#8 – Four More Harmful Chemicals in Skin Care Products

Jul 16th, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

This series concludes today with a description of four more harmful chemicals found in skin care products, and some even in food.  These chemicals are found in the most expensive products, as well as the cheap ones you can buy at your local drug store, across the counter.


  1. Dibutyl phthalate:  DBP is used in nail products as a solvent and plasticizer that keeps polish from becoming brittle.  It is absorbed through the skin (the largest organ we have).  In some laboratory experiments, developmental defects have been identified by researchers.  Other research links DBP and DEP (diethyl phthalate) to kidney and liver failure in children.  (This chemical is also used in soft vinyl children’s toys and child care articles.)  The David Suzuki Foundation recommends the consumers, “…opt for products that do not list “parfum” or “fragrance” as an ingredient.
  2. PEGs:  Polyethylene Glycols are petroleulm-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetic creams as thickeners, solvents, softeners and moisture-carriers.  As SCJ has stated in previous articles, 1,4-dioxane has been identified as a possible human carcinogen.  PEGs can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, depending on the manufacturing process.  Anything that is a ‘possible human carcinogen’ is on my DoNotUse-List.
  3. Siloxanes are silicone-based chemicals used in skin care products to soften, smooth and moisten.  The Suzuki Foundation reports “They make hair products dry more quickly and deodorant creams slide on more easily.  They are also used extensively in moisturizers and facial treatments.”  So what’s the problem?  They are toxic and can bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms, thus becoming much more toxic than the original product.  Siloxanes affect the reproductive and immune systems, creating havoc with both.
  4. Triclosan is used in antiperspirants, cleansers and hand sanitizers as a preservative and anti-bacterial agent.  It is also found in garbage bags, toys, linens, mattresses, toilet fixtures, clothing, furniture fabric, paint, laundry detergent and facial tissues.  Of course, it’s also in skin care products.  Triclosan is suspected of interfering with hormone function (endocrine disruption).  The most scary report, however, is that triclosan may contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Although this chemical is added in small amounts, the issue is that triclosan is used in so many products that the small amounts add up.  This chemical does not degrade; it bioaccumulates.

SCJ believes the important issue in all 12 of these ‘Dirty Dozen’ chemicals is that the research either clearly links them to human disease and death, or there is ‘an association’ between the chemical and illness such as cancer or reproductive problems.  The other frightening issue is that many of these chemicals bio-accumulate.  That means they do not degrade in the environment/water/soil, and the compilation of all of them over time are hundreds of times the ‘accepted level’ as prescribed by governmental agencies regulating these chemicals.  That makes them potentially lethal.

With safe and beneficial skin care and nutrition products available, it is not necessary to subject ourselves, our children and families and our environment to these potentially deadly chemicals.  We have other options.



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