Check for these ingredients if you want natural cosmetics.
The hair and skin care aisles at your drugstore are increasingly packed with more and more brands offering “natural” products. These items boast of being free of ingredients like fragrances, parabens, and more. But you kind of have to wonder: Are these labels a marketing scam, or are there real health benefits to choosing natural makeup.
Dermatologist Bobby Buka, MD, says there are legitimate reasons to choose natural products that are free of certain kinds of toxins.
One of the most common toxins to avoid is paraben, a man-made preservative used in everything from concealer to shaving cream. Parabens have been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer and a reduced sperm count, though more research is needed.
Another common toxin is phthalates—but you’ll have a much easier time avoiding these. This ingredient was previously used in nail polishes, perfumes, shampoos, and other common products, but is now rarely used in any cosmetics due to controversial findings about their effects on human health.
Propylene glycol is another common toxin you may want to scan ingredients lists for. Propylene glycol is a common allergy. Those who are sensitive to this toxin should avoid it, but it is generally safe to anyone without a sensitivity.
Finally, dermatologists typically recommend personal care products that are free of artificial fragrances and colors, as they contain chemicals that can be harmful to the skin. This is especially important to anyone with sensitive skin.
Dr. Buka is a section chief at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Buka is also a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and the Society for Pediatric Dermatology.
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Hi, I'm Dr. Preeti Parikh.
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Over the last few years we have been
hearing a lot about potential chemicals,
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toxins, and, or preservatives in our food.
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Now in recent headlines we have
been hearing that these can also
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be potentially found in
our beauty products.
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We called Dr.
Bobby Buka to find out what's really true.
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Hi, Dr. Bobby.
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So the first one we hear a lot
about are what are parabens?
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Parabens have been used since
the 50's in a lot of creams,
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moisturizer, sunscreens, bug spray, and
they're used as a preservative agent.
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And there's been some links to breast
cancer and male reproductivity.
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So a drop in sperm count in guys
using heavy paraben products.
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We tend to avoid them if we can, but
there's some early data that suggests,
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there may be an issue there
with toxicity and parabens.
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And another product people
talk about is phthalates.
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Phthalates are out of
the cosmetic industry,
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they were included as binding agents
they help keep creams together.
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There's a lot more solid data for
phthalates causing a lot of problems.
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We don't see phthalates really included
in any beauty products any longer.
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And the last one we hear
a lot about is propylene glycol,
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is there anything we should
be concerned with that?
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I just see propylene glycol
as a high allergy issue.
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I think if you have a sensitivity
to that agent you can avoid
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propylene glycol certainly but
the general population does okay with it.
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Are there any other toxins or chemicals
that people should be aware about and
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when they're buying beauty products?
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In the dermatologic literature we're
big proponents of staying away from
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colors and fragrances.
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They cause of a lot of sensitization
in patients, so I would avoid them,
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Thank you so much for your time.
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