1. Triclosan and Triclocarban
There has been a lot of hype around this one in New Zealand at the moment as news has gone viral about Colgate Total (possibly our most common toothpaste) containing it! Triclosan is an antibacterial product but even the United States Federal Drug Administration (US FDA) states there are no health benefits from using it. Triclosan and Triclocarban can be found in antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products.Triclosan has been linked to hormonal disruptions, impaired muscle function, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, lowered immune function, increased allergies and damage to our aquatic environment. The reality is there are so many natural antibacterial products such as Manuka Honey, Peppermint Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Coconut Oil which can replace Triclosan so why take the risk? For a toothpaste without Triclosan which is still antibacterial try our M&R Organic Cococlean Toothpaste.
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) is used often in beauty products, perfumes and fragrances to extend their shelf lives but the European Union (EU) considers it unsafe for use in fragrances. BHA is likely human carcinogen (causes cancer). Studies on animals saw stomach cancer form, liver damage, hormonal disruptions and issues with the reproductive system. Finally, BHA can cause skin depigmentation.
3. SLS / SLES / ALS / DEA / TEA / MEA
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) along with Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS), Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate are used to make products such as shampoo, face wash, body wash, mouth wash and toothpaste more effective cleaners. SLS / SLES / ALS is considered to play a big role is cystic acne forming around the mouth and chin. These products may also strip your hair, cause skin irritation, eye damage and affect your skins natural oil balance.
Parabens are found in so many products including but not limited to moisturiser, shaving creams, shampoo, makeup, personal lubricant and fake tan products. Parabens are usually used as preservatives in personal care products as they can stop fungus, bacteria and other unwanted microbes growing. Although the FDA has not yet ruled parabens as harmful they do acknowledges several studies that link parabens to things such as breast cancer, mimicking estrogen and lowering sperm count. When looking for parabens in products ingredients sometimes they can be listed with prefixes like ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is often used in face scrubs, body scrubs, body wash, makeup and toothpaste. PEG is the little beads in products like scrubs which are used to exfoliate the skin. They are often chosen over safer natural alternatives like walnut shells because they are gentler on the skin. The issue is they are thought to be a human carcinogen and they can easily penetrate the skin. In addition to this PEG can be a skin irritant and can actually increase the appearance of ageing, reduce the skins natural moisture and increases your skin's vulnerability to bacteria. A final issue with PEG is it can affect our aquatic environment as it does not break down easily.
6. Coal Tar
Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine are all forms of coal tar which are byproducts of coal processing. Coal tar is used in some anti-dandruff and psoriasis shampoos as well as hair dyes. Coal tar is a human carcinogen and although Europe has banned many coal tars from use in hair dyes New Zealand and America still sell shampoos for psoriasis containing coal tar.
Hydroquinone is found in some skin lighteners as it bleaches the skin. The US FDA states use of Hydroquinone on the skin can lead to the developments of blue-black lesions on the skin. In New Zealand, hydroquinone is registered as a Pharmacy Only Medicine in creams containing hydroquinone in concentrations up to 2%. In addition to this, some doctors' offices may sell other brands with concentrations up to 4%. We recommend looking for natural skin whitening products that contain liquorice instead like our M&R Essentials Organic Tuberosa Day Cream.
Oxybenzone which is found in some sunscreens is a high-risk chemical to use on your skin. It may disrupt the hormone system acting like estrogen within the body, altering sperm production for men and causing endometriosis in women. A much safer alternative is to choose sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide instead.
Formaldehyde is often found in nail polish. You can currently find it in everyone's favourite brand OPI, although they have pledged to remove it. Formaldehyde is toxic and can cause headaches, respiratory problems, endocrine disruption and most alarmingly birth defects! Until OPI removes formaldehyde I will be choosing brands like Butter London who do not use toxic ingredients in their nail polish.
It is a bit scary what is out there and it shows again how important it is to read the ingredients of products before you use them. My rule of thumb is; if you can't eat it don't put it on your skin, as 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your blood. When you buy M&R Essentials products you can be confident that they are free of any of these nasty ingredients and that all our products are safe to eat, not that I am suggesting you supplement our Organic Bright Eyes Cream into your diet haha.