Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on September 3, 2012. Enjoy!
Take a peek in your bathroom. Cabinets and shower included. How many bottles, tubes, containers and sticks of personal care products are staring back at you? Although we’re convinced these ointments, lotions, cremes and soaps help us to look and feel our best, most contain powerful chemical cocktails that could cause a host of health issues.
I’d like to think of myself as a conscious shopper. I look at labels, avoid brands known to support environmentally dangerous practices, and limit the number of personal care products I buy at all. (I only wear make-up about 10 times a year, so that helps.) Still, there are some things that are essential for good hygiene, right? Deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, facial scrub, toothpaste. Many would argue that these are health care essentials, yet they too contain dangerous ingredients that could upset the body’s hormonal balance (leading to weight gain and other hormone-related health problems), cause problems in sexual development and adult sexual function, as well as increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
When you weigh the potential of having cancer versus smelling ripe on a late summer afternoon, ditching the deodorant seems like a no-brainer. Here’s the thing–we don’t have to eliminate all of our personal care products. We just have to zero in on the ingredients that are up to no good, and avoid products that contain them. To help, here’s a list of the top 10 ingredients that don’t belong in your bathroom, adapted from this article from Natural Home & Garden (well worth the read if you’ve got the time). If you’re still worried or confused after you read the list, pop over to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for the latest research and advice on brands that are safe.
1. Prefixes Ethyl, Methyl, Butyl or Propyl
Common Name: Parabens
Why You Should Avoid It: Endocrine disrupters that mimic estrogen; linked to weight gain and breast cancer
Found In: Lotions and shampoos
2. Fragrance, DEHP, DHP, DBP 5, Dibutyl Phthalate
Common Name: Phthalates
Why You Should Avoid It: Sperm damage, infertility
Found In: Nail polish, shampoo, deodorant, lotion
3. Dyes: Blue 1, Green 3, Yellow 5 & 6, Red 33
Common Name: Coal tar
Why You Should Avoid It: Carcinogenic
Found In: Hair color, medicated shampoos
4. Triclosan, Chloro, Phenol, Irgasan
Common Name: Triclosan
Why You Should Avoid It: Endocrine and thyroid disrupter; promotes antibiotic-resistant bacteria; bioaccumulates in the body
Found In: Antibacterial soap, shampoo, facial cleanser, toothpaste, deodorant
5. 3-(4-methylbenzylidene)-camphor (4-MBC), octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC), octyl-dimethyl-PABA (OD-PABA), bexophenome-3 (Bp-3), homosalate (HMS)
Common Name: Sunscreen chemicals
Why You Should Avoid It: Estrogenic activity; enhances the potential for pesticides to penetrate the skin
Found In: Sunscreens
Keep Reading for 5 more ingredients that don’t belong in your bathroom…
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