Many people spend hundreds of dollars on skin care products without realizing the harmful ingredients they are putting on their skin. Skin care product manufacturers have about 7000 different ingredients that they are allowed to use in skin care products, with around 1000 known to be harmful and another 900 known to cause cancer. In just one bottle containing skin care product, you will be surprised to find over 20 ingredients – have you ever thought, though, that every time you put this product on your hands, body, or face, that you are putting over 20 potential allergens on your skin? Read on to find out ingredients that you should stay clear of, and certain skin care product brands that are safe for your skin.
What’s in Your Cosmetics?
As a consumer, you must be on the look out for chemicals and toxic ingredients that may be injurious to your skin and your body. You would not even consider eating products that contained chemicals or cancer causing agents, so don’t let these toxins cross the threshold and enter your system through your beauty product either!
Insignificant amounts of research are available to provide evidence of the safety or health risks of low-dose repeated exposures to chemical combinations like those in personal care products, but let’s get one thing straight—the absence of data should never, never be mistaken for confirmation of safety.
The more we investigate low dose contact with these products, the more we comprehend that they can cause adverse effects ranging from the subtle and reversible, to effects that are more critical and permanent. On the whole, our research of product safety reveals a cause for concern.
Interestingly enough, 450 ingredients that are used in this country are banned for use in cosmetics in the European Union by the industry. The dictatorial vacuum in the United States gives cosmetic companies enormous leeway in selecting ingredients, while it shifts potentially considerable and unnecessary health risks to the users of the products.
Cosmetics and personal care products are promoted based on the quality and ingredients of their formulas. Numerous products allege to be filled with expensive vitamins, oils, and perfumes. Others profess to use an all-natural formula. How can you be certain that the products you purchase contain the ingredients they claim to have or that they are safe? Read the label? Guess again! Unless you happen to be a scientist or a chemist, the ingredient list on the majority of cosmetic and personal care products will look like a laundry list of monotonous, tongue twisting names that make no sense at all. If you want to educate yourself, there are several books that will really bring you up to speed on what is in your personal care products. One would be, Dangerous Beauty, by Mark Fearer; and the other is called, Drop Dead Gorgeous, by Kim Erickson. Additionally, there are many groups that are pushing for safe products such as WomenandEnvironment.org.
Why should you have reservations about the safety of ingredients in body care products that you spread over your body and hair? There are many reasons, yet here is the most compelling one:
Hongran Fan and her coworkers at the Veteran Affairs Palo Alto (Calif.) Health Care System and Stanford University School of Medicine planned to demonstrate the effectiveness of intramuscular gene injections by comparing them with simply dripping a DNA vaccine solution onto the skin of mice. Well, they discovered that it was possible to distribute the vaccine through the hair follicles on unbroken skin.
So, if you can absorb an effectual prescribed amount of a vaccine simply by having it come in contact with your skin, how much of the toxic ingredients that are in your personal care products are you absorbing through your skin? Think about it—you are literally bombarding your tissues, your organs and your brain with man-made chemicals and their processing residues!
Link to study
Always question and investigate chemical ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Shun phony “organic” and “natural” body care products that are filled with, “derived from” synthetic chemicals. Support the companies that actually create non-chemical, true organic products that are considered safe and don’t need to be tested on animals (for obvious reasons). You really can make a difference for you, the environment and your loved ones.
Here are what we believe to be the top ten offenders in cosmetic products:
[highlight]Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)[/highlight]
These are used as detergents and surfactants (an agent such as a detergent or a drug that reduces the surface tension of liquids so that the liquid spreads out, rather than collecting in droplets) and are found in soaps at car washes, cleaners for your garage floors and engine degreasers. Both SLS and SLES are utilized more extensively as one of the major ingredients in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioners and about 90% of all shampoos and products that produce suds.
We spent approximately 7-8 hours searching the internet, books and any other research we could get our hands on in regard to sodium lauryl sulfate and laureth sulfate. We read all the sites that quoted a study done by the Georgia Medical College which would scare the heck out of anyone who read it, and one report by the American College of Toxicology. Before we take someone’s word for the detrimental effects of a substance, we wanted to see some real scientific proof. Upon further investigation, we discovered that the researcher who did the study at the Georgia Medical College refuted the statements as being, “taken out of context.”
