The Dirty Dozen - 12 Ingredients You Should Question in Your Family's Skincare


Do you try to choose organic options when buying groceries for your family? Have you exchanged the cleaning products you use in your home for those with less harmful chemicals? Many parents have altered their buying behaviors when it comes to the food and household cleaners their children come in contact with, but what about the products your child comes in contact with every day? Skin and body products like soap, shampoo and lotion can also contain ingredients that may be potentially dangerous to your child’s health. In addition, these products are often left on your child’s skin, adding to the intensity of the exposure.

Our skin is highly permeable. This provides a greater opportunity for harmful chemicals to be absorbed into our skin, and potentially our blood stream. Dr. Samuel Epstein, the former Head of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, says “it is more dangerous to put a product on your skin than it is to eat it.”

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Let’s take a closer look at 12 potentially harmful ingredients, “The Dirty Dozen”, in the skincare products we use so you can make an informed choice about skin and body care products for your family!

#1 Artificial dyes and coal tar

Look at the back of your skincare product. If you see names like yellow #7 or red #5, your product has artificial dyes. Derived from coal tar, these dyes potentially cause cancer and include heavy metals that are toxic to the brain.

#2 Benzoates

Look for ingredients with names like benzyl, or sodium benzoate. These are known toxic chemicals.

#3 BHA and BHT

Butylated hydroxy anisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are both potential carcinogens and hormone disruptors.

#4 DEA, MEA and TEA

Diethanolamine (DEA), monoethanolamide (MEA) and ethanolamine (TEA) are used to make skincare products sudsy and creamy. Unfortunately, they also react to form cancer-causing nitrosamines.

#5 Dibutyl phthalate

Recent studies have linked phthalates, found in cosmetics and baby care products, to asthma, birth defects and cancer.

#6 Fragrance

A “parfum,” or “fragrance,” in a product can contain as many as 500 other ingredients. Not only can fragrance inflame and irritate skin, it can also contain by products, like petroleum, that are linked to cancer, asthma, allergies and even nerve damage.

#7 Lead

Found frequently in lipstick, lead is rarely listed in ingredients. It is linked to damage in both the brain and nervous system.

#8 Parabens

Parabens are to skincare as preservatives are to food. They are used to extend the shelf-life of body and skincare products. According to the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption, parabens have been linked to hormone disruption, hormonally-linked concerns, and reproductive disorders.

#9 Petrolatum

Derived from potentially cancer-causing petroleum products, petrolatum is found in products like petroleum jelly. Unfortunately, petroleum jelly is found in many baby products.

#10 Sodium lauryl sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate is used as a foaming agent in products like soaps, body washes and shampoos. Not only can sulfates be very drying and irritating to skin, there have been some studies that link it to cancer.

#11 Toluene

Commonly found in nail polish, toluene is extremely toxic ingredient and can cause potential damage to your nervous system, blood, eyes, liver, kidney and respiratory system.

#12 Triclosan

Found in products like toothpaste and antibacterial hand-sanitizer, triclosan is an antibacterial ingredient. The concern over the use of this ingredient is that it contributes to the development of virulent superbugs that may build resistance to drugs.

For the health of your body and your family’s, it’s important to look at your skincare labels. Due to some unfortunate loopholes, our FDA does not regulate the personal care industry. This means that chemicals that are linked to cancer, disease and birth defects in other industries, are knowingly added to skincare products. You, therefore, must be your own advocate for the health of your family.

Did you know that Kosmetikos skincare is free of every “Dirty Dozen” chemical? We make it easy to get your family started on safe and effective skincare!

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