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The Not So Pretty

Because the cosmetic industry has virtually no regulation, it's important to know what you're getting into- and how it affects your health.  We understand how hard it is to navigate the ingredient panels of cosmetics and personal care products, let alone navigate the sheer amount of brands out there.  Here are our top ingredients to avoid (none of which you will find in any product on Pretty Pure Beauty):



Parabens: These guys are probably one of the more well known dirty ingredients out there.  Used as a preservative in many traditional cosmetics, parabens are used in literally anything and everything, so check your labels!  The ingredient can also masquerade as methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben.  Parabens have been shown to be linked to cancer and is a hormone and endocrine disruptor. 


Phthalates: These guys may or may not be on the ingredient label, so beware!  What's scary about phthalates is that they hide in many "fragrance" ingredients you may see on labels as well as in packaging itself. Phthalates are also used in the creation of plastics, whether it's your body lotion tube, baby's sippy cup or water bottle. Phthalates are also found in many cosmetics, nail polish, deodorants, lotions and more.  Linked to hormone disruption and a suspected carcinogen, phthalates have also been linked to birth defects and impaired fertility.  


Artificial Fragrance/ Parfum/ Perfume:  Fragrance can be found in virtually anything...from skincare and haircare to cosmetics, body products, soap, household cleaning products and more.  One of the reason fragrance is so harmful is because it is considered a "proprietary" ingredient- meaning a company is not obligated to disclose the ingredients that make up their fragrance- and it is often composed of tens, if not hundreds, of ingredients, which are most likely harmful to your health.  More often than not, phthalates are hiding in here.  Fragrance is often a lung and respiratory irritant, can lead to eye and skin irritation as well as headaches and more allergies.  The only "fragrance" you will see on our site is composed of natural and organic ingredients, and is always phthalate free.


Sulfates: Sulfates are what make things bubble- soaps, body washes, household cleansers, shampoos, even toothpaste and mouthwash.  Sulfates have been shown to be a skin irritant and endocrine disruptor and cannot be metabolized by the liver, meaning that they build up in our body.  Sulfates are also known to be often contaminated with carcinogenic by-products that cause further harm.  Yikes!  Sulfates can show up as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, SLS, Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate, SLES


PEG's/ PG's: PEG compounds are most often found in cream-based products due to their ability to act as a thickener or solvent, although you can find them in other personal care products as well.  These ingredients are often contaminated during the manufacturing process with harmful carcinogenic substances.  Even when not contaminated, PEG's are a common source of skin irritation.


DEA/MEA/TEA: These guys are found in an array of cosmetics, as they tend to help a product feel more creamy or more "sudsy".  They are usually a cause of skin and eye irritation, but prolonged exposure has shown more serious health effects and has even been linked to cancer.


BHA and BHT: Also known as butylated hydroxyanisole or butylated hydroxytoluene, these two ingredients are found in a wide array of personal care products and cosmetics and have been shown to have a carcinogenic effect.


Coal Tar Dyes: Coal tar dyes are found in cosmetics, especially mascara, eyeliner, lipstick and glosses.  On ingredient lists you can often find them as P-phenylenediamine or CI followed by a number.  What makes these so dangerous is the fact that they are derived from petroleum and have been shown to have carcinogenic effects.


Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Donors: A scary thing about these two ingredients is that they may or may not be identified on the ingredient list.  Many times, these ingredients occur as a by-product of producing or mixing two synthetic ingredients, which makes it that more important to avoid the synthetic ingredients listed here as some can lead to the inclusion of formaldehyde.  Formaldehyde is most definitely a carcinogenic ingredient, but can also cause eye and skin irritation, sensitivities and rashes.


1,4 Dioxane:  Although this ingredient may not have made it onto your radar yet, it's most definitely one to avoid.   Recently dubbed as a "probable carcinogen" by the EPA, 1,4 Dioxane may have serious health consequences.  But what makes it so tricky is the fact that it has not only NOT been banned in cosmetic formulas, but isn'teven required to be listed!!  This is because 1,4 Dioxane is a byproduct of combining ingredients during the creation process.  The ingredients that can create 1,4 Dioxane are many of those listed here- so just another reason to avoid the others on this list.


Petroleum/ Petrolatum:  Petroleum ingredients are often included in cosmetic formulas due to their ability to create a barrier on skin- keeping moisture in, but also keeping it out, which isn't a good thing.  Petroleum can also often be contaminated with other harmful substances and can cause skin irritation but it also known as a carcinogen.  


Triclosan:  Triclosan serves as an antibacterial and antimicrobial agent and while not as popular as it used to be, can still be found in many hand soaps, sanitizers or even toothpaste, mouthwash and deodorant.  Although this ingredient is used as a germ killer, there is concern surrounding its ability to increase susceptibility to super strains of bacteria.  It can also be a skin and eye irritant as well as an endocrine disruptor.  


Aluminum:  Aluminum is pretty much known for its inclusion in antiperspirants for its ability to block sweat glands and keep you dry and is most often found in deodorants, but can sneak its way into other personal care products as well.  Aluminum temporarily "plugs" sweat glands, which is what allows us to stay dry when using an antiperspirant and has been known to have possible estrogenic effects


Lead + Mercury: You may or may not find this one on the ingredient list.  Often, it is simply a contaminant of another ingredient, although it can also be used as a preservative.  These two carry some heavy risks, as they have been linked to endocrine disruption, carcinogenic effects, birth defects, depression, miscarriage and more.  Pretty horrible.  Again- not found anywhere on our site.


Toluene:  While workers who are exposed to Toluene in the workplace have to be properly trained on how to handle the chemical due to its health hazards, it is allowed to be included in cosmetics such as nail polish, which we are able to easily buy off the shelves at department stores or drugstores and use in our homes without a second thought.  Toluene has been known to have a wide number of effects on health, from dizziness and skin and eye irritation to birth defects and organ toxicity.  To avoid toluene and other potential harmful chemicals, I recommend using a water-based or at least 10-free nail polish.  All nail polishes, as well as other products, are free of toluene.

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