Petrochemicals are petroleum based chemicals that can be found in a wide range of cosmetics. Here are some of the more common petrochemicals used in skin care products.
Parabens are a class of chemicals commonly used by the cosmetic industry as a preservative. As a preservative they are effective at stunting the growth of bacteria and fungus and can increase the shelf life of cosmetics and personal care products. The most common parabens found on cosmetic and personal care product labels are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and isobutylparaben and are chosen depending on the range of antimicrobial activity needed. Although parabens have been in use for decades, a wide range of negative health issues are now being associated with their use.
Recent studies have indicated that the side effects of parabens when used as ingredients of skin care products are much more severe than previously thought. Paraben exposure has been linked to mild skin irritations and the more severe skin conditions, contact dermatitis and rosacea.
Parabens also appear to increase the production of oestrogen, which can affect both men and women. Dr. S. Oishi, of the Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory, has done several studies on the effects of skin care products on male sperm count. In his latest study, Dr. Oishi found that daily sperm production of the test animals exposed to parabens “significantly decreased.”
For women, the effects are even more troubling. In December, 2012, the National Institute of Environmental Health added oestrogen to its list of known cancer-
The companies that produce skin care products include these potentially harmful ingredients because they are cheap, easy alternatives to reach a desired result.
They can sit on the shelf longer
Propylene glycol is a chemical added to help products maintain moisture and to prevent them from drying out. You can find it in brake fluid, anti freeze and other commercial and industrial grade coolants. Propylene glycol has been found to cause skin irritation and sensitivity in less than a 2% concentration. What is further alarming is the fact that the industry review panel allows cosmetic and skin care products to be comprised of up to 50% Propylene Glycol.
According to a 2010 study by Karlstad University, the concentrations of PGE’s, propylene glycol and glycol ethers in indoor air, particularly bedroom air, have been linked to increased risk of developing numerous respiratory and immune disorders in children. These disorders include asthma, hay fever, eczema, and allergies, with increased risk ranging from 50% to 180%. This concentration has been linked to the use of water-
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