by Christine H. Farlow
Is There Danger Lurking Within?
The anti aging industry is booming. Aging baby
boomers seem to be obsessed with preserving their youthful look. Anti
aging preparations claim to make you look younger as you get older. But
are the ingredients in these products safe?
Here are 10 ingredients to avoid in
Propylene glycol is a strong
irritant, a neurotoxin (toxic to the nervous system) and may cause
kidney and liver damage. It may cause delayed allergic reactions, acne
and contact dermatitis. It absorbs quickly and is a penetration
enhancer, i.e. it increases the absorption of other ingredients in the
product through the skin into the bloodstream.
Diazolidinyl urea is a skin
irritant and a potential cause of dermatitis. It is a formaldehyde
releaser. Formaldehyde is a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer)
as determined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Imidazolidinyl urea is a strong
irritant. It causes contact dermatitis. It’s also a
Phenoxyethanol is a skin and
eye irritant with a rose fragrance. It can cause contact dermatitis and
is harmful if absorbed through the skin.
DMDM hydantoin is another
formaldehyde releaser. It may cause contact dermatitis and has cause
caused cancer in experimental animals.
Triethanolamine (TEA) is an
irritant, a sensitizer and causes contact dermatitis. It may cause the
formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in products containing nitrogen
compounds. It may also contain nitrosamine contaminants not listed on
Parabens (ethyl-, methyl-, butyl- and
propylparaben) are endocrine disrupters. They disturb the
hormonal balance in the body. They are absorbed through the skin and
may irritate the skin. They have been found in breast cancer tumors,
but it is not known if they had a part in causing the tumors.
PEG-n (4-200) is an eye and
skin irritant and is hazardous on large areas of the body. It may be
contaminated with dangerous levels of the carcinogen, 1,4-dioxane.
HGH is human growth hormone.
Some products may contain HGH or ingredients that stimulate the body to
produce it’s own HGH. Ironically, the hormones don't slow the
aging process, they just hide the symptoms. Animal studies have shown
that those animals which produce more growth hormone in old age have a
shorter life span, not longer. Studies have also shown that HGH causes
carpal tunnel and diabetes. And it has not been adequately tested.
Ultrasomes, keratinocyte growth factor
and DNA enzyme complex are known bioengineered ingredients
that are used in some anti-aging products. The biotech industry is not
very open about bio-engineered or genetically modified ingredients in
cosmetics and personal care products. They’re not required to
identify ingredients that are bioengineered and they’re not
required to state on the label that a product has bioengineered
engineered ingredients. The safety of bioengineered ingredients has not
been adequately studied.
Look for products with safe ingredients like aloe
vera, essential oils, shea butter, grape seed oil, emu oil,
antioxidants like vitamins A,C and E, green tea and Co-Q10. But also
remember, it’s more than just skin care. Slowing the aging
process involves eating a healthy diet with lots of healthy
anti-oxidant rich foods and enzymes, regular exercise, stress reduction
and adequate rest. It’s vitally important to pay attention to
your whole body, not just your skin.
Dr. Christine H. Farlow, D.C. is "The Ingredients
Investigator." She has been researching ingredient safety since 1991.
She is the author of three books, including the new, second edition of DYING TO
LOOK GOOD. To learn more about the safety of ingredients in
your cosmetics and personal care products, visit DyingToLookGood.com.
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Copyright © 2005 Christine Farlow.