7 Cosmetic Ingredients With An Undeserved Bad Reputation

If you have ever surfed the Internet looking for information about cosmetic ingredients, your findings have probably scared the hell out of you. Pretty much every chemical ingredient is said to be toxic, carcinogenic and cause any kind of horrible diseases which is ridiculous because everything (water, air, plants, humans..) is a chemical. So, I thought it’d be nice to set the record straight on some of the most maligned ingredients used in cosmetics to hopefully help you make an informed decision on what to put on your skin based on fact and not fear-mongering tactics. Let’s get started then:

1: Parabens

There are lots of ingredients with a bad reputation, but poor parabens (including Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben and Butylparaben) must be the most maligned cosmetics ingredients ever. They are very effective preservatives that kill and prevent bacteria and fungi from growing in beauty products, thus avoiding them from going bad and cause problems for the skin. These preservatives, which are derived from benzoic acid (a substance found in a lot of plants) are said to be hormone disruptor and cause cancer.

While they do have an estrogenic activity, that’s only a concern in very high doses, while in cosmetics their amount is minuscule (and besides, lots of plants and therefore natural ingredients have some kind of estrogenic activity but for some reason, no one is telling you not to use them). As for cancer, the only study that found a connection between parabens and cancer is inconclusive and has been very discredited by the scientific community. For more info, click here. Just remember, though, that parabens have a long history of safety and products without preservatives are a lot more dangerous and could cause infections if bacteria grows in them.

2: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a cleansing agent used in cosmetics and personal care products. SLS is said to be irritating, cause hair loss and even cancer. Are these claims true? Well, SLS is very irritating and when scientists want to know how irritating a substance is, they compare it with SLS. However, because of this, SLS can only be used in rinse-off products so that it won’t stay on the skin and cause negative reaction.

It may be used in used in leave-in products, but only in concentrations up to 1%, which are unlikely to cause any problems in most people (although I would avoid leave-in products with SLS just cause there are much less irritating substances that can be used in their place instead). As for the other claims, well, there is no proof that SLS causes hair loss and it definitely doesn’t cause cancer. There are no scientific studies at all that even hint at this possibility. As for the other sulfates (like Sodium Laureth Sulfate), they are milder and much less irritating than SLS so you can just use them safely. If you wanna know more about sulfates, click here.

3: Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil is one of those substances that supporters of natural cosmetics will tell you to avoid at all costs because it is derived from petroleum, which I find ironic, because petroleum is actually a natural substance! Besides, applying mineral oil on your face is not like slathering petroleum all over it. Once refined, mineral oil doesn’t resembles petroleum anymore. It may be derived from it, but they are two different substances!

In addition, there are several types of Mineral Oil. The kind used in beauty products is cosmetic grade mineral oil and there is absolutely no proof that it causes cancer. It doesn’t. Moreover, while it is true that it is an occlusive agent (meaning it forms a protective barrier on your skin), it doesn’t cause breakouts. Instead, it slows down water loss, keeping skin soft, hydrated and moisturized. The only side effect is that it can aggravate acne but if you’re lucky not to have this condition, there’s no reason to avoid mineral oil. For more info, check out my previous post on mineral oil.

4: Silicones

Silicones (such as dimethicone and cyclomethicone) are a group of ingredients very used in cosmetics because they give a lot of slip to products, making them feel silky soft on the skin. In addition, they also form a protective barrier on the skin that locks in moisture, keeping skin hydrated. Many people believe that, because of this, silicones are comedogenic and that’s why these ingredients are so vilified. But silicones aren’t comedogenic. Yet, they can cause breakouts in some people. How is this possible?

Well, silicones provide a barrier that locks water in, but it also lock in dirt (if skin is well-cleansed that is) and other ingredients in a product so if those contain comedogenic ingredients, breakouts can occur. But most people can tolerate silicones well without any bad reaction occurring so there is no reason to stop using an ingredients that work well for you just because you know someone with sensitive skin that suffered a breakout from it. That’d be like stop eating pasta because a friend of yours is allergic to gluten. You wouldn’t do that, would you?

5: Petrolatum

Petrolatum (or pure vaseline) is another ingredients that gets a bad reputation because it is derived from petroleum. It is mainly accused of causing cancer and is also said to be banned in the EU. Well, that’s not true, because Italy is in the EU and I have lots of products that contain it, meaning it is considered a safe ingredient here too.

