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Should I go Parabens Free?

“Paraben-free” skin care is becoming more and more mainstream.  While this is encouraging, there remain a number of other chemicals that are just as irritating and/or toxic, even in personal care products that claim to be natural. 

Check the ingredient list of your favorite products and make an informed decision about what goes on, and eventually into your Healthy Body!

Parabens  (methy-, butyl-, ethyl-, propyl-). 

A synthetic preservative believed to be an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen in the Healthy Body.  The elevated levels of estrogen can lead to certain cancers in women, lower birth weight in male babies, and can cause young girls to enter puberty early.

Phthalates & Fragrances  (Seldom listed in ingredients. Often hidden under “fragrance” or “perfume”) Used as a fragrance ingredient or penetration aid. 

Known to be a common allergen and irritant.    * Note, fragrance labeling on a product represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and are associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.

Sulphates: (Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) This synthetic cleansing / foaming agent is the leading cause of contact dermatitis. It is known to be harsh for skin, irritating to eyes or lungs.   According to Environment Canada, these are suspected to be an environmental toxin.

Petroleum/PEG   (PEG followed by a number). Often used as thickeners, solvents, softeners and moisture carriers. Petroleum ingredients have shown to cause allergies and skin irritation.  Depending on the manufacturing PEG’s may also be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.  They are also comedogenic; therefore especially bad for those prone to breakouts.

BHA /BHT  Use ofBHA is categorized by Health Canada as a “high human health priority”.  BHT is considered “moderate human health priorty”.  These ingredients are used primarily as a preservative and are common irritants.

TEA (Triethanoliamine)  A strongly alkaline ingredient used as a pH balancer, fragrance ingredient and emulsifier.  TEA is associated with skin and respiratory intoxicant. 

Propylene Glycol  Fragrance Ingredient, Humectant and skin conditioning agent that works by forming formaldehyde in cosmetics.  Classified as a strong irritant and some studies have that when mixed with certain ingredients, can be a potential carcinogen.

Diazolidinyl Urea  An anti-microbial preservative that is known as a harsh skin irritant.  In USA, approx. 20% of personal care items contain a formaldehyde-releaser and the frequency of contact allergy to these ingredients is much higher in Americans vs. Europeans. 

Chantal Ward, RN of Clarity Medspa & Laser Clinic, realizes that Healthy Living a 100% toxin free lifestyle is a challenge.  Regulations are inconsistent, ingredient names almost impossible to pronounce and customer needs vary.  Her Advise:  “Small changes, even with the purchase of more natural skin care, can move you towards a healthier lifestyle.”


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