Finally corneotherapy is making its name and principles known in the skin care industry. I've been preaching this philosophy to my clients for years! Please read the article in Associated Skin Care Professional's Skin Deep July/August 2014 Issue.
BY KATHRYN MAZIERSKI
Understanding the skin barrier is essential for an esthetician. Supporting this important system is the first step in correcting any inflammatory skin condition: acne, rosacea, and a host of others. An amazing body of scientific discovery on the topic of corneobiology—the study of the skin barrier—has been produced by researchers such as Peter Elias, Richard Gallo, Albert Kligman, Hans Lautenschläger, Lars Norlén, and others. One of the things this research reveals is that dermatologists, estheticians, and other skin care professionals may unwittingly be recreating the inflammatory processes they are trying to treat. We
routinely strip away the skin’s first line of defense, the acid mantle, as a side effect of our treatments and, too often, we do not pay enough attention to restoring it. Any time you see redness in the skin, it is a sign that the skin barrier has been compromised.
The Skin’s Barrier Functions
The role of the stratum corneum (the skin’s outer layer) is to protect us against
environmental hazards while preventing water loss from the skin. It contains an entire set of defenses—Kligman counted 16 separate types of barrier function operating within this skin layer. All are interconnected, co-regulated, and interdependent. If one barrier function is compromised, others will also be affected. The barrier function that most estheticians are familar with is the permeability barrier, which prevents transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and, in the other direction, prevents allergens, irritants, microbes, and pathogens from entering the body through the skin. To understand how we can support this permeability barrier and repair it when it becomes damaged, we need to know a little about three lipids that are found in the stratum corneum.
THREE VITAL LIPIDS
Under a microscope, the stratum corneum looks similar to a brick wall. The corneocytes are the “bricks,” embedded in “mortar” that is made up of multiple sheets of lamellar membranes. These membranes are the permeability barrier, and they are made of a mixture of three different lipids: ceramides, cholesterol, and long-chain free fatty acids. These three lipids account for up to 10 percent of the dry weight of the stratum corneum, and they work together to waterproof the skin.
The proportion of the lipids is vital for correct skin barrier function. All three must be present, and normal skin requires a ratio of 1:1:1 (in other words, each of the three is present in the same amount). If the epidermis overproduces or underproduces one of the lipids, a good permeability barrier cannot form.
Skin problems are the result. An example is atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition in which ceramides are not produced in sufficient quantities. Clients with atopic dermatitis need more ceramides, so a 3:1:1 ratio is used in products aimed at these clients.
Although ceramides are a popular ingredient, the well-informed esthetician must realize that ceramides on their own are not the key to skin barrier repair, because all three key species of lipids within the permeability barrier are equally important. All three lipids must be present in sufficient amounts, and in the correct ratio, for the condition being treated.
The Acid Mantle
The stratum corneum’s first line of barrier defense is the acid mantle on the surface of the skin. The acid mantle has many tasks. It contains trans-urocanic acid, our natural defense against ultraviolet (UV) radiation—this acid is responsible for filtering out around 70 percent of the UV-B rays that we are exposed to. Deeper within the skin, a key protein called filaggrin is metabolized (broken down) to provide essential barrier components.
On the skin surface, these components are further degraded to produce what is known as “natural moisturizing factor,” which plays a role in keeping the epidermis hydrated and overall barrier function. Maintaining the skin’s surface at its natural, acidic pH level is critical for proper skin barrier function. When we strip away the acid mantle, the consequences include increased TEWL, chronic dry skin, various inflammatory conditions, and even an increased risk of skin cancer.
What else happens when the acid mantle is removed?
First, the skin’s pH rises, making it alkaline instead of acidic. In response, the stratum corneum releases inflammatory cytokines in an attempt to trigger more lipid production. Normally, this would be a good thing and would help return the whole system to a healthy state. However, if this cytokine cascade is continual, chronic inflammation sets in. The result is a very thin, leaky, and permeable skin barrier.
In other situations, increased skin pH may release serine proteases, which block lipid production. In this case, lipids stay trapped within the corneocytes instead of forming the permeability barrier. The result is complete failure of the skin barrier system.
Raising the pH of the skin for sustained periods of time can bring on or heighten the symptoms of acne, atopic dermatitis, rosacea, photodamage, and other conditions—not only affecting the epidermis, but also the dermis. Keep the skin acidic!
