How safe is your shampoo? Watch out for these common toxic ingredients…
Washing your hair is just one of those routine activities you probably don’t think much about. You likely have never wondered if your shampoo is safe to use. After all, why would it be on store shelves if it wasn’t? But did you know that the shampoo you use may contain harmful chemicals that could impact not only the health of your hair, but also of your body and your brain as well? In fact, some of these common ingredients have been linked to cancer and other long-term serious illnesses.
It’s time to wake up and take a closer look at what you’re washing your hair with. However, this can be a tricky task. If you’ve ever looked at the ingredient list on your shampoo bottle, it’s likely that you couldn’t read a single word! It’s true that many of the chemicals listed aren’t inherently harmful by themselves in small amounts – but in combination, they might be. It’s also important to realize that your skin absorbs at least 60% of the products we use on it – and your scalp, palms, soles of your feet, and underarms are especially absorbent.
Here are 4 common shampoo (and other personal care) ingredients to watch out for:
“Fragrance” is a broad term for the synthetic perfumes that scent shampoos. These products can contain a multitude of chemicals, including phthalates, which are known to cause hormonal imbalances and reproductive health risks.
Not only do these synthetic perfumes affect human health, but they also pose a threat to environmental health. When we wash our hair, these chemicals seep into our waterways, affecting water quality and wildlife populations.
Triclosan is another common ingredient in many shampoos. It’s typically used as an antibacterial to reduce bacterial contamination. However, it may support bacterial resistance to antibiotics as it does not act as a thorough enough antibacterial.
Some reports suggest that triclosan may act as an endocrine disruptor through its ability to interfere with thyroid hormone metabolism.
Studies also indicate that triclosan may contribute to skin cancer in humans…
Often used as a solvent and preservative in many shampoos, phenoxyethanol is known to be neurotoxic if inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. Federal regulations limit phenoxyethanol concentrations to be less than 1 percent in products, but people who use multiple products with this chemical may be at higher risk.
On top of skin irritation in those with sensitive skin, phenoxyethanol can lead to reproductive and kidney damage. It’s banned in baby products due to infants’ susceptibility to these types of toxins, but it can also be dangerous to adults who are regularly exposed.
Phenoxyethanol can be referred to on labels by multiple names, including:
- Ethylene glycol monophenyl ether
- PhE, phenoxetol
- Beta-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether
…Common since the 1920s, parabens have recently become a topic of concern for their hormonal disruption. They contain hormones similar to those in the human body, which, when absorbed through the skin, can lead to hormonal imbalances in our bodies. This can lead to a higher risk of cancer and reproductive issues.
These chemicals also pose major environmental hazards. Low levels of parabens can kill coral, and have been detected in waterways, fish, and sediments. This leads to further pollution of our waterways and environments, which in turn affect us through our food chains.
Parabens are generally listed in ingredients as: