Being a smart consumer these days is extremely important. One of the first things you should know is how to read labels and why. The skin is the largest organ of the body and as much as 60% of what you apply to it topically will enter into it. The two BIG ingredients I always point out to my clients are Parabans and SLS. Read below to find out why.Tip: My favorite database to find ingredients is the Skin Deep Cosmetic’s EWG (Environmental Working Group). It is well organized and there are at least 74,873 products to search.Parabans
What are they?

Parabans are used as preservatives in many formulas used by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. They are found in shampoos, makeup, moisturizers, shaving gels, lubricants, topical lubricants, spray tanning solution and even toothpaste. They are used to fight bacteria and fungus, are widely available, and cost very little to manufacture and use. Nearly all of the parabens used as preservatives are man-made and not naturally occurring. Four of these occur frequently in cosmetics: ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben.

Why should you avoid them?

EWG’s Skin Deep database, which compares cosmetic ingredients to over 50 international toxicity databases, indicates that parabens are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation. Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Researchers have found parabens in breast tumors and believe there is a relationship between parabens and tumors.

Sodium Laurel Sulfate

What is it?

Both Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and its close relative Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpastes and other products that we expect to “foam up”. Both chemicals are very effective foaming agents, chemically known as surfactants.

Why should you avoid it?

SLS can lead to direct damage to the hair follicle, skin damage, permanent eye damage in children and even liver toxicity.

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