There are many synthetic preservatives used in cosmetic formulations to prevent the appearance of microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi in beauty products. Among the preservatives favored by the cosmetics industry because they are inexpensive to use, many present serious health risks that should not be overlooked.
Nanoparticles are present in many everyday consumer products: food packaging, food, paints, toothpastes…
However, they are dangerous for neurons and the blood-brain barrier which serves to protect the brain. A French study brings new evidence of their harmfulness for the nervous centers.
Nanoparticles are ubiquitous in everyday consumer products: in paints, cosmetics, toothpaste and even food! Thus, silver nanoparticles are used as antibacterial agents in food packaging. Nanoparticles are used to modify the color, smell, taste, fluidity or texture of products.
But is our daily and repeated exposure to these particles harmful to our health?
In “The Conversation”, two teacher-researchers from the University of Bordeaux, Didier Morin and Laurent Juvin, take stock of this subject and describe the results of their latest study published in .
As their name suggests, nanoparticles are tiny: they are 1,000 to 100,000 times smaller than cells! Due to their small size, they can be inhaled, ingested, pass through the skin, find their way into the blood and reach many organs of the body where they accumulate and may promote disease.
Nanoparticles have already been shown to have a harmful effect on the blood-brain barrier, which serves to isolate the brain from blood circulation (see article below).
Dangerous preservatives in cosmetics to avoid absolutely !
Which toxic preservatives to avoid in your beauty products
This is the case, among others, of the famous parabens. Suspected of being carcinogenic and of disrupting the hormonal system, they have very often been eliminated from cosmetic formulas in recent years. Sadly, in fact, they have been replaced by other equally toxic preservatives in most cases.
The mere mention of “paraben-free” is therefore in no way sufficient to guarantee the harmlessness of a cosmetic product. How to identify dangerous preservatives in an INCI list (list of ingredients regulated by the European Union)?
We have identified for you the 6 most common chemical preservatives that must be avoided at all costs:
This family of synthetic preservatives (Paraoxybenzoates) is used in almost all types of non-organic cosmetic products. If serious doubts as to their dangerousness lead us to avoid them like the plague, we know with certainty that there are some more harmful than others. Indeed, it is the size of the paraben that determines its effectiveness and its potential toxicity: the larger it is, the more effective it will be and also more harmful than another paraben having a smaller size.
Edit: Victory! Propylparaben and butylparaben are now prohibited in leave-in products intended for children under 3 years old and to be applied to the seat area. A step forward that it is worth emphasizing.
The most dangerous parabens to absolutely avoid are: propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben. Methylparaben and ethylparaben are less harmful, but remain fundamentally undesirable in a product intended for skin care.
This synthetic anti-bacterial is a known endocrine disruptor that affects the functioning of the thyroid. This synthetic anti-bacterial is a known endocrine disruptor that affects the functioning of the thyroid. It forms carcinogenic residues that accumulate in the body that the body cannot eliminate. Accumulated with other endocrine disruptors, it constitutes a long-term risk because of what is called the “cocktail effect”.
See article on endocrine disruptors used in cosmetics and their dangers
It forms carcinogenic residues that accumulate in the body that the body cannot eliminate. Accumulated with other endocrine disruptors, it constitutes a long-term risk because of what is called the “cocktail effect”.
. Cetrimonium bromide
Recognized allergen, but also very irritating to the human body, this chemical preservative is very commonly used to preserve cleaning products (micellar water, etc.). Despite its allergenic and irritant effects, current legislation authorizes its use in cosmetics up to a maximum concentration of 0.1%.
Very common in non-organic cosmetic formulas, methylisothiazolinone is nevertheless a strong skin irritant. It is mainly found in products such as shampoos, shower gels, skin creams or even in baby wipes. On an INCI list, it can also be found under the names MIT or Kathon CG.
. Formaldehyde / Formaldehyde Liberators
The preservatives known as “the liberators of formaldehyde” slowly produce formaldehyde in the form of gas. This component is classified as a “class A allergen” by the German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information, and “known carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Its harmful effects on health are linked to its risk of inhalation as well as to its direct contact with the skin and its close contact with the eyes.
If there are regulations on the concentration of formaldehyde in cosmetic products, this is not the case concerning that of formaldehyde liberators. The European Union simply requires that the statement “contains formaldehyde liberators” be made on the labeling of products containing more than 0.05%. The most common to stain to avoid on an INCI list are: DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15.
Also known under the name of phenoxytol or EGPhE, phenoxyethanol is a preservative of the family of glycol ethers, very widespread in cosmetic products (except organic or 100% of natural origin). Harmful to the liver and blood, it also presents carcinogenic risks and would cause dysfunctions of the hormonal system in humans, reducing fertility. Finally, it is a recognized allergen that can cause eczema and urticaria in intolerant people.