Corneotherapy: Restoring the Skin Barrier
When the skin barrier has been compromised, simply using anti-inflammatory ingredients is not enough to restore it. We must pursue treatments that return the barrier to its natural state of balance. This area of skin care is known as corneotherapy or skin barrier therapy.
An important goal of corneotherapy is to generate the three lipids that form the permeability barrier. When we provide these to the skin in the correct ratio using topical corneotherapeutic products, the synthesized lipids make their way through the stratum corneum to be processed along with those that were generated within the skin, forming the lamellar membranes that make up the permeability barrier. The lipids in corneotherapeutic products must always be chemically identical to those within the stratum corneum. Restoring the acid mantle (in other words, getting the skin back to an acidic pH) is the first step in restoring barrier function. This will:
• Turn off inflammatory processes within the epidermis.
• Allow the permeability barrier to start reforming.
• Improve the skin’s antimicrobial defenses, decreasing penetration of allergens and pathogens.
Do Barrier Repair Creams Work?
As the terms barrier repair and corneotherapy become more widely known, they have started to show up more often in product marketing. Many manufacturers who use these terms do not provide any supporting data that their products do what they claim. On closer inspection, many so-called barrier repair products do not contain the ingredients needed to get results.
They may even cause more harm to the skin barrier.
Here are the most common reasons why a barrier repair product does not work:
• It does not contain all three of the necessary lipids:
ceramides, cholesterol, and long-chain free fatty acids.
• It does not contain the correct ratio of those lipids.
• It has an incorrect pH.
Poor formulations often use silicones or other occlusive ingredients in an attempt to “block up the gaps” and prevent further TEWL. These substances impede the natural functionality of the skin barrier instead of restoring it. This means some products touted as barrier repair products actually have the opposite effect—a situation that should be of great concern to any skin care professional.
Getting it Right
With all this in mind, what are the basics you need to know in order to practice effective corneotherapy? Here are the key points:
• Respect the integrity of the epidermis, starting with the first lines of barrier defense.
• Keep the skin’s surface pH acidic.
• Restore the antimicrobial barrier and natural UV-B filters.
• When looking for a barrier repair product, use only those that provide ceramides, cholesterol, and long-chain free fatty acids in the 1:1:1 or 3:1:1 ratio.
At the same time, these are the things to avoid:
• Any procedure or product that decreases hydration.
• Mineral oils and other petroleum-based products.
• Products that contain emulsifiers. These have the side effect of destroying the lipid structures within the permeability barrier.
• Products that contain fragrance.
• Products that contain preservatives.
With a better understanding of the structure and function of the skin barrier, estheticians will recognize the importance of treating it with the respect it deserves. Overexfoliating, harsh or incorrect modalities, and incorrect product formulations all work together to create an inflammatory situation for your client.
The key to success in treating skin starts with a full assessment of the health of the skin barrier and the correct strategies to begin the repair process. Once the barrier is restored, wonderful and lasting results can be achieved for your client.
The introduction of retinoic acid and alpha hydroxy acids to skincare products marks the first time consumers saw immediate gratification in their anti-aging quest. It was a boom for esthetics, who now had clients setting up monthly visits to get their acid fix as part of their facial. The results were impressive-plump, taut skin with a reduced appearance of wrinkles. Who wouldn't be hooked.
The problem, however, is that these results are only temporary, and in the long run they actually damage the skin and cause it to age faster than it would if we didn't use the harsh products and techniques. The reason is that when we apply retinoic acid and alpha hydroxy acids to the skin, we are causing inflammation-and inflammation is bad for the skin. When you apply an acid to your face-and this applies to almost every acid, depending on the concentration-you immediately create trauma. This trauma results in swelling. Swelling makes wrinkles and fine lines look better, but only temporarily.
The other effect of these treatments is that they damage the epidermal barrier. The skin, being the intelligent defense mechanism that it is, sees this damage as an assault and seeks to fix the problem. In what is called an "emergency repair response," the skin rushes to repair the damaged epidermis, which speeds up the epidermal turnover rate. Unfortunately, many skincare experts assume that increased epidermal turnover is a good thing-evidence that the skin is returning to its youthful functioning-yet, this forced exfoliation is actually the skin's equivalent of a four-alarm fire.
Ben Johnson, MD "Transform Your Skin Naturally", 2010, Chapter 2, pp. 21-22.
