Label Reading: What ingredients to avoid

Label Reading: What you need to know

Unless allergic to a specific ingredient, most people are not avid label readers. Many of us buy products based on habit or proposed benefit, not on the ingredient’s list. Unfortunately, this shopping method has left us open to harmful chemicals that can wreak havoc on our bodies.

It is essential to go through the labels of the items that you intend to buy. Check everything, including dietary supplements, skincare and haircare products, cleaning supplies, and anything you intend to consume or apply. Harmful ingredients are lurking everywhere. 

Now you might be asking yourself, “What are these harmful ingredients Nic is referring to?” Well, I’m glad you asked! Below are some ingredients to avoid when possible.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, formaldehyde is capable of causing skin, eyes, throat, and nose irritation. This is especially so for people with breathing issues. Formaldehyde has even been linked to a rare nose and throat cancer when exposed in high doses. Other studies show that formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen.

While standing in the beauty and personal care aisle, you may likely end up getting items that contain parabens. Parabens can easily be found in many cosmetic and personal care products. Companies add these preservatives to extend a product’s shelf life.

The problem is parabens can disrupt the endocrine system, which can cause hormonal imbalances. Your hormones are responsible for several bodily functions, such as weight control, body temperature, and mood, to name a few. To disturb the endocrine system is to disturb everything it regulates.

What’s more, your skin can easily absorb parabens. They remain in the body’s tissues and have been found in breastmilk, seminal fluid, and urine.

Research suggests that phthalates are toxic, cause neurological and behavioral difficulties, and cancer (breast cancer in women and testicular cancer in men). However, it is challenging to avoid phthalates because of the modern plastic world. Meat and grains are also known to contain phthalates.

Petrolatum is slightly toxic and capable of causing soft stools or diarrhea. If accidentally inhaled, it can cause lipoid pneumonia, which is life-threatening.

Propylene Glycol
A colorless, odorless, tasteless, syrupy liquid, known as propylene glycol is a synthetic food additive. It is thicker than water and is in the alcohol family. Skin inflammation and red spots may result in those who are propylene glycol intolerant.

PVP/VA Copolymer
Did you know that the hold factor that you get from hair products is because of PVP/VA Copolymer? This synthetic ingredient comes from petroleum, is considered toxic, and inhaling can cause lung damage. PVP/VA Copolymer is found in gels, pomades, hair sprays, and hair waxes.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is also known as SLS. It is a chemical soap agent and is suspected to be toxic. It is common in personal care and hygiene products.

Stearalkonium Chloride
This ingredient is a benzalkonium chloride that is an anti-microbial, surfactant, and antistatic agent. The fabric industry specifically designed Stearalkonium Chloride for fabric softener. Its uses have since expanded to a variety of personal care products, such as hair conditioner.

Synthetic Colors
Even though synthetic colors make products appealing to the eye, they are known to have various health concerns. In children, the effects of synthetic colors can be carcinogenic.

Synthetic Fragrances
You guys already know how I feel about “fragrance,” so I won’t go into too much detail, but synthetic fragrances pose issues. They contain allergens, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxic chemicals, and a host of other harmful substances. I know you may love the scent but opt for unscented shampoos, conditioners, laundry detergent, cosmetics, lotions, and creams. When it comes to air fresheners, perfumes, body sprays, and soaps, you can make your own with custom scents. 

I think the saying goes, when you know better, you do better. Stay healthy and stay safe.

Label Reading - Bottle of Jergens


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