As for cancer, again, I couldn’t find any scientific study at all that found a link between petrolatum and this horrible disease. But I guess spreading such rumours is a very effective way of scaring people into stop using it. Which is a shame, because petrolatum is one of the most moisturizing ingredients available today, can reduce inflammation and heal skin.

6: Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is a humectant, which means it has the ability to draw water from the environment into the skin, keeping it hydrated and supple. It is also used to help active ingredients present in a product to better penetrate the skin. Why has it gained a bad reputation, then? Well, its detractors claims it is dangerous because it is industrial antifreeze that causes cancer as well as liver and kidney problem.

Again, not true. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry doesn’t even list it as a carcinogenic and no study has ever proved that Propylene Glycol causes cancer. It is true though that Propylene Glycol is used as an antifreeze but at 100% concentrations! The amounts used in cosmetics are much, much smaller (usually less that 5%) and therefore safe. For more info, check out this post.

7: Talc

Talc (hydrous magnesium silicate) is a mineral used in products to improve the feel of products. It also has absorbing properties. So, what is the problem with Talc then? Well, cancer. It seems that a 1990 study has found a link between talc and ovarian cancer, although the researcher themselves have stated that the results of this study are inconclusive and more tests are needed before reaching a final conclusion. More info on this study can be found here. If you are worried, don’t apply talc to your private parts. As for other body parts, there’s no need to avoid talc there too.

The Bottom Line

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all these ingredients work wonders and don’t have any side effects at all. There are people who can’t tolerate silicones for instance, like there are those that get irritations when they use talc or SLS, while others may use these same ingredients without experiencing any negative reaction whatsoever. My point is that these ingredients aren’t toxic, they aren’t carcinogenic and nothing horrible will happen to you if you use them. Yes, some of them can cause irritations but then any ingredient, even natural ones can do that so if something works for you, don’t stop using it because someone else you don’t even know can’t tolerate it. And don’t stop using it for fear it’ll give you cancer, because it won’t.

Do you know any other cosmetic ingredients that have an undeserved bad reputation?

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    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Theetinygoat, you’re welcome and I’m glad you liked this post! I’m tired of reading scary claims about these ingredients when there is no proof that they are harmful for human health and I hope this post helps set the record straight on them.

  1. Olivia says

    Passerò per la polica di turno, ma non affatto d’accordo con te: per dire che molti di questi ingredienti, in particolare petrolati, olio minerale e siliconi, non fanno bene alla pelle, ho provato sulla mia di pelle… oltre a non avere alcun tipo di buon effetto, me la lasciano spenta e disidrata. ovviamente poi il mio non è un rifiuto a priori, guardo sempre in che posizione sono nell’inci, ma ritengo che i prodotti a base di attivi vegetali in genere siano nettamente superiori. poi ci sono delle eccezioni, per esempio l’acido jaluronico

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Olivia, non passi per polemica, ognuno ha le sue opinioni e le sue esperienze ed è giusto che le esprima. Non mi aspetto certo che tutti siamo sempre d’accordo con me.

      Come ho detto alla fine dell’articolo non penso che tutti questi ingredienti facciano bene a tutti. La pelle di ognuno di noi è diversa e quindi lo stesso prodotto o ingrediente funziona in modo diverso. La mia pelle per esempio è l’opposto della tua. Io uso sia prodotti naturali che quelli sintetici tradizionali e onestamente la mia pelle si trova molto meglio con i secondi. Poi certo ci sono delle eccezioni e un paio di prodotti naturali di cui non posso fare a meno.

      Quello che volevo dire però è che se una persona prova un prodotto con i petrolati per esempio e vede che le lascia la pelle spenta come è successo a te, allora è giusto che li eviti. Ma se uno mi dice che i petrolati fanno venire il cancro perchè derivano dal petrolio allora mi “incavolo” perchè non è vero.

      Poi che ci sono persone a cui questi ingredienti non danno alcun beneficio e possono invece provocare irritazioni o altro è vero, solo non mi sembra corretto far circolare le voci che provochino il cancro o altre malattie, perchè questo non è vero.

