In recent years, people have become wary of using artificial ingredients, especially those found in skin care and beauty products, because studies have shown that many of the chemicals carry risk. Some of these ingredients are even carcinogenic, or cancer causing. Because more and more people are turning to natural, eco-friendly products, many beauty companies now offer products that contain plant-based ingredients that not only work well but are also safe for human use. Below is a list of the best to worst skin care products, both those you should look for, and those you should avoid.
Ingredients to Look For
Botanical extracts are all the rage in beauty and skin care products, and for good reason. Some have been used with great effects for more than 5,000 years.
For skin lightening or diminishing dark spots, look for products which contain yoyuimin, which when combined with vitamins A, D, E, moisturizers, and regenerators, provides deep fibrin activity that stimulates melanin breakdown to lighten the skin.
For mature, sensitive, or inflamed, red skin, look for products containing rose extract, which is not only one of the most antiseptic essences, but which also works as a soothing tonic for moisturizing, smoothing, and firming skin. It also works well to diminish redness from broken capillaries.
Products containing ginseng stimulate cell growth, extend the cellular life span, and heal minor skin damage.
Green tea is well known for its antioxidant capabilities, which attack the free radicals that damage the skin.
For anti-aging and firming qualities look for products containing sea algae, which also contains antioxidants.
Additionally, products containing pearl essences quicken the circulation and metabolism of skin, helping to keep the skin elastic.
Ingredients to Avoid
Parabens are used as preservatives in many products. Some studies indicate parabens may be linked to breast cancer, because traces of them have been found in breast tumor biopsies. Some studies have also shown that parabens can cause reproductive abnormalities in males. Products containing parabens that are meant to stay on the skin for any extended length of time are especially concerning.
Phthalates have been shown to cause liver cancer and birth defects in animals. They are most commonly found in fragrances, lotions, deodorants, and hair products. Look for products scented with purely botanical products, such as essences of cattleya orchid or lily.
Used as a preservative, formaldehyde is found in many beauty products. Commonly used in eye shadows, mascaras, and other products, formaldehyde has been deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency to be a probable human carcinogen.
Heavy Metals: Lead and Mercury
Lead, a nasty toxin to the brain and nervous system, is a known carcinogen. It is also a powerful hormone disruptor and accumulates in the bones. Yet, unbelievably, it is still found in some hair dyes and makeup as lead acetate. Mercury, another nervous system toxin, is still allowed as a preservative in eye cosmetics.
Coal Tar Colors
These ingredients are dyes found in many hair and makeup products. Any product containing “FD&C blank” or “D&C blank” should send a red flag. In particular, FD&C Blue 1 and FD&C Green 3 are known carcinogens. D&C Red 33, FD&C Yellow 5, and FD&C Yellow 6 have been shown to cause cancer when applied to the skin.
Looking for Alternatives
Luckily, more and more companies are creating products that use only natural ingredients, which seem to be safer, as well as gentler to the skin. There is a plethora of plant based, botanical, herbal, and marine based products that do the trick without the risks seen in artificial ingredients. They have been used for thousands of years because they not only work well, but are also safer.