What is hidden behind the labels?

Taking care of your skin goes beyond cleaning, moisturizing and applying sunscreen, it also means knowing and caring about what we apply to our skin.

Well, the skin is one more organ, and in fact, the largest in the body, which protects us and connects to all our other nervous systems.

Consider this: what you put on your skin is just as important as what you eat and drink. Once a product is absorbed into the pores, it is transported through the bloodstream throughout the body, reaching systems that affect immunity, nerves, hormones, and even reproduction.

Unfortunately, the personal care industry is not very well regulated when it comes to the ingredients that brands use in their formulations.

Putting "natural" on a label does not mean that there cannot be chemical and natural products that are harmful to our health.

There are hundreds of ingredients that make up The Dark List (the list of ingredients that we at Louré have created with ingredients that you will never find in our formulas), but these are some of the most dangerous and common ones to be careful of.

Parabens

Inexpensive and readily available, many brands turn to this family of chemicals (including methyl parabens, propyl parabens, butyl parabens, and ethyl parabens) to extend shelf life and prevent bacterial growth and mold on their products.

In addition, they have been linked to hormonal disruption and consequent health problems, such as breast tumors, infertility, and other reproductive health problems.

Laureth Sulfate

This popular surfactant, or foaming agent, has been a main ingredient in many cleansers, soaps, and shampoos for its lathering abilities for years.

In addition to being irritating to the skin, eyes, and lungs, LSS has the terrifying ability to react with other chemicals to acquire carcinogenic properties, or cause kidney and liver damage.

Phthalates

Commonly used for their ability to promote smoothness and flexibility in cosmetic formulas, these chemicals can be found in products such as lotions, perfumes, and deodorants. Like parabens, they can also have dangerous effects on the endocrine system that is responsible for producing the body's hormones, with the risk of reproductive problems, birth defects, and even breast cancer.

Triclosan

Often used in everyday formulas such as toothpaste, soaps and cleansers for its strong antibacterial properties, this chemical is highly toxic to the body's organs, causing allergic reactions, skin and lung irritation, hormonal disruption and bioaccumulation that could increase the risk of cancer. It also makes bacteria more resistant to antibiotics over time.

Lead and heavy metals

Maybe you've heard the rumor that lead is a common ingredient in lipstick, which is scary, true. In fact, up to 60% of lipstick formulations, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, contain lead along with other heavy metals. Even if used in small amounts, these substances build up in the body over time, increasing neurological and hormonal health risks. Metals are also often used in tooth whiteners, sunscreen, deodorant, lotions, and cosmetics for their lightening, texturizing, and sweat-control effects.

Retinol and Retinyl palmitate

Yes, retinol is lauded for its skin-lightening, anti-aging, and wrinkle-reducing superpowers, but it's not all good. In fact, vitamin A and retinol may have the ability to damage the DNA of our body and also increase the sensitivity of the skin to ultraviolet light, which causes severe skin damage and even increases the risk of cancer and tumor development.

Ethylene oxide

Although it is not used directly in personal care products, it is found in everyday items such as laundry detergents, adhesives and pesticides, and in small amounts in polysorbates and cetereateths, two common ingredients in facial cleansers, shampoos, makeup foundation and perfumes. The scariest part? It is incredibly carcinogenic and can cause eye damage, memory loss, nervous system damage, and miscarriage with long-term exposure.

Silicones and/or Dimethicones

Silicones are commonly used in skin care and beauty products for their smooth, silky texture, easy application and water resistance. Whether in formulas for eyeliner and lipstick, sweat-proof sunscreens, or super-rich moisturizers, they go by different names, but are found in countless products.

Many silicone-based polymers, while used in serums and other products that promise to improve complexion, can severely block pores, releasing toxins and causing acne and irritation. They can also interfere with the skin's cell renewal process, dull and dehydrating the skin.

Fragrance

Beware of products that smell too good. Artificial scents tend to contain a mix of dangerous chemicals that cause respiratory irritation, allergies, skin irritation, and hormonal effects.

The term "fragrance" was really developed so that brands don't have to fully disclose a product's ingredients, which means even more unknowns than are already on the label.

Artificial Dyes

The same goes for color: a product with a pretty shade might not be the safest for your skin. Typically derived from tar and petroleum, many artificial colors have been linked to skin irritation, acne, and even cancer. Used in shampoo, body wash, and makeup, their names often include FD&C or D&C, followed by a number.

Studies have shown that the average woman uses 12-16 products a day, just think what that cocktail of ingredients and chemicals could mean for your long-term health.

Clean up your routine, opting for products with clean ingredients. You may throw away more than half of what you have on your bathroom shelf, but what's worth more than your health?

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Taking care of our skin is a smart decision.

Paul Estes