wealth bracket. The last time a law was made around topical products it was 1938. This was before skincare formulators even had access to the broad spectrum of chemicals they do today. There are only 8 chemicals banned for topical use in the United States.

The FDA does NOT ASSESS TOPICAL PRODUCTS. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel does, and they are owned by the elite manufacturers! The skincare industry is policing the skincare industry.

Manufacturers and formulators claim that the doses of these known harmful chemicals say that the doses are “small enough” that they will not cause problems to the human body (they do not even bother addressing the environment btw). BUT...

Women use an average of 12 products in day. Even if you are only using 4 skincare products (body soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion) then you are likely well above the “acceptable” dose for the chemicals in your skincare products.

Please ask yourself, what is the acceptable dose of a lotion ingredient that causes kidney and liver damage?

What is the acceptable dose of a soap that causes cancer?

What is the acceptable dose of ingredients that will likely crash aquatic ecosystems with accumulation?

Common Toxins Found in Skincare Products

  • Parabens– common preservative linked to breast cancer and hormone disruption. Hormone disruption = other cancers
  • Phthalates– a “plastisizer” used in actual plastics and now skincare. Endocrine disruptor. Exposure linked to fertility problems, developmental issues, breast cancer, asthma, obesity
  • Fragrance– so sneaky!! No naming of the actual ingredient. Can be one of hundreds of synthetic chemicals that cause headaches, reproductive infertility, and skin rashes
  • SLS – Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Sodium Lauryth Sulfate(a few other names, but not limited to- sulfuric acid monododecyl ester sodium salt, sodium salt, hydrogen sulfate dodecyl alcohol, sodium dodecansesulfate, sodium monododecyl sulfate). SLS and its family of chemicals are CHEMICAL DETERGENTS. This is not the same thing as soap, which is naturally derived. Anything that makes bubbles or lather these days has some form of SLS or “coconut based” sls ingredients which seems less harmful, but I am treating just as many rashes from them. At the very least it is a known skin irritant. So well known, in fact, that it is used to CREATE LESIONS on rabbits in labs so they can then test healing ointments. If you want to google those images, go ahead, but be very prepared. Definitively linked to skin cancer though “newer” studies are attempting to unlink it. The rinse protocol on the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for SLS and its sister chemicals is to rinse for 15 MINUTES. Are you rinsing all foaming products off your body and face for 15 minutes in each area? Let me insert that I really do believe in whatever number of years 50, 100... we will finally find out that this is why skin cancer is so pervasive. We are all using a known carcinogen all over our bodies and no one is telling us to rinse it for a full 15 minutes. Many of us don’t even take a 15 minute shower from start to finish. Also look for the name Cocamidopropyl Betaine. This is a newer version of SLS touted as “gentler and safer.” That may be slightly true, but it is STILL a known problem ingredient with rashes, face swelling, and is an environmental toxin.
  • Retinyl Palmitate and Retinol– also just called “vitamin A” in many ads and lists. Touted as one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients. Women often seek prescription retinol creams from the dermatologist. These are SYNTHETIC forms of vitamin a linked to accelerated skin cancer growth. The natural forms of vitamin a occur in Rose Hip Seed Oil and Sea Buckthorn Oil. Whole plant vitamins are safe. Single ones- no good!
  • Phenoxyethanol– when you google the word by itself the first listing says - “Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in many cosmetics and personal care products. You may have a cabinet full of products containing this ingredient in your home, whether you know it or not.” Manufacturers of it must use hazmat suit type protections because a small exposure can make workers extremely ill. Skin irritant and lung irritant. National Library of Medicine lists it as having adverse effects on central and peripheral nervous system
  • Liquid Plastics– there are so many! They are in your skincare to create a false sense of moisture that lasts longer than natural oils and butters. They give a slippery feel to shampoos and soaps and coat the hair to create “shine”. Any time you see “fills in fine lines and wrinkles” it has one of these liquid plastics.
    • Acrylates Copolymers(they can be listed with one or both words together) Originally used to make acrylic nails and now used in skincare. Skin rash, Cancer, Neurological damage
    • Dimethicone and silicon– there are many names. Look for anything ending in “cone or con”
    • Carbomer aka polyacrylic acid - TOXIC- fatalities with as little as 1.5 grams ingested. toxicity in topical applications unknown” it’s just UNKNOWN, but we are gonna keep adding it to stuff?!
    • Polyethylene– previously mostly used to manufacture micro-beads, now included as a liquid plastic. These kinds of heavy molecular weight plastics are becoming increasingly concerning for the environment. Some countries have banned them completely because they are seeing environmental impact. If plastic micro-beads are causing definite problems, what are these impossible-to-clean-up liquid plastics going to do in our ecosystems? Some products have or more DIFFERENT liquid plastics. MANY companies that claim to be “natural” and “organic” are using them. Do not be fooled.
  • Glycerin– no longer comes from a natural source. This is a byproduct of the petroleum industry. It is called a “Humectant” - which means that supposedly it pulls moisture from the air and pulls it into the skin. For people in dry climates I ESPECIALLY caution against its use because in these conditions it undoubtedly has been shown to pull moisture out of the skin and pushing it out to the air . I SEE GLYCERIN ALLERGIES ALL THE TIME despite that dermatologists claim it is completely safe. Contact dermatitis is often caused by simply frequent exposure to any chemical at all. Glycerin (like dimethicone and silicon) are now in EVERYTHING. I’ve seen everything from rashes to acne caused by glycerin.
  • Cyclopentasiloxane - Persistent bio-accumulation in wildlife from human sources (water run-off). Classified as expected to be toxic/harmful. Uterine tumors in rats through vapor inhalation. Caused sexual organ shrinkage in the rat’s subsequent offspring (so this will also likely happen to wildlife and us as we use it in our homes, and it gets into the environment). Interferes with dopamine in the brain. Called a “dopamine agonist”. Has long half-life, it does not easily break down in the environment or in animal bodies.

How to Look Things Up

This world of internet info at your fingertips is powerful, but not easy to navigate for truth and facts.

The Environment Working Group website can be one place you look, but it should never be where you stop looking up an ingredient. The EWG is still also funded predominantly by huge corporate bodycare manufacturers. I find their info on ingredients to be sorely lacking.

Google the name of the ingredient + “scientific study”

Example type: Cyclopentasiloxane scientific study. This will bring up the ingredient and scientific peer reviewed studies about it. Reading scientific studies is certainly not everyone’s past-time. So here are some pointers. Find the “Summary” or “abstract” of the study. This is the short report on what they did and how the study turned out. Look at how long the study was conducted for. It can take weeks and even months for a person to have contact dermatitis from many of these chemicals. This is a perfect example of how they get away with these ingredients because they refuse to do long term studies. Look at what the ingredient has been pitted against. Ex: coconut oil vs mineral oil. Of course, coconut oil “wins” as the moisturizer because mineral oil is very drying. Ex: glycerin vs urea/salt blend. Glycerin wins as safer because it caused fewer rashes. 

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This information is not meant to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure any illness.