Having said all that, we did find the following information. According to the Department of Oral Surgery and Oral Medicine, Dental Faculty, University of Oslo, Norway,
“The aim of the present clinical double-blind crossover study was to investigate the effect of two different toothpaste detergents, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and cocoamidopropyl betaine (CAPB), as compared with a detergent-free paste, on 30 patients with frequent occurrences of recurrent aphthous ulcers. The study consisted of three 6-week periods during which the patients brushed twice daily with the different test toothpastes. The localization and number of new ulcers were assessed. A significantly higher frequency of aphthous (mouth) ulcers was demonstrated when the patients brushed with a Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – than with a CAPB-containing or a detergent-free placebo paste. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate -free toothpaste may thus be recommended for patients with recurrent aphthous (mouth) ulcers.”
We also found that the Scorecard of the Environmental Defense Fund lists SLS as a suspected gastrointestinal and liver toxicant.
According to the FDA, when used in children’s bubble bath, these chemicals produce “risks” which “have been known for sometime”. Thus it is required by law to bear the following warning on the label:
Caution—Use only as directed. Excessive use or prolonged exposure may cause irritation to skin and urinary tract. Discontinue use if rash, redness, or itching occurs. Consult you physician if irritation persists. Keep out of reach of children.
Added resources suggest that the presence of SLS may allow other chemicals in a product to be absorbed more effortlessly. Since it is used as a surfactant to enhance the performance of other ingredients in cleaning products, it only stands to reason that SLS would heighten the absorption of other chemicals. During one search, a study materialized that showed SLS enhanced the absorption of carbaryl (Sevin) into the skin. An alternative study (Baynes, et al. 1996) implicated SLS in the absorption of benzidine, a bladder carcinogen.
Last but not least, we would like to say a few words in defense of coconut oil—the real deal, that is. Coconut oil has really received some bad publicity recently. If you read some of the labels out there that say, “sodium lauryl sulfate from coconut oil” or “triethanolamine from coconut oil”, you would obviously get mixed messages. Just for the record, none of those products come from coconut oil. They are synthetic products, produced completely by a chemical process, and contain petro-chemicals among other things. They are akin to coconut oil, but that is even stretching the truth. Let’s just say that they would like you to feel better about buying it, and leave it at that.
Bottom line: We won’t use it.
Mineral oil is a frequent ingredient in commercial lotions, creams and baby care products. It is clear, liquid oil that has no scent and will not go bad. It is manufactured as a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. Mineral oil is the surplus liquid and is a very copious product—therefore very cheap. Fact is, it is more cost effective to use it than to dispose of it.
The predicament is that mineral oil is alien to the human body and has numerous detrimental effects, in particular for babies. Mineral oil is the chief component in numerous baby care items such s baby oil, baby lotions, baby wash liquid soap and Vaseline.
Let’s face it, this is a petroleum by-product that covers the skin just like wrapping it in plastic wrap. It clogs the pores, hindering the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting skin disorders and decelerates skin function and cell development—resulting in the premature aging of your skin.
We’ve noticed this ingredient in lip products occasionally, which causes us to ponder on who came up with that idea. First of all, they tell you it is going to shield your lips from sunburn and chapping. Petrolatum IS mineral oil jelly, and mineral oil causes numerous problems when used on the skin photosensitivity (i.e., promotes sun damage), and is inclined to interfere with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism, creating dry skin and chapping. Bottom line—you are being sold a product that actually causes the very condition it professes to alleviate. Why?—It’s cheap!!
In addition, EWG’s evaluation of product ingredient labels and information on cancer-causing chemicals identified three frequent impurities in personal care products that are associated to mammary tumors in animal studies—ethylene oxide, PAHs, and 1,3-butadiene. The ingredients that are sending up red flags in this instance are used in one of every four personal care products on the market. PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are frequent contaminants in petrolatum, also called petroleum jelly and sold under well-known brand names like Vaseline.
