Chemical Information

Did you know that the majority of shampoos, conditioners and skin care products today contain sulphates in one form or another? Sulphates are essentially foaming agents also found in industrial cleaning products and detergents. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) has been traditionally used as an engine degreaser and industrial garage floor cleaner. SLS causes the skin to flake and to separate causing roughness. Of greater concern are the possible reactions and carcinogens (cancer causing agents) that can result from the use of sulphates in hair and skin care products.

Sulphates strip the hair and skin of the natural amino acids and keratin that keep the hair and skin strong, vibrant and manageable. SLS is such a caustic cleaner that it actually corrodes the hair follicle and impairs its ability to grow hair. Sadly, sulphates remain in, or on, the cleansed hair or skin long after they are rinsed away.

Potential health effects of commonly used chemical ingredients:

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)  (Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate)
Cataracts & improper eye development in children, dry skin & dermatitis, impaired hair growth & corrosion of hair follicles.

Alcohol - Isopropyl
A petroleum-derived substance it is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac and some diluted essential oils. As a solvent and denaturant (a poisonous substance that changes another substance's natural qualities), isopropyl alcohol is found in hair colour rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances, and many other cosmetics. According to A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, ingestion or inhalation of the vapour may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis, anaesthesia and coma. The fatal ingested dose is one ounce.

Found in deodorants & anti-perspirants and has long been associated with Alzheimers and is currently being assessed for its connection. 

Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate
May cause cancer, skin irritation, hair dryness & denaturing.

DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine)
DEA & MEA are usually listed on the label in conjunction with the compound being neutralised, so look for names like Cocamide DEA or MEA, Laurimide DEA, and so on. These are hormone-disrupting chemicals known to form cancer-causing nitrates and nitrosamines. They are almost always in products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps, and facial cleansers. Dr. Samuel Epstein, a professor of environmental health at the University of Illinois said, "Repeated skin applications...of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of two cancers-liver and kidney cancers." John Bailey, head of the cosmetic division for the FDA, says that the new study is especially important since "the risk equation changes significantly for children."

FD&C Colour Pigments
According to A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, "...many (pigments) cause skin sensitivity and irritation...and absorption (of certain colours) can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and death." In Home Safe Home, author Debra Lynn Dadd says that "colours that can be used in foods, drugs, and cosmetics... are made from coal tar. There is a great deal of controversy about their use, because animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic."

Mutagenic ingredient currently under investigation as a carcinogen; often found in conditioners.

Mineral Oil
Is a mixture of refined liquid hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. Used in many personal care products (baby oil is 100% mineral oil!), this ingredient actually coats the skin just like a plastic wrap, disrupting the skin's natural immune barrier and inhibiting its ability to breathe and absorb the Natural Moisture Factor (moisture and nutrition). As the body's largest organ of elimination, it is vital that the skin be free to release toxins. Mineral oil impedes this process, allowing toxins to accumulate, which can promote acne and other skin function disorders. It also slows down skin function and normal cell development, resulting in premature aging of the skin.

Widely used in the cosmetic industry as preservatives. Have a possible link to breast cancer having been discovered in cancerous breast tumours and are currently under investigation. Found in shampoos and some underarm deodorants. Parabens mimic the effects of oestrogen which is known to contribute to breast cancer in two thirds of cases. In a recent study where samples of breast tumours were randomly selected from 20 women, parabens were found in all but 2.

Derived from petroleum and is often combined with lead in lipsticks. Known to be contaminated with carcinogens.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PHA's)
Known as xenoestrogens that mimic oestrogen in the body; often found in body lotions.

Propylene Glycol (PEG)
Found in moisturisers, lipsticks and industrial anti-freeze. Contain dangerous levels of dioxin which studies show can negatively alter brain waves and cause liver & kidney disorders.

The top 10 most toxic ingredients found in several personal care and cleaning products have been recently tested and were all found to be neurotoxic; affecting the nervous system. Many affect the reproductive system and some are known carcinogens.

Propylene Glycol (PEG)
Is reported to have severe adverse health effects including contact dermatitis and allergies, kidney and liver damage. As a surfactant, or wetting agent and solvent, PEG is actually the key component in antifreeze. There is no difference between what is used in industry and what is used in personal care products. Industry uses it to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of), yet it is found in almost all forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shave, deodorants, mouthwashes, toothpaste and is even used in food processing, baby wipes and lotions. Because of its ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with the toxic substance. PG's Material Safety Data Sheets warn against skin contact because PG has harsh consequences such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. There isn't even a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than that in most industrial applications!

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate - see text at the top.

Urea (Imidazolidinyl) & DMDM Hydantoin
These are just two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde (called "formaldehyde donors"). According to the Mayo Clinic, formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep. It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma. Other possible side effects include weakening of the immune system and cancer. Formaldehyde releasing ingredients are very common in nearly all store brand products for the skin, body and hair, antiperspirants and nail polish. A complete list of products that contain formaldehyde can be found in a book entitled, Is This Your Child's World? by Doris J. Rapp, M.D.

Pure Earth products do not contain any of the aforementioned chemicals.

Pure Earth provide a completely naturally derived range at an affordable price for everyone.

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