3 Cosmetic Ingredients Bad For You And The Environment


I cannot tell you how much I love cosmetics and all things makeup. Almost all girls do! But ever since I started checking the ingredient list and reading up on what the ingredients actually do, I can tell you I’m not quite in love anymore.

In fact, most of the cosmetics you have at home are full of ingredients that are causing much damage to you, and of course to the environment. So the next time you reach out for that tube or jar, take a look at what you actually are going to use.

1. BHA And BHT (Mostly Found In Moisturizers) – BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) and BHT are used as preservatives mainly in your moisturizer and other makeup products. The two are suspected to cause hormonal interference, as well as possible increase your risk of cancer [1,2]. Use of BHA can lead to dry and brittle skin, as well as increase your chances of skin sensitivity and sunburn. BHA causes extreme toxicity in aquatic areas and is potentially life-threatening for the marine life. BHT can lead to bio-accumulation in aquatic species, which means the species collect a lot of toxic chemicals inside them [3].

A Natural Approach – Aloe vera is great for all skin types. If you have the plant at home, apply the gel on your face, or buy natural aloe vera gel from your local pharmacy or online.

2. Triclosan (Mostly Found In Hand Soaps And Hand Sanitizers) – Regular exposure to triclosan can cause skin irritation and gradual inflammation [4, 5]. Not just that, it also interferes with muscle function and can lead to poor grip strength. When triclosan mixes with water bodies, it does not get filtered out through regular waste water treatment plants. It is extremely toxic for algae and other aquatic ecosystems, and is also found in extremely high levels in earthworms. Not only can it kill such organisms and aquatic life, it can also harm the earthworms which are extremely important for the health of our soil and plant life.

A Natural Approach – Try using handkerchiefs to clean your hands. Add a few drops of tea tree or grapeseed essential oil as they are natural disinfectants.

3. Siloxanes, Also Known As Silicones (Mostly Found In Skin Creams And Anti-Aging Products) – Siloxanes can coat your skin in a soft velvety layer, preventing the dirt and bacteria that are already present in your skin from escaping and trapping them even further [6]. Siloxanes can also cause bioaccumulation in aquatic species.

A Natural Approach – Did you know that including ginger in your daily diet is a natural way to prevent wrinkles, as it is high in its antioxidant content? I’ve been having ginger in my diet for many years now, and though I am 35 and have not used any anti-aging products, my skin is still wrinkle-free (just saying).

Image source: Pixabay


[1] Chemoprevention of cancer: phenolic antioxidants (BHT, BHA). Hocman G. Int J Biochem. 988;20(7):639-51. Review.PMID:3053283

[2] Study on Enhancing the Endocrine Disrupter Priority List with a Focus on Low Production Volume Chemicals, Revised Report to DG Environment (Hersholm, Denmark: DHI Water and Environment, 2007)

[3] UNEP and OECD, 2,6-di-tert-butyl-p-cresol (BHT) Screening Information Data Set: Initial Assessment Report.

[4] Surgical hand disinfection: comparison of 4% chlorhexidine detergent solution and 2% triclosan detergent solution. Bendig JW. J Hosp Infect. 1990 Feb;15(2):143-8. PMID:1969436

[5] WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care: First Global Patient Safety Challenge Clean Care Is Safer Care. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. 14, Skin reactions related to hand hygiene. Available from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov,books,NBK144008

[6] Effect of silicone on the collagen fibrillogenesis and stability.Kadziński L, Prokopowicz M, Jakóbkiewicz-Banecka J, Gabig-Cimińska M, Łukasiak J, Banecki B.J Pharm Sci. 2015 Apr;104(4):1275-81. doi: 10.1002/jps.24351. Epub 2015 Jan 14.PMID:25589402

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