The verdict is yours and yours alone as to what personal care products you want to use on your skin. You are going to hear or read that mineral oil is completely safe to use because it creates a film or barricade on the skin that seals in moisture and fends off water. Remember, your skin is alive not a piece of machinery and needs to function by being able to breath. We could write more than you can imagine on mineral oil, but it would behoove you to educate yourselves with the following links that we have provided:
Related Links: Toxic Impurities in Personal Care Products and Cosmetics
MSDS for Mineral Oil
FDA Response Regarding the Use of Mineral Oil as a Food Additive
Mineral Oil Linked With Lung Disease
Fragrances that are synthetic and are utilized in personal care products can have as many as 200 ingredients. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to know what the chemicals are, since when you look at the label, it will simply read, “fragrance”. A few of the maladies caused by these chemicals are headaches, allergies, dizziness, rash, coughing, skin irritation and hyperpigmentation. Fragrances that are synthetically-derived are, for the most part, derived from petroleum sources. The chief motive for using synthetic fragrances is the price. We will give you a perfect example. Synthetic lemon “fragrance,” is approximately $1.00 per pound, compared to true lemon oil which is approximately $50.00 per pound. Big profits!
There are some chemists that try and make a case that if they can manufacture a petrochemical “replica” of an essential oil that exists in nature, then they have the entitlement to call it “natural”. There is a procedure that is utilized in the making of synthetic fragrances called “head space technology”. It is used to create “nature identical” chemical fragrances. One company’s description goes like this,
“Headspace technology is an advanced system that captures and analyzes the scent molecules in the air around the source of each scent, extracting a reproducible formula. Using this process, and their own uncanny sense of smell, Demeter successfully creates idealized versions of each scent, whether isolating a single note, or expertly mixing various notes in the perfect proportions necessary to create a single fragrance experience.” This is very similar to producing a wax version of a banana. It looks like a banana, but do you really want to eat it?
Our DNA has progressed over millions of years and every cell in our body is encoded to react to the truly natural phytochemicals found in the real plants that have evolved alongside us. When you take a breath or eat plant materials, your body comprehends the molecules and knows how to process them safely. What does your body do when you give it the synthetic chemical fragrances? It responds with problems like asthma, migraines, hyperactivity disorder, rashes and depression.
These are just some of the synthetic fragrances that you might find:
- amyl acetate (banana fragrance)
- apple fragrance
- banana fragrance
- benzophenones 1 to 12 (rose fragrance)
- berry fragrance
- bitter almond oil (benzaldehyde)
- cinnamic acid
- coconut fragrance
- cucumber fragrance
- honeysuckle fragrance
- lilac fragrance (anisyl acetate)
- mango fragrance
- melon fragrance
- methyl acetate (apple fragrance)
- methyl salicylate (wintergreen or birch fragrance)
- plum fragrance
- peach fragrance
- phenethyl alcohol (rose fragrance)
- strawberry fragrance
- verataldehyde (vanilla fragrance)[/starlist]
Information on Headspace Technology
Harvard Research Links Synthetic Fragrances to DNA Damage in Sperm
Toxic Effects of Synthetic Fragrances
Toxic Fragrances Video
Ok, what is a phthalate? They are a group of extensively used compounds known technically as dialkyl or alkyl aryl esters of 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid. There are numerous phthalates with countless uses, and just as many toxicological traits.
Phthalates moved stealthily into prevalent use over the last several decades due to the many useful chemical properties. Now they are everywhere, not just in the products in which they are deliberately used, but in addition as contaminants in just about anything. It is used in so many things now, that about a billion pounds per year are produced worldwide.
You can find phthalates in softeners, plastics, oily substances in perfumes, additives to hairsprays, cosmetics, lubricants and wood finishers. Or how about that cool “new car smell”, which becomes especially overpowering after the car has been cooking in the sun for a while—that is in part due to the strong odor of phthalates volatilizing from a hot plastic dashboard. When evening comes, the fumes cool and condense to form an oily coating on the inside of the windshield.
According to trial statistics from the Center for Disease Control, an approximate 5% of women of reproductive age from the general population are polluted with 75% or more of the level of just one of the phthalates, DBP, that may begin to damage normal reproductive tract development in their baby boys.