  2. says

    Well, thank you. Hopefully, more people will read that. Almost all products contain some “dangerous” ingredient or another. Yes, if there is a healthier substitute, companies SHOULD use it, but if it’s not proven, if it’s just a speculation, I won’t stop buying a product I like, just because it contains something supposedly carcinogenic. Not to mention that almost all ingredients turn out to be carcinogenic to a certain degree. But, let’s face it – most companies would use a cheap ingredient no matter how dangerous it can be. Even big companies do. This is the policy which should be changed.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Eli, I hope this post will be useful to people. We often forget that it’s the dose that makes the poison and that most ingredients aren’t even absorbed into the skin anyway so they’re harmless. There are some ingredients that can be toxic in very high concentrations, but then those are very strictly regulated by the FDA and the EU and can only be used in very small, minuscule concentrations which have been proven by scientific studies to be harmless. It’s fake cosmetics we should worry about as they could really contain toxic and carcinogenic ingredients and it’s not always easy to spot they’re not the real thing.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Shamini, you’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyd it. And you’re right, everything seems to be bad for us these days, we’re really shouldn’t use or do anything at all if we don’t wanna get ill or worse *rolls eyes*

  3. Nikki says

    Nice post, though I don’t think any of those chemicals are safe(except Vaseline). Parabens are absolutely, a 100% dangerous no matter what people say. We live in the 21st century where everything is synthetic(and usually toxic), because its really cheap compared to natural solutions. Nowadays the pharmaceutical and cosmetic monopolists control everything, if you have noticed 90% of the researches of the safety of chemicals are payed by the same monopolists. The other 10% usually prove that those chemicals are dangerous. And another thing, they may be safe in very low concentrations but most of these chemicals create a buildup in the soft tissues of the body. And when you use products containing parabens9for example) for 10 years imagine what a build up you will have and it wouldn’t be strange if cancer develops. So my suggestion is to avoid these chemicals as much as possilble for your own good.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Nikki, do you have any proof of what you say or any links where I can verify your claims? I’m sorry but I still have to see a single study saying that parabens cause cancer and are bad for you. The only one I know of is badly flawed and therefore doesn’t prove anything.

      As for chemicals accumulating in your body, that’s not really true. Our skin is made to keep external substances out and not let them get inside our bodies easily so most of the ingredients used in cosmetics aren’t absorbed by the body. The few that are absorbed are generally expelled through urine and sweat so they do not accumulate in the body.

      Chemicals (and plants ARE chemicals) are actually safer than natural substances because they are created in a sanitized lab and therefore don’t contain resins, dirt and all the other impurities that are found on plants and can cause allergies and irritations. As for your claims that we can’t believe pharmaceutical studies but should look for the alternative, are you referred to studies done by supporters of natural products? Wouldn’t they be biased too? The studies I refer to are peer-reviewed, third-party researched though.

      We live in a very polluted world. Who knows what crap is in the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe. If we get cancer, it’s because we live in a polluted world, or because we smoke or don’t wear sunscreen or just because we’re genetically predisposed to it. All these things are much more likely to give us cancer and a lot sooner than any cosmetics. These have all been proven to kill, while I still have to hear of a person that died from using a cosmetic or developed cancer because of them.

      If you can give me proof that support your claims, I may change my mind. But till then, there is just no proof in the scientific community that any of these things are harmful for us.

      • Nikki says

        Ok I’ll give the links you asked for:
        It’s true that i didn’t find any info that these chemicals are a 100 % toxic. But the researches I have read state that there is quite a serious possibility that the chemicals are toxic or in some way dangerous.
        As for cancer, you are right that everything is so pouted and probably that’s why cancer is so common nowadays. If we start to check everything we eat, drink or even wear – it contains some chemical that is potentially toxic and there is just no way to avoid all of them. We should at least try to avoid those that are proven or are suspected in a higher level to be hazardous\dangerous\toxic etc. Actually may be a week ago i was doing a little research on toxic chemicals and somewhere i read something really interesting, but sadly i can’t find the link :(. Anyway, it was about a professor in a university in the USA(cant remember the name) who stated back in the 60s that the human race has reached an era of chronic symptomless intoxication, so it turns out that all of these chemicals are killing us without us feeling it at all. I hope this will change your mind(especially about parabens). I’m sorry that I couldn’t find the link for the last material i mentioned, I’ll look for it again. :)

        • beautifulwithbrains says

          Nikki, thank you for the links. I have just read them all very carefully but I still don’t think there is enough proof to support claims these ingredients are bad.