In addition to all these reasons to avoid phenoxyethanol, it presents serious dangers in children, for whom the tolerance threshold is much lower than in adults. The National Medicines Safety Agency recommends limiting its concentration to 0.4% in children’s products: currently, the regulatory limit is 1%. This recommendation is accompanied by another advice, supported by the French Health Agency: do not use baby wipes containing phenoxyethanol. Infants’ skin is more prone to penetration than adult skin, especially in premature babies. It is therefore strongly recommended not to apply products containing these types of ingredients to the child’s genitals.
Just like sulfated detergents and endocrine disruptors, all of these synthetic preservatives have nothing to do with cosmetic products. When shopping, therefore, choose organic products (labeled or not!) Or formulas 100% of natural origin, and take the time to consult the labels to make sure you choose healthy products.
How paraben invaded our cosmetics ?
Paraben is a very effective preservative. It prevents the growth of bacteria in cosmetic products and allows you to keep them as long as possible. Long criticized, the other preservatives used by conventional cosmetics to replace it such as “methylisothiazolinone” are even more so.
What paraben really hides ?
Paraben is a strong allergenic
The allergenic effect of paraben has long been proven. Allergic skin that comes into contact with it is irritated, showing patches of eczema, pimples and other red patches. The only way for the irritation to stop is to stop the affected product altogether. If you continue to use a cosmetic that contains paraben that you are allergic to, your skin will become more irritated and flaky.
Paraben is an endocrine disruptor
Paraben is suspected of being an endocrine disruptor and therefore of reducing male fertility by creating dysfunctions in his hormonal system. Able to cross the skin, paraben has been found in cancerous tumors during various studies seeking to prove that its use was carcinogenic.
How the word “paraben free” lies to you ?
The words “paraben free” can hide equally toxic ingredients such as the highly allergenic and irritant isothiazolinone. It is found under the names of “methylisothiazolinone” or “methychloroisothiazolinone”.
Also pay attention to “formaldehyde” which is a recognized carcinogen, you will see it under the mentions: “DMDM Hydantoin”, “Bromo -Nitropropane”, “Diol”, “Diazolidinyl Urea”, “methenamine” , “Quaternium-15”, “Imidazolidinyl Urea”.
Natural preservatives exist
Paraben, and its equally allergenic equivalents, is prohibited in the compositions of products labeled organic cosmetics. They prefer natural or synthetic preservatives that are healthy for your body.
If you are in doubt about the composition of a natural cosmetic, parabens are easy to recognize. Their names end with “-paraben”. The ones you are most likely to come across are: propylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, and ethylparaben.
Plastic is dangerous for health
A study carried out by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) in January 2008 showed that some plastic bottles release Bisphenol A (BPA), mainly from heat. This very toxic chemical substance is responsible for several disorders such as problems with growth, digestion or even brain development … This is particularly harmful for children and pregnant women.
Even though the low level of BPA in plastic bottles is harmless, exposure to 70 degrees would be enough to make it harmful.
It is therefore strongly recommended not to keep hot or boiling drinks in plastic containers.
Reuse of bottles can also be dangerous: this practice actually presents significant hygiene problems, since the various manipulations required for filling result in contamination of the interior of the bottle.
This contamination is particularly important if the bottle is also a container from which the water is drunk at the “neck”.
The microbiological risk, understand the development and transmission of bacteria and microbes is favored by standing water and handling the bottle with sometimes moderately clean hands. To stop contributing to this overconsumption of waste, exposing your health on a daily basis with an unreliable material, it is better to adopt a bottle that you can reuse almost infinitely: the stainless steel gourd
Humans ingest more than 50,000 plastic particles per year.
Humans ingest and breathe tens of thousands of plastic particles each year. This is what research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology revealed. These micro-plastics, which come from the degradation of products as diverse as synthetic clothing, tires, contact lenses, etc., are now found everywhere on the planet, on the highest glaciers as well as in the depths of the oceans.
Canadian researchers compared hundreds of data on microplastic contamination with the average diet and consumption patterns of Americans. Result of these estimates (which will vary individually depending on the way and place of life): an adult man ingests up to 52,000 micro-particles of plastic per year. And if we take air pollution into account, that figure rises to 121,000.
What health risks?
Some 90,000 additional particles are to be added if one consumes only bottled water, adds the study. The impact on human health remains to be clarified, the researchers note. However, the finest particles (less than 130 microns in diameter) “can potentially pass into human tissue (and) generate a localized immune response,” they add.
For Alastair Grant, professor of ecology at the University of East Anglia, who was not involved in this research, there is no evidence that the plastic particles pointed out in the study pose “a significant danger to human health” .
According to him, it is likely that only a small part of the inhaled elements reach the lungs, in particular for reasons related to the size of the particles. According to the authors of the study, more research is needed on the amount of material reaching the lungs and stomach, and its impact on health. And in the meantime, “the most effective way to reduce human consumption of microplastics will undoubtedly be to reduce the production and use of plastics,” they add.