Phthalates show numerous toxic effects in animal studies following chronic exposure or even after short-term exposures in particularly vulnerable organisms. These consequences include: damage to the liver, kidney, heart, and lungs as well as adverse effects on reproduction, development, and blood clotting. The outcome of human exposure to phthalates has not been well examined. Lengthy dormant periods between pertinent exposures, and understated effects that are hard to detect complicate and limit the small amount of existing epidemiological studies of phthalate impacts in humans. But these restrictions do not completely expound why the impacts of phthalates on humans have not been systematically investigated.
Here are a few personal care products that may contain phthalates and which kind:
- Powders- (DEP)
- Fragrances- (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DEP)
- Nail Polishes- (DBP)
- Hair Preparations- (BBP, DMP, DBP, DEP)
- Skin Creams- (DEP)
- Deodorants- (DBP, DEP)
- Aftershaves- (DEP)
In August of 2000, scientists at the Department of Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico discovered a link between exposure to DEHP and premature breast development in young girls.
In 2003, a study was done by scientists from the Centers for Disease Control, Harvard School of Public Health, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, that stated, “men with higher phthalate levels have reduced sperm counts, lower sperm motility and more deformed sperm.”
Never let the absence of data prove the safety of a chemical. It only proves ignorance!
Information on Headspace Technology
Harvard Research Links Synthetic Fragrances to DNA Damage in Sperm
Toxic Effects of Synthetic Fragrances
Toxic Fragrances Video
[highlight]Imidazolidinyl Urea And DMDM Hydantoin[/highlight]
These two chemicals are just two of many preservatives that release formaldehyde. They are called formaldehyde-donors. It is a colorless liquid or gas with a pungent, distinctive smell. It is utilized in the manufacturing of synthetic resins that are used in adhesives for plywood, particle board, coatings for paper and textiles, in molded plastics and for sound insulation. It is extensively used in the textile and apparel industries to:
- Produce fabrics, so that they are permanent press
- Make fabrics waterproof
- Enhance the colorfastness of dyes
- Formulate fabrics that are fire retardant
Any materials treated with a formaldehyde-based resin emit formaldehyde gas until it is rinsed out, washed, cleaned or shampooed. If anyone tells you that the gas will dissipate when the resin finishes “curing”—that will take months or years.
Formaldehyde is also utilized in disinfectants, drugs and cosmetics, as a tanning agent for leather, as a laboratory and photographic chemical and in embalming fluids.
Formaldehyde is used in so many beauty products, that the expression, “well preserved” isn’t too far-fetched. The Safe Cosmetics Campaign is doing its best to fight against its use, but this particular chemical is a specialist in masquerading with different names. It may appear on the label of your product under various names such as these:
- 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol
- 5-bromo-5-nitro-1, 3-dioxane
- Diazolidinyl urea
- DMDM Hydantoin
- Sodium hydroxymethyl
A European Union Working Group on Cosmetics discovered that these formaldehyde releasers can off-gas a portion or even all of their formaldehyde content to the air. Formaldehyde as an ingredient in cosmetic products is restricted in Europe as well as in Canada.
Research has revealed that even low levels of formaldehyde can have health effects. Low levels of contact may irritate the eyes, nose and throat; cause skin problems, severe breathing problems. OSHA regulates formaldehyde as a cancer-causing substance. Since this article is in regard to skin, these are the skin problems you may encounter when using a product with formaldehyde:
- Skin blisters
- Fingernails that may turn brown and soft
- Skin that become red and cracked
- Skin that may dry out
- Irritations that deteriorate with heat and sweat
Formaldehyde is used in nail treatments and polish, moisturizers, eye make-up, lip make-up, shaving products, shampoos and even a couple of baby shampoos. For more information, please check out these government web sites:
Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Materials
New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health[divider]
You’ll love this one! This is the most recent trend in the armory of antibacterial chemicals that is included in detergents dish washing fluids, soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, creams and toothpaste. The question is—is it safe?
The EPA registers it as a pesticide, assigning it high scores as a risk to both human health and the environment.