          The first study about parabens was done ex-vitro and simply claims that high levels of parabens can penetrate the body, but it doesn’t say whether once inside the body they cause any harm. As far as I know, parabens (at least most of them) are just execreted through urine. The second study was done on breast tissue from women with breast cancer and in 18 out of 20 of them a certain level of parabens were found. However, no one took tissue from healthy women so the study is inconclusive. What if healthy women have the same levels of parabens? Besides, the study doesn’t state how the parabens got there. Through food? Through personal care products? And just because parabens were in the tissue, it doesn’t mean that it was them that caused the cancer.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they are lying or anything like that. These articles pose interesting food for thought and I’m the first to admit that further studies need to be done on parabens to determine once and for all if they really pose a threat for human health. I understand where you are coming from and I respect people like you that prefer to avoid parabens until we have conclusive proof of their safety (or lack of it). After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

          However, I do think that, up until now, we only have studies that hint to the fact that we need to do more research and the “evidence” is too superficial and inconclusive to claim they are dangerous. In my opinion, is someone is really worried about chemical exposure they should first worry about the food and water they drink, move somewhere where the air is clearer and less polluted or grow their own vegetables and things like that because what we ingest is far more likely to give us cancer or other diseases than what we topically apply on skin. And parabens are very used in food too so if it should turn out they are dangerous, we have a higher risk of them harming us when we eat them.

          As for the theory of that professor, it is definitely interesting but I do think that if chemicals were bad for us, scientific studies would demonstrate it.

          I will keep researching about this subject for sure and if I should find any proof that parabens (or any other ingredient mentioned in this aticle) is bad, then I will definitely change my mind and post my new findings on the blog. But I personally feel that, at the moment, there’s no serious reason to worry about them. Those that wanna follow the precautionary principles until more data turns out are free to do it. After all, we should all reason with our own head and make up our own mind, the important thing is that we do it on data based on science instead of fear.

          Thank you for your comments though, as I said they pose interesting food for thought and I hope I’ll be able to find more info on these issues in the future.

          • Nikki says

            Thanks for your thoughts and you comprehensive reply. You really do sound like a beautiful girl with brains. :) I guess one will never be sure about the safety of the additives that are put in everything, but one should try to avoid them as much as possible.
            After all I’ll continue with my little research and keep in touch if something interesting pops up. :) I’m very glad I found this article and this site, so it loud be my pleasure to follow the activity. :)

            • beautifulwithbrains says

              Nikki, thank you and I’m glad you stumbled on my blog too. I hope to see you around often. :) That’s great that you will continue your research and so will I. Let me know if you find anything new and I’ll do the same too. It is so important to learn about the stuff that we put on our skin so that we can use the safest products we can. :)

  4. says

    What a great post, Gio!
    I started playing around with makeup over three years ago but in my second year, I was reading all these scary stories about ingredients that would give me cancer.
    I immediately made a list of things to avoid and if I product I liked had it, I would not give it a go. Then there were more and more informative and unbiased posts like this one & I calmed down. I do care about what goes in my products but aslong as it wasn’t/isn’t tested on animals or made of animal by product, I don’t mind!
    Ashley´s last blog post ..Update Numero DosMy Profile

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Ashley, thank you! I used to be like you when I first got into cosmetics and started researching the ingredients. I was so worried about all the scary information around but the more I researched the more I realised they aren’t dangerous at all. Most of these claims are just made up! If an ingredient doesn’t work for someone or they have ethics/believe that prevents them from using certain ingredients because they have been tested on animals or something that’s fine. We should only use what works for us and what we feel comfortable using but scaring people like this is just wrong!

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Citrine, lol. I can see why some people are worried when two or more of these ingredients are used in the same products or their concentrations are too high as not everyone can tolerate them well. It’s the whole “they cause cancer” and claims like that that irritate me as they just aren’t true.

  5. says

    This is a very informative post! I love this! I agree with you, most people have this issues on some ingredients and when they read it in a bottle, they’ll drop it like a hot potato! I agree that some people can tolerate certain ingredients! I may have the sensitive skin but surprisingly, I can tolerate silicon! :) Some people can’t! So it’s a matter of trial and error :)

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Nikki, thanks. I agree with you that it’s a matter of trial and error. We should use what work for us not avoid an ingredients just because we’re told they’ll give us cancer or something when there is no proof it will. :)

  6. Eleanor says

    An excellent article. I appreciate you taking the time to do this research and report it to us.