From EWG Skin Deep
Myth – If it’s for sale at a supermarket, drugstore, or department store cosmetics counter, it must be safe.
Fact – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no authority to require companies to test products for safety. FDA does not review or approve the vast majority of products or ingredients before they go on the market. The agency conducts pre-market reviews only for certain color additives and active ingredients in cosmetics classified as over-the-counter drugs (FDA 2005, 2010).
Myth – The cosmetics industry effectively polices itself, making sure all ingredients meet a strict standard of safety.
Fact – In its more than 30-year history, the industry’s safety panel (the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, or CIR) has assessed fewer than 20 percent of cosmetics ingredients and found only 11 ingredients or chemical groups to be unsafe (FDA 2007, CIR 2009, Houlihan 2008). Its recommendations are not binding on companies (Houlihan 2008).
Myth – The government prohibits dangerous chemicals in personal care products, and companies wouldn’t risk using them.
Fact – Cosmetics companies may use any ingredient or raw material, except for color additives and a few prohibited substances, without government review or approval (FDA 2005, FDA 2000).
Fact – People are exposed by breathing in sprays and powders, swallowing chemicals on the lips or hands or absorbing them through the skin. Studies find evidence of health risks. Biomonitoring studies have found cosmetics ingredients – like phthalate plasticizers, paraben preservatives, the pesticide triclosan, synthetic musks, and sunscreens – as common pollutants in men, women and children. Many of these chemicals are potential hormone disruptors (Gray et al. 1986, Schreurs et al. 2004, Gomez et al. 2005, Veldhoen et al. 2006). Products commonly contain penetration enhancers to drive ingredients deeper into the skin. Studies find health problems in people exposed to common fragrance and sunscreen ingredients, including elevated risk for sperm damage, feminization of the male reproductive system, and low birth weight in girls (Duty et al. 2003, Hauser et al. 2007, Swan et al. 2005, Wolff et al. 2008).
Myth – Products made for children or bearing claims like “hypoallergenic” are safer choices.
Fact – Most cosmetic marketing claims are unregulated, and companies are rarely if ever required to back them up, even for children’s products. A company can use a claim like “hypoallergenic” or “natural” “to mean anything or nothing at all,” and while “[m]ost of the terms have considerable market value in promoting cosmetic products to consumers,… dermatologists say they have very little medical meaning” (FDA 1998). An investigation of more than 1,700 children’s body care products found that 81 percent of those marked “gentle” or “hypoallergenic” contained allergens or skin and eye irritants (EWG 2007a).
Myth – Natural and organic products are always safer.
Fact – Products labeled natural or organic often contain synthetic chemicals, and even truly natural or organic ingredients are not necessarily risk-free. The global, plant-based pharmaceutical market, valued at $19.5 billion in 2008, relies on the ability of “natural” chemicals – like those used in some natural cosmetics – to significantly alter body functions, a far cry from innocuous (BCC Research 2006, 2009). On the other hand, products labeled “organic” or “natural” can contain petrochemicals and no certified organic or natural ingredients whatsoever. Products certified as organic can contain as little as 10% organic ingredients by weight or volume (Certech 2008). FDA tried establishing an official definition for the term “natural,” but these protections were overturned in court (FDA 1998). Research shows that 35 percent of children’s products marketed as “natural” contain artificial preservatives (EWG 2007a).
Myth – FDA would promptly recall any product that injures people.
Fact – FDA has no authority to require recalls of harmful cosmetics. Furthermore, manufacturers are not required to report cosmetics-related injuries to the agency. FDA relies on companies to report injuries voluntarily (FDA 2005).
Myth – Consumers can read ingredient labels and avoid products with hazardous chemicals.
Fact – Federal law allows companies to leave many chemicals off labels, including nanomaterials, ingredients considered trade secrets, and components of fragrance (Houlihan 2008). Fragrance may include any of 3,163 different chemicals (IFRA 2010), none of which are required to be listed on labels. Fragrance tests reveal an average of 14 hidden compounds per formulation, including potential hormone disruptors and diethyl phthalate, a compound linked to sperm damage (EWG & CSC, 2010).
Myth – Cosmetics safety is a concern for women only.
Fact – Surveys show that on average, women use 12 products containing 168 ingredients every day, men use 6 products with 85 ingredients (EWG 2004), and children are exposed to an average of 61 ingredients daily (EWG 2007a). The industry-funded CIR safety panel incorrectly assumes that consumers are exposed to just one chemical at a time, and personal care products are the only source of exposure (EWG 2004).