Peter Vikesland, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, has revealed in his research that when the chemical triclosan reacts with the chlorine in your tap water, chloroform is produced. If triclosan is a common ingredient in anti-bacterial soap and toothpaste and you wash and rinse your mouth with the tap water—then what? Did you know that many stores in Britain have been forced to pull the products that contain triclosan off their shelves? What is more, triclosan is stored in the body tissue and can accumulate to toxic levels, damaging the liver, kidneys and lungs.
Boston based microbiologist Laura McMurray and her colleagues at the Tufts University School of Medicine say that, “triclosan is capable of forcing the emergence of ‘superbugs’ that it cannot kill. And experiments have shown that it may not be the all-out germ killer scientists thought it was”. Using triclosan on a daily basis in the home—in products ranging from children’s soaps to toothpaste to ‘germ-free’ cutting boards—may be unwise.
If you are worried about bacteria, and want to use something that kills the bacteria bugs around your home, we recommend using things like— essential oils. There are several that have been used for centuries for exactly that purpose. Recent studies have actually shown essential oils to be highly effective against deadly bacteria such as E Coli and MRSA.
For more information on the chemical triclosan, please use these links:
Triclosan in Your Toothpaste
Britain Banning Products That Contain Triclosan
Health Effects of Triclosan
[highlight]DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine)[/highlight]
These two chemicals are often used in cosmetics to regulate the pH, and utilized with numerous fatty acids to change acid to salt (stearate), which then develops into the base for a cleaner. DEA is a chemical that functions as a wetting agent in shampoos, lotions, creams and other cosmetics. It is used mostly because it supplies a rich lather in shampoos and maintains a positive consistency in lotions and creams. By itself, DEA is not harmful, but while hanging around on a store shelf or in your bathroom cabinet at home, DEA may react with other ingredients in the cosmetic recipe to form a particularly potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA). NDEA is promptly absorbed via the skin and has been connected with stomach, esophagus, liver, and bladder cancers. These chemicals have previously been restricted in Europe.
According to Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, acute inhalation exposure to DEA in humans may result in irritation of the nose and throat, and dermal exposure may result in irritation of the skin. He also stated that animal studies have shown that dermal exposure to DEA may burn skin, and eye contact with the chemical may impair vision. In addition, more animal studies have reported testicular degeneration and reduced sperm motility and count from oral exposure to DEA.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), “There is sufficient evidence of a carcinogenic effect of N-nitrosodiethanolamine — .” IARC recommends that NDEA should be treated as if it were a carcinogen in humans. The National Toxicology Program similarly concluded: “There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of N-nitrosodiethanolamine in experimental animals.”
[highlight]FD & C Color Pigments[/highlight]
Countless color pigments initiate skin sensitivity and irritation. The harmful aspects of utilizing artificial colors are extensive. Not only are they disquieting for human health, but for the health of the environment and animals. As far as humans are concerned, these chemicals are suspected carcinogens.
Jane Hersley, the director of The Feingold Association of America states: “Artificial colors and other synthetic chemicals can affect us whether we ingest them, breathe them or just come in contact with them on our skin.”
Women, especially, are exposing themselves to pointless risk. The make-up they wear on the skin have particles that can be inhaled or absorbed, not to mention lipstick on the mouth where substantial amounts are eaten. The bottom line is although makeup is worn on the surface, chemical FD&C colors affect us inside as well. Various studies have connected the use of permanent hair-dyes, in particular the darker shades, to an increased risk of cancer. Coupled with coal-tar derivatives, hair dyes contain phenylenediamine, a carcinogen that may cause scalp inflammation and even blindness. Here is what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said about hair dyes. “Several coal-tar hair dye ingredients have been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.”
Oh, by the way, gentlemen, you are not exempt! A study by Howard W. Mielke, PhD, associate professor of environmental toxicology, deduced that gradual hair dyes were not a safe product for anyone to use. According to him, “The major problem is that users are instructed to coat their hands with a product containing 2,300 to 6,000 mcg of lead per gram. This places a large quantity of lead directly into the hand-to-mouth pathway of exposure. As shown in Table 2, the amount of lead on the hands increases from less than 3 mcg to between 150 and 700 mcg per hand after hair application. As discussed above, the TTDI for lead is 6 mcg for children and 30 mcg for adults. After applying the product and then thoroughly washing hands with soap and water, the hands still retained from 26 mcg to nearly 80 mcg of lead per hand.”