    As an aside, I was watching Dr. Oz the other day, and he mentioned that even though there is currently no data, he believes that in the future (e.g., 20-years) there may be problems with women having silicosis, because they are grinding powders (e.g., loose mineral makeup, loose setting powder, etc.) so finely that they are able to be breathed into the avioli, and when silicas are worked with in industrial settings, the workers are required to wear breathing gear. Apparently, the sizes of these powder particles have been measured, and it is well known the size particles must be to reach the avioli. He said that pressed powders are larger particles, so they aren’t breathed into the avioli.

    I think it is reasonable to be cautious with finely ground products, such as silica based powders. I have noticed that the Makeup For Ever setting powder I have is so finely ground that it floats into the air when I open the jar. So, I am looking for a suitable replacement to this powder, and when I use it I use it in a different room from where I do my makeup, hold my breath, and am careful to tap out as little as possibly needed, so that it doesn’t fly everywhere. I also use one of those velvet-like powder puffs, since this seems to prevent fly-away much better than using a brush.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Eleanor, thank you. I haven’t watched that episode of Dr Oz I’m afraid but I researched silica a while ago and, at least at the time, silica powders didn’t seem to pose much of a threat. As far as I know, silicosis is caused by crystalline silica while the type used in cosmetics is silica microspheres. We also have to consider that miners that work with silica breathe it in extremely large quantities, while the amount we may inhale from cosmetics is minuscule in comparison.

      I guess it’d be possible though, that if a person uses loose powders a lot, especially in a place that isn’t well ventiled, over a few decades, they could be harmful. There is no proof stating that at the moment like Dr Oz himself admitted but there’s definitely no harm in being careful. I personally don’t use loose powders a lot because they are messy but if one is careful with them like you are, they shouldn’t be a problem.

      I personally wouldn’t worry too much about it now as the data we have so far states silica (the type used in cosmetics) is safe, but being careful with them and having fly aways and breathing powder as much as possible is something we should all do anyway. :)

  7. says

    I’m not afraid of any of these ingredients, but I know a lot of people are! I was surprised when I went to my Dermatologist last month and she thinks I have a Propylene Glycol allergy that was making my hair fall out too much. I don’t think this is true, but now she has me paranoid and I’ve stopped using shampoo with that in it, but my hair dye still contains it. Anyway, I currently use skin care products with parabens, mineral oil, talc, petrolatum, etc.
    Jeni´s last blog post ..Cosmetics DatabaseMy Profile

  8. beautifulwithbrains says

    Jeni, I know a lot of people that are afraid of them too and it is such a shame as in most cases, the claims they are harmful are just made up or just twisted. At the moment, there really is no proof they cause cancer or anything like that.

    I never heard anything about Propylene Glycol making hair fall out. I guess it is possible you can be allergic to it (after all, any ingredient can cause an allergy to someone), but whether that causes hair to fall out is something new to me. I’m not sure it’s true either but I guess there’s no harm in avoid products with this ingredient.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Phyrra, thanks and I’m glad silicones don’t cause problems for your skin. I agree about SLS, I think it should only be used in rinse-off products and not too often either. But at least it’s good to know it doesn’t cause cancer or any other disease, but only an irritation/allergy.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      LatestGirls, talc is only a problem when applied on your private parts. It is safe when used on the face. :)

  9. Dalila says

    I disagree with your Talc and your SLS comments completely.
    Have you looked up why it’s not being used in the UK??? It’s now no longer being used by the newest mineral makeup lines because it’s bad for your skin and can clog pores.
    On top of this Talc is used in dry shampoo products, so using it on your head isn’t the best idea either.
    SLS is used in your local auto mechanics shops and grocery stores to degrease there floors…so for all of you who love dry irritated skin keep using that product with SLS.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Dalila, thank you for your comment but I’m afraid I disagree with you. Talc is still very much used in the UK and if some companies choose not to include this ingredient in their products is simply because of the bad reputation it is getting, not because it is dangerous for human health or bad for skin. Yes, Talc can clog pores but it’s a concern only for some skin types. I have combination skin and talc has never clogged my pores or caused breakouts and I’m not gonna stop using it because someone I don’t know had a bad reaction to it.