Authors: Jason Rano, Legislative Analyst, and Jane Houlihan, Senior Vice President for Research.
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BCC Research. 2009. Safety Botanical and Plant-Derived Drugs: Global Markets. Report Code BIO022E, February 2009. http://www.bccresearch.com/report/BIO022E.html.
Calafat AM, Wong LY, Ye X, Reidy JA, Needham LL. 2008. Concentrations of the sunscreen agent benzophenone-3 in residents of the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2004. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Jul;116(7):893-7.
Certech Registration Inc. 2008. International organic standard – Natural and natural organic cosmetic certification. IOS Cosmetics. Issue 01. April 2008. http://www.certechregistration.com/IOS_cosmetics_standard.pdf.
CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2009. Ingredients found unsafe for use in cosmetics (9 total, through December, 2009). http://www.cir-safety.org/findings.shtml.
CSC (Campaign for Safe Cosmetics). 2007. Lead in lipstick. http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=223.
CSC (The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics). 2009. No more toxic tub. http://www.safecosmetics.org/downloads/NoMoreToxicTub_Mar09Report.pdf.
Duty SM, Singh NP, Silva MJ, Barr DB, Brock JW, Ryan L, et al. 2003. The Relationship between Environmental Exposures to Phthalates and DNA Damage in Human Sperm Using the Neutral Comet Assay. Environ Health Perspect 111(9): 1164-9.
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EWG (Environmental Working Group). 2006. EWG Comments to FDA on Nano-Scale Ingredients in Cosmetics. Docket: FDA Regulated Products Containing Nanotechnology Materials. Docket number: 2006N-0107. http://www.ewg.org/node/21738.
EWG (Environmental Working Group). 2007a. Safety Guide to Children’s Personal Care Products. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/special/parentsguide/summary.php.
EWG (Environmental Working Group). 2007b. Cosmetics with banned and unsafe ingredients. Table 1 – Banned in other countries. Accessed June 21, 2010. http://www.ewg.org/node/22624.
EWG (Environmental Working Group). 2007c. Cosmetics With Banned and Unsafe Ingredients. Table 2 – Unsafe for use in cosmetics, according to industry. Accessed June 21, 2010. http://www.ewg.org/node/22636.
EWG (Environmental Working Group). 2007d. EWG research shows 22 percent of cosmetics may be contaminated with cancer-causing impurity. http://www.ewg.org/node/21286.
EWG (Environmental Working Group). 2010. EWG’s 2010 sunscreen guide. Nanomaterials and hormone disruptors in sunscreens. http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/full-report/nanomaterials-and-hormone-disruptors-in-sunscreens/.
EWG & CSC (Environmental Working Group and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics). 2010. Not so sexy. Hidden chemicals in perfume and cologne. http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=644
FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 1998. Clearing Up Cosmetic Confusion” by Carol Lewis. FDA Consumer magazine. May-June 1998. http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/health/cosmetic-confusion/398_cosm.html.
FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2000. Ingredients prohibited & restricted by FDA regulations. June 22, 1996; Updated May 30, 2000. http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/SelectedCosmeticIngredients/ucm127406.htm.
FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2005. FDA authority over cosmetics. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-206.html.
FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2007. Compliance Program Guidance Manual. Program 7329.001. Chapter 29 – Colors and Cosmetics Technology. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ComplianceEnforcement/ucm073356.pdf.
FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2010. Regulation of non-prescription products. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-206.html.
Gomez E, Pillon A, Fenet H, Rosain D, Duchesne MJ, Nicolas JC, et al. 2005. Estrogenic activity of cosmetic components in reporter cell lines: parabens, UV screens, and musks. Journal of toxicology and environmental health 68(4): 239-251.
Gray TJ, Gangolli SD. 1986. Aspects of the testicular toxicity of phthalate esters. Environmental health perspectives 65: 229-23.
Hauser R, et al. DNA damage in human sperm is related to urinary levels of phthalate monoester and oxidative metabolites. Hum Reprod. 2007;22(3):688-95.
Houlihan, J. 2008. Statement of Jane Houlihan on Cosmetics Safety: Discussion Draft of the ‘Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act’ Legislation: Device and Cosmetic Safety. Before the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, United State House of Representatives. May 14 2008. http://www.ewg.org/node/26545.
