First it is important to know that the FDA passed a law in 1966 regulating the packaging of cosmetic and skin care products. The name, address and net quantity and list of ingredients must be listed on the package. The FDA made an amendment to this law by requiring the ingredients to be listed in order from highest to lowest concentration. "What does this mean for the consumer?" If you are purchasing any product that claims it is made with high concentrations of any ingredient or claims to be medical grade, first you want to see where the ingredient is listed in the list of ingredients.
Second, you want to know what ingredients to look for when shopping for products. Here is the "Top Ten" List of ingredients to be on the look out for which can create negative side effects and can also be toxic:
1. Diazolidinyl Urea- These are usually used as preservatives. They are the second most commonly used after "parabens". They can cause contact dermatitis which is characterized by a rash. They can also be listed as Germall I. They can release formaldehyde and can be toxic.
2. Methy, Propyl and Ethyl Paraben- These are the most common preservatives. They can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes. Be on the look out for "paraben-free" formulas that are now being offered.
3. Petrolatum- This ingredient is extremely cheap and is most likely used in lip therapy products, lip sticks and glosses. Ironically enough the products that are claiming to soothe and protect lips that contain petrolatum actually do the opposite. It actually causes photo sensitivity and dries out the skin and interferes with the body's natural moisturizing mechanism. So next time you buy a "lip conditioner" be sure to look for this ingredient.
4. Propylene Glycol- This is petrochemical which can cause allergic and toxic reactions.
5. PVP/PVA Copolymer- Can cause lung sensitivity.
6. Sodium Laurel Sulfate- This a synthetic substance used in shampoos and hair care products that can cause eye irritations, hair loss and dandruff.
7. Synthetic Colors- They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C. These synthetic colors can be cancer causing.
8. Steralkonium Chloride- This ingredient was originally formulated as a fabric softener but is cheap to use and can be used as a conditioner. This can cause major skin irritation.
9. Synthetic Fragrances- The synthetic fragrances can have as many as 200 ingredients and can cause anything from headaches, hyperpigmentation, rashes, and skin irritation.
10. Triethanolamine- This ingredient is often used in cleansers and can actually dry out skin and hair and cause eye problems.
It is not only important to know what ingredients are not beneficial to the skin but it is also important to know what ingredients to look for that can actually improve the health of the skin. Stay tuned for my review of Dermalogica which is a product line that is not only free of all these ingredients but packed with amazing natural ingredients that promote beautiful skin for all skin types and conditions.