Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It completely covers us from our head to our toes. It is also the conduit for toxins to enter the body which is why we need to be mindful of what we put on ourselves. Most of what goes onto our skin is absorbed directly into our bloodstream, therefore making it imperative that we understand what we are putting on our bodies everyday. Including your hair products. Do not, forget your scalp is also skin!
The first step in making the change to non-toxic and clean beauty products is understanding what ingredients to watch out for and why. I have made a list for you with some of the more common ingredients that are used in our cosmetics and why it’s important to avoid them.
Parabens: Parabens are preservatives used in almost all cosmetic products. They are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens can be found in makeup, moisturiser, hair products, shaving products and others. They are usually easy to identify by their name, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or ethyl paraben.
Why should you avoid this? Parabens are known to cause skin irritation. They also mimic estrogen in the body’s cells which can interfere with the way your body produces hormones. A study done in 2004 found parabens in 18-20 breast cancer patients. The study did not prove that parabens cause cancer, but that’s still a cause for concern to me!
Triclosan: Triclosan is a pesticide used to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It is added to some antibacterial soaps, body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics products. These are regulated by the FDA. It also can be found in clothing, kitchenware, furniture, and toys. These products are not regulated by the FDA.
Why should you avoid this? When triclosan is exposed to water it can create a toxic gas known as chloroform. This ingredient is known as an endocrine disruptor. This can result in infertility and weight gain. There is also on-going testing that use of this ingredient and UV exposure can cause skin cancer. The study has not been completed at this time.
Polyethylene Glycol aka PEG’s: PEG’s are included in most haircare products as a thickening agent. They are used to strip out the natural moisture in the hair that then needs to be replaced with silicone to give the illusion of soft silky hair.
Why should you avoid this? PEG’s have been classified as a “developmental toxicant,” this means that it may interfere with human development. PEG’s are listed as an ingredient in many popular infant and toddler shampoos, body lotions, and more.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/ Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLES): This ingredient is used as a surfactant (the foamy lather in your shampoo, bubble bath, body wash, soap etc.) Surfactants are found in 90% of personal care and hair care products.
Why should you avoid this? The main concern with SLS and SLES in your products is when combined with other chemicals can create a carcinogen. These combinations can cause various health issues including kidney damage. SLS’s are also known to cause skin, eye and lung irritation.
Phthalates: A cluster of chemicals used in hundreds of products to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics. The most common phthalate used is called dimethyl phthalate. This ingredient is most often found in hairsprays. Phthalates can also be hidden on your product label under the term “fragrance”. Fragrance is considered a trade secret and companies are not required to list chemicals used.
Why should you avoid this? Phthalates are a known endocrine disruptor and they have been known to increase chances of breast cancer, early breast development in young girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.
Dimethicone: A synthetic polymer and a form of silicon with two methyl groups. This explains the name Di-methicone. This is present in most hair care products. It is a cheap ingredient and it artificially softens and smooths the hair.
Why should you avoid this? Over time Dimethicone will dry out your hair and cause heavy build up. This is the reason why we end up with greasy roots and super dry ends. It has also been known to cause burning, itchy scalp.
I encourage you to check out the ingredient list on your favourite beauty products. Google them and learn the effects that they can have on your overall health with extended exposure. I recommend using this amazing app called thinkdirty. This app is a great tool to use to decipher ingredient lists and see if your products are as clean as they claim to be.
My goal as a clean beauty ambassador is to continue to research products that are effective and deliver exceptional results for women who don’t want to compromise. So, I am inviting you to book a consultation with one of our clean beauty experts at Salon True to help you with your switch to non toxic hair care solutions. Also, make sure you remember to subscribe to our email list to stay motivated and informed on the clean beauty trend!