IFRA (International Fragrance Association). 2010. Ingredients. IFRA survey: Transparency list. http://www.ifraorg.org/public/index_ps/parentid/1/childid/15/leafid/111.
Schreurs RH, Legler J, Artola-Garicano E, Sinnige TL, Lanser PH, Seinen W, et al. 2004. In vitro and in vivo antiestrogenic effects of polycyclic musks in zebrafish. Environmental science & technology 38(4): 997-1002.
Swan SH, Main KM, Liu F, Stewart SL, Kruse RL, Calafat AM, et al. 2005. Decrease in anogenital distance among male infants with prenatal phthalate exposure. Environ Health Perspect 113(8):1056-61.
Veldhoen N, Skirrow RC, Osachoff H, Wigmore H, Clapson DJ, Gunderson MP, et al. 2006. The bactericidal agent triclosan modulates thyroid hormone-associated gene expression and disrupts postembryonic anuran development. Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 80(3): 217-227.
Wolff MS, Engel SM, Berkowitz GS, Ye X, Silva MJ, Zhu C, Wetmur J, Calafat AM. 2008. Prenatal phenol and phthalate exposures and birth outcomes. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Aug;116(8):1092-7.
Benzalkonium chloride: Biocide, preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies, … read more benzalkonium chloride is a sensitizer especially dangerous for people with asthma or skin conditions like eczema. It is found in many household disinfectants and cleaning supplies. Regular use of products containing antimicrobials such as benzalkonium chloride could lead to development of resistant bacteria.
BHA: The National Toxicology Program classifies butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” … read more It can cause skin depigmentation. In animal studies, BHA produces liver damage and causes stomach cancers such as papillomas and carcinomas and interferes with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels. The European Union considers it unsafe in fragrance. It is found in food, food packaging, and personal care products sold in the U.S.
Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients (including Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine): Coal tar, a byproduct of coal processing, is a known human carcinogen… read more, according to the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Hair stylists and other professionals are exposed to these chemicals in hair dye almost daily. While FDA sanctions coal tar in specialty products such as dandruff and psoriasis shampoos, the long-term safety of these products has not been demonstrated.
DMDM hydantoin & bronopol (2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol): Cosmetics preservatives that decompose and release formaldehyde… read more, which the International Agency on Research on Cancer lists as a known human carcinogen. The preservatives and their decomposition products, including formaldehyde, can trigger allergic reactions. About one-fifth of U.S. cosmetics and personal care products contain a chemical that releases formaldehyde. Not surprisingly, more Americans develop contact allergies to these ingredients than Europeans.
Formaldehyde: A potent preservative considered a known human carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Cancer.… read more Formaldehyde, also an asthmagen, neurotoxicant and developmental toxicant, was once mixed into to many personal care products as antiseptic. This use has declined. But some hair straighteners are based on formaldehyde’s hair-stiffening action and release substantial amounts of the chemical. Many common preservatives also release formaldehyde into products (like DMDM hydantoin, quaternium, and urea compounds).
Fragrance: It may help sell products from face cream to laundry detergent, but do you know what’s in it? … read more Fragrances are in everything from shampoo to deodorant to lotion. Federal law doesn’t require companies to list on product labels any of the chemicals in their fragrance mixture. Recent research from EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label. Fragrances can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world. Our advice? Buy fragrance free.
Hydroquinone: A skin bleaching chemical that can cause a skin disease … read more called ochronosis, with blue-black lesions that in the worst cases become permanent black caviar-size bumps. In animal studies, hydroquinone has caused tumor development. The National Toxicology Program is conducting reproductive toxicity and dermal carcinogenicity studies of this chemical.
Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone: Preservatives, commonly used together in personal care products, among the most common irritants, sensitizers and causes of contact allergy … read more Lab studies on mammalian brain cells suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic.
Oxybenzone: Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber, found in nearly all Americans… read more, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In human epidemiological studies, oxybenzone has been linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies. A study of 404 New York City women in the third trimester of pregnancy associated higher maternal concentration of oxybenzone with a decreased birth weight among newborn baby girls but with greater birth weight in newborn boys. Studies on cells and laboratory animals indicate that oxybenzone and its metabolites may disrupt the hormone system.
Parabens (Propyl, Isopropyl, Butyl, and Isobutylparabens): Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives, read more found in breast cancer tumors of 19 of 20 women studied. The CDC has detected parabens in virtually all Americans surveyed. According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutylparabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders.