An additional study done by the University of Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center disclosed that women who regularly dye their hair are three times more likely to develop bladder cancer.
As much as we would like to skip painting your nails—we won’t! Pick your poison ladies. Well, for starters, nail polish may include up to half of a chemical called toluene, a petroleum distillate akin to benzene. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances, “A serious health concern is that toluene may have an effect on your brain. Toluene can cause headaches, confusion, and memory loss. Whether or not toluene does this to you depends on the amount you take in and how long you are exposed. Low-to-moderate, day-after-day exposure in your workplace can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, drunken-type actions, memory loss, nausea, and loss of appetite. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped.
Researchers do not know if the low levels of toluene you breathe at work will cause any permanent effects on your brain or body after many years. You may experience some hearing loss after long-term daily exposure to toluene in the workplace.”
In addition to toluene, nail polish can have the chemical formaldehyde in it as well. This is an alleged carcinogen, endocrine disrupter and neurotoxin; which is banned in the majority of countries around the world except for North America.
Here is a list of some of the synthetic colors to look for:
- aluminum lakes
- carmine (because of the synthetic process used to secure the color from the insects)
- sodium copper chlorophyllin (chlorophyll)
- D&C colors (all)
- FD&C colors (all)
- iron oxides
- titanium dioxide
- zinc oxide
Adverse Health Effects of Synthetic Colors
FDA Approved Colors for Your Cosmetics
Information on Natural Coloring Alternatives
[highlight]Propylene Glycol (PG)[/highlight]
We all know what antifreeze is, don’t we? Interestingly enough, there is no distinction between the PG used in industry and the PG used in personal care products. Wow!
Both ethylene glycol and propylene glycol are clear, colorless and slightly syrupy liquids at room temperature. Both compounds may exist in air in vapor form, although propylene glycol must be heated or briskly shaken to produce a vapor. Propylene glycol is practically odorless and tasteless. They are also used in the manufacturing of polyester compounds and as solvents in the paint and plastics industries. Ethylene glycol is also a component in photographic developing solutions, hydraulic brake fluids and in inks used in stamp pads, ball point pens and print shops. In other words, it is used in industry to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of) yet is found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shaves, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpastes.
The FDA has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. It is used to absorb extra water and maintain moisture in certain medicines, cosmetics, or food products. It is a solvent for food colors and flavors, and is used to create artificial smoke or fog used in fire-fighting training and in theatrical productions.
How would you be exposed to these two chemicals? You can be introduced to ethylene glycol and propylene glycol when you use antifreeze, photographic developing solutions, coolants, and brake fluid. You can also be exposed to propylene glycol by eating food products, using cosmetics that contain the chemicals, or taking medicine that contains it.
The American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) recommends a maximum level of 127 milligrams of ethylene glycol per cubic meter of air (127 mg/m3) for a 15-minute exposure. Research it further, and decide for yourself whether you want it in your personal care products.
Toxic Impurties in Personal Care Products and Cosmetics
FAQ for Ethylene & Propylene Glycol[divider]
One of the foremost defenders your body has against viruses, bacteria, fungus, and other perpetrators, is the natural acid mantle your skin possesses. Isopropyl alcohol is a solvent and denaturant (substance that changes another substance’s natural qualities), and has an uncanny ability to completely strip the natural acid mantle of your skin, leaving you more vulnerable to the aforementioned issues. Isopropyl alcohol is added to various hair color rinses, body creams, hand lotions, after shave lotions, fragrances and many other cosmetics. Isopropyl alcohol’s primary function is to increase absorption of other ingredients in such cosmetics as body, face, and hand lotions, yet only serves to rob your skin of its natural pH and acid mantle.
High exposure has been related with CNS (central nervous system) depression, and according to a Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis and coma. Isopropyl alcohol is extremely irritating to the skin and has a causal link to dry/cracked skin which can promote the growth of bacteria.
In exposure studies with rats, inhalation had the capacity to paralyze the respiratory system, cause broncho-constriction, hypotension, and in some cases, fatalities. While Isopropyl alcohol may not be the most toxic ingredient that goes into cosmetics, the concentration of its use calls for some alert.