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All hail the internet! Without it the majority of us would still be none the wiser about the scary array of toxic ingredients found in most mainstream products. With the increase in technology comes the increase in man-made chemical ingredients - which all seemed great at the time, but are we now paying for it?

Hope is not lost! A second "hail" goes to all of the wonderful, toxin-free products that are making their way through to the mainstream line-up which makes us SO excited! It’s a great relief to see the increasing amount of people who are becoming more aware of toxins and are seeking healthy alternatives.

With that in mind, below is a list of the top eight ingredients that we believe you should try to avoid. We hope this helps!

PARABENS
Examples: butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben

This is one of those ingredients that if you know nothing about toxins, you know about parabens. Parabens are a common preservative that are used due to the low cost to produce.

There’s so much controversy surrounding parabens, some argue that they haven’t been directly linked to cancer and some say they do. As personal care products contain a wide array of chemicals it makes it difficult to show a definite cause of and effect of a specific chemical on its own. As far as we are concerned research strongly suggests they are linked as parabens have been found in breast tissue and breast cancer.

PHTHALATES
Examples: di-butyl-phthalate, di-ethylhexyl-phthalate

A known hormone/endocrine disrupter which can lead to birth defects and cancer. It is currently being studied for its link to breast cancer. Phthalates are mainly used as plasticisers used to hold colour and reduce brittleness in nail polish and hairspray. You’ll also find phthalates in cleaning products and many other personal care products.

PHENOXYETHANOL
Phenoxyethanol was created as a cheap preservative alternative to parabens in natural products. Phenoxyethanol breaks down to phenol and acetaldehyde, acetaldehyde converts to acetate.

In a study of the allergen levels of over 3000 ingredients phenoxyethanol was listed amongst the top ten. The MSDS (Material Data Safety Sheet) which tests this ingredient at 100% strength warns that it can cause reproductive issues and harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. The concentrations of phenoxyethanol in cosmetics is usually lower than 1%, but even at that level we at Essentially Health would rather avoid it altogether in our product selection due to the wealth of evidence available.

UREA
Examples: diazolindyl urea, imidazolindyl urea

Urea is used as a buffering agent, humectant and skin conditioner and is manufactured synthetically on a large scale, directly linked to dermatitis. It is a formaldehyde releaser which is allergenic, toxic, can trigger asthma and is known to irritate eyes and mucous membranes.

FORMALDEHYDE
Examples: Formalin, Methanal, Methyl aldehyde, Methylene oxide, Morbicid acid, Oxymethylene

Commonly found in cleansers, fingernail varnishes and hardeners, shampoos and conditioners, toothpastes and hair straightening solutions. Formaldehyde can cause burning stinging or itching sensations, a sore throat, teary eyes, blocked sinuses, runny nose and sneezing.

SLS
Examples: Sodium Laureth Sulphate, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

Found in toothpaste, shampoos, mouthwash, body wash, soaps and detergent. It is a surfactant which is what makes the products lather. It’s really easy and cheap to produce which is why it’s used so widely. It’s a known skin irritant in small levels of less than 0.5% and in levels greater than that can result in severe skin irritation and corrosion. We feel SLS should be avoided in cosmetics and products that have direct contact with the skin.

DEA/TEA/MEA
Examples: monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, triethanolamine

Ethanolamine ammonia compounds that are used in cosmetics as emulsifiers or foaming agents. They are known carcinogens, known to affect male reproductive health and accumulate in the liver and kidneys causing tremors. Also linked to birth defects. That’s a no from us!

ARTIFICIAL COLOURS
Examples: E102- E143 cover the range of artificial colours

Artificial colours, aside from being made from a cocktail of around 25-50 chemicals, are often made from coal tar and contain heavy metal salts like arsenic and lead that can deposit into the skin. Yikes!

We believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to live an abundantly healthy life, fueled with essentially healthy nutrients and environmentally sustainable lifestyle choices. Shop confidently at Essentially Health knowing we have the ingredients covered for you.

If you have any questions at all please feel free to contact us.