PEG/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compounds: These synthetic chemicals are frequently contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which the U.S. government considers a probably human carcinogen and which readily penetrates the skin. … read more Cosmetics makers could easily remove 1,4-dioxane from ingredients, but tests documenting its common presence in products show that they often don’t.
Petroleum distillates: Petroleum-extracted cosmetics ingredients, commonly found in mascara. … read more They may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities. They are produced in oil refineries at the same time as automobile fuel, heating oil and chemical feedstocks.
Phthalates: A growing number of studies link this chemical to male reproductive system disorders. Pregnant women should avoid nail polish containing dibutyl phathalate. Everyone should avoid products with “fragrance” indicating a chemical mixture that may contain phthalates.
Resorcinol: Common ingredient in hair color and bleaching products; skin irritant, toxic to the immune system and frequent cause of hair dye allergy. … read more In animal studies, resorcinol can disrupt normal thyroid function. The federal government regulates exposures to resorcinol in the workplace, but its use is not restricted in personal care products.
Retinyl palmitate and retinol (Vitamin A): Vitamin A is an essential nutrient, but excessive amounts can cause severe birth defects if women are exposed during pregnancy… read more New evidence shows that when applied to sun-exposed skin, for instance, in sunscreens, lip products and daytime moisturizers, these compounds can break down and produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and cause skin cancer. Recent date from the federal Food and Drug Administration indicate that when retinyl palmitate is applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, it speeds the development of skin tumors and lesions.
Toluene: Volatile petrochemical solvent and paint thinner and potent neurotoxicant that acts as an irritant, impairs breathing and causes nausea … read more A pregnant woman’s exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may impair fetal development. In human epidemiological and animal studies, toluene has been associated with toxicity to the immune system. Some evidence suggests a link to malignant lymphoma.
Triclosan & Triclocarban: Antimicrobial pesticides in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban), very toxic to the aquatic environment….read more often found as contaminants in people due to widespread use of antimicrobial cleaning products. Triclosan disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones. American Medical Association and the American Academy of Microbiology say that soap and water serves just as well to prevent spread of infections and reduce bacteria on the skin. Overuse may promote the development of bacterial resistance.
Antibacterials: Overuse of antibacterials can prevent them from effectively fighting disease-causing germs like E. coli and Salmonella enterica. Triclosan, widely used in soaps, toothpastes and deodorants, has been detected in breast milk, and one recent study found that it interferes with testosterone activity in cells. Numerous studies have found that washing with regular soap and warm water is just as effective at killing germs.
Diethanolamine (DEA): DEA is a possible hormone disruptor, has shown limited evidence of carcinogenicity and depletes the body of choline needed for fetal brain development. DEA can also show up as a contaminant in products containing related chemicals, such as cocamide DEA.
1,4-Dioxane: 1,4-Dioxane is a known animal carcinogen and a possible human carcinogen that can appear as a contaminant in products containing sodium laureth sulfate and ingredients that include the terms "PEG," "-xynol," "ceteareth," "oleth" and most other ethoxylated "eth" ingredients. The FDA monitors products for the contaminant but has not yet recommended an exposure limit. Manufacturers can remove dioxane through a process called vacuum stripping, but a small amount usually remains. A 2007 survey by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that most children's bath products contain 10 parts per million or less, but an earlier 2001 survey by the FDA found levels in excess of 85 parts per million.
Lead and mercury: Neurotoxic lead may appear in products as a naturally occurring contaminant of hydrated silica, one of the ingredients in toothpaste, and lead acetate is found in some brands of men's hair dye. Brain-damaging mercury, found in the preservative thimerosol, is used in some mascaras.
Nanoparticles: Nanoparticles, which may penetrate the skin and damage brain cells, are appearing in an increasing number of cosmetics and sunscreens. Most problematic are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles, used insunscreens to make them transparent. When possible, look for sunscreens containing particles of these ingredients larger than 100 nanometers. You'll most likely need to call companies to confirm sizes, but a few manufacturers have started advertising their lack of nanoparticle-sized ingredients on labels.
P-Phenylenediamine: Commonly found in hair dyes, this chemical can damage the nervous system, cause lung irritation and cause severe allergic reactions. It's also listed as 1,4-Benzenediamine, p-Phenyldiamine and 4-Phenylenediamine.
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