Chemicals in popular brands - DOVE
Lets take Dove Beauty Cream Bar for example; the first ingredient is Sodium Lauroyal Isethionate which is a synthetic detergent. A quick Google search identifies that it can pose a skin irritation depending on the individuals susceptibility and concentration used. Likewise you will find Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) which is a cheap industrial strength detergent and engine degreaser. This is found in DOVE and other cosmetic products such as mouthwash and toothpaste. Its ability to strip moisture and oils from skin makes it popular as a skin irritant to test the effectiveness of products to health skin conditions.
Lets also look at another ingredient; Zinc Oxide which is an inorganic (not consisting of or deriving from living matter) compound used as an additive in things like rubber, plastics, glass, cement, paints batteries and fire retardants. So far so good, Dove beauty bar can cause skin irritation and uses industrial chemicals, I guess that’s why they can’t call it Soap?
What’s in a fragrance?
Another word to watch for is “Fragrance” which can refer to thousands of natural and non-natural chemical compounds. In Dove Regenerate Nourishment Shampoo it is listed as an ingredient but without any clear indication of what fragrance is used. The same shampoo also contains PEG-4 and PEG-45; PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds also used as laxatives. Sounds lovely.
So a lot of talk has been around regarding Parabans which have been used as preservatives since the 1950s. These are a class of preservatives widely used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. A quick search on the Dove UK website identifies it in 22 out of 24 products. But what’s the problem with them? Well there have been some studies that found these chemicals in Breast Tumours and studies have shown that some Parabans can mimic the activity of oestrogen in the body’s cells. Until more is known and independent studies are conducted it’s probably best to avoid these where possible. Like many chemicals the long-term exposure dangers are not fully understood.
Find out what’s in products
But in all fairness to Dove, at least you can easily find this information on their website by doing a search. Not all manufacturers are like this. I tried looking for the ingredients on the Tresemme.co.uk website and they have no easy search feature and I couldn’t find any ingredients, having to go to Tesco.com to find ingredients for the Unilever brand. Their “24 hour body conditioner” has 30 ingredients, which include PEGs and other petroleum products. They also list Parfum (perfume) which is probably chemical derived as no listing was given.
Johnsonsbaby.co.uk also allows you search their website and makes available full lists of ingredients for their products. PEGs are quite prevalent throughout the range; while their products are listed as Paraban free there are some other nasty’s lurking in the ingredients. Bedtime Baby Bath contains Polysorbate 20. Polsorbate is a sugar alcohol which when treated with ethylene oxide becomes polysorbate 20, while not itself a concern, any ingredient that is treated with ethylene oxide (ethoxylated) can then become contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. 1,4-dioxane is a know animal carcinogenic, it has a long life in the body and it’s inclusion in cosmetics has been subject to class action lawsuits in the USA. You won’t find 1,4-dioxane listed as it’s a byproduct and not part of the formulation, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in there.
We have only covered a small number of the nasty’s that you can find in soaps, shampoos, moisturizers and lotions. There are is a growing list of industrial ingredients that are being found in everyday products and in most cases very little testing has been conducted and long term exposure studies are almost non-existent. Just as with buying food, it pays to buy the most natural item you can. The lower the number chemicals and the greater the number of natural ingredients the less likely you are to be harmed.
Although chemicals and pollution surround us, learning how to protect you has never been easier. Let GrassRoots Health help you on your journey by joining our RSS feed or use our contact us page for more information.
About the GrassRoots Health Blog
The Grassroots Health blog is written by Dean and Joanne. Joanne's passion is vegan raw food, nutrition and wellbeing while Dean likes to explore the real science behind health.
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