What’s in this stuff?

1 Feb

When it comes to makeup and skincare products, reading the ingredients is often an exercise in language. Many ingredients are unpronounceable and unrecognizable. Despite the fact that we put these substances on our skin every day, we often know little about what goes into them. Many products claim to be natural, but how do you know if those ingredients are truly all natural or beneficial. So we thought it’s time to find out for ourselves and give a short glossary of the ingredients commonly found in beauty products. To find the definitions we researched online and referenced Aubrey Hampton’s book What’s in Your Cosmetics?

Parabens-Synthetic chemicals used to preserve cosmetics. Some studies have shown that parabens can mimic the estrogen hormone, which is associated with certain forms of breast cancer. For more information visit the FDA’s website.

Phthalates (pronounced Tha-layts) – Chemical compounds of phthalic acid and are mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity). Some studies have shown links between phthalates to birth defects and cancer. The danger in phthalates comes when the plastics begin to breakdown and the phthalates are released into nature.

Triclosan-A bactericide or antibacterial agent. Some studies show this ingredient can alter hormone regulation. So far though, these effects have only been seen in studies on animals. The FDA is currently working on testing the safety of this ingredient in cosmetics.

Dimethicone-Silicone fluid that gives a smooth feel to cosmetics, also acts as an emulsifier and hair conditioner. From the research available online, this ingredient looks perfectly safe.

Octyl Methoxycinnamate (pronounced Ock-til Metho-oxey-sin-naw-mate)-An organic compound, its primary use in cosmetics is to absorb UV-B and UV-A rays from the sun, protecting the skin from damage. It is also used to reduce the appearance of scars. There is some controversy with this ingredient because its purpose is to protect and help prevent skin cancer, but some studies show it could increase estrogen, which is linked to breast cancer.

Trihydroxystearin– Is a combination of glycerin and fatty acids used as an emollient and thickening agent. In cosmetics and personal care products, it slows the loss of water from the skin by forming a barrier on the skin’s surface.

These are just a few ingredients we found in many products. Are there any cosmetic ingredients you’d like to know more about? Leave a comment and let us know!


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