      In addition, Talc is used both in cosmetics and dry shampoo because of its ability to absorb oil, thus making hair look cleaner. I don’t see why it is so bad to be honest.

      SLS is very irritating, on that I agree with you and that’s exactly why I think it should be used only in rinse off products and not too often either. But the thing is, that the concentrations of SLS used in beauty products are much lower than those used in mechanics and grocery stores to degrease the floors. Yes, shampoos with SLS can be irritating but nowhere near as much as products used to degrease floors with SLS. They are two very different types of products that, despite containing the same substance, simply cannot be compared.

  10. Emma says

    Lovely article. I now feel so at home with the products i use. Would like to know more about lip products and their ingredints. What works and what doesnt. Whats good and whats dangerous. Thank you. Im delighted by what i’ve learnt.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Emma, thank you! I’m glad you enjoy the article and that you feel at ease with your products. Cosmetics are strictly regulated and most of the ingredients that have a bad reputation are actually safe. I will try and write more posts about ingredients in lipsticks in the future but for the moment, you can check out my post on lead in lipstick if you’re interested. Here’s the link: http://beautifulwithbrains.com/2010/10/19/whats-the-truth-about-lead-in-lipsticks/

      You can also check out my “A-Z Ingredients” page at the top of the site for info on more ingredients.

  11. says

    Thank you SO MUCH for writing this, it is so realistic. I have extreme OCD and obsess about EVERYTHING, you just gave me less to worry about so thanks for peace of mind. If we use up all natural things for cosmetics what will be left? Some “natural” cosmetic companies also use up really rare species of plants that they claim will do different things for your skin.
    What should I know buying cosmetics in Japan? Are they safe there? I hear their cosmetics are ah-mazing
    Also, is it true what people said a few years ago that a Chinese company was taking collagen products with the skin of executed criminals or was that complete rumor?

    Peace out thanks for your great, unbiased posts.
    Courtney Belyea´s last blog post ..Please sign these petitions I wroteMy Profile

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Courtney, you’re welcome. Unfortunately there is so much misinformation around but when you look at the science behind cosmetics you realise there is nothing to worry about. I’m worried about companies using rare plants in their products too and I hope they do it carefully without exploiting nature too much, especially since most of those ingredients haven’t been proved to do that much anyway yet.

      I haven’t trued Japanese cosmetics yet as they are hard to find here and usually very expensive but I had raves about them. In any case, they are safe.

      I had that rumour too but I’m not sure what to think of it. It was reported by the Guardian which isn’t always a reliable source of information and I’m not sure why anyone would take collagen from people when there are other sources of collagen that are more easily available and more affordable. It doesn’t really make much sense..

  12. says

    Also wanted to say I have had some freaking NASTY reactions to “natural” and “organic” products. I feel these products are pushed way to much on the general public and they make it seem like natural=safe and allergy-free which is far from the truth. Too much information is biased, or even done by the companies themselves.
    Courtney Belyea´s last blog post ..Please sign these petitions I wroteMy Profile

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Courtney, I’m sorry you had problems with natural and organic products. They often contain substances that aren’t natural at all and those that are natural can cause allergies and irritations too. Synthetic ingredients are made in a sterilized lab and usually contain a handful of compounds, while natural ingredients are made of tens of compounds (water for instance contains chlorine, copper, benzene and a lot more substances including minuscule amounts of lead) so they are more likely to cause a negative reaction. They can also contain pollen, resins and other impurities that can cause allergies so they are by no means safer. And there is no proof they work better than synthetic ingredients either. There are simply ingredients that work and others that don’t regardless of their origins but because consumers seem to feel natural things are better, of course cosmetic companies will jump on the bandwagon and promote them like they are better than what they really are.

  13. Sarah says

    Fantastic article, I train therapists for a skincare company and I’m going to point them all this way when they start asking about parabens!

    Totally agree about so called “natural” products. A product only has to contain a very low amount of natural ingredients to be permitted to put “natural” on the label, so many consumers are misled into thinking they are buying a wholly natural products (with all the associated unlisted compounds that make up a natural ingredient!).

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Sarah, thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed the articles and thanks for sharing it with your students. It is such a shame that effective and safe ingredients get so maligned solely for their origin.

      And it’s appalling how loose the regulations for natural products are. I see so many “natural” products around that aren’t natural at all! That shouldn’t be allowed.

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