Health & Wellness Living

Are Your Cosmetics Safe?

Written by Nick Andre

There is a good chance that some of the cosmetics and personal care products in your cabinets contain unsafe ingredients. If you buy well-known brand name cosmetics, look at the ingredients label of the products and more often then not you will find an ingredient that ends with the word paraben. There are many types of parabens, the most common being methylparaben, ethylpraben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. These parabens are used as preservatives, however when absorbed into the body they act as endocrine disruptors, meaning they mimic estrogen. According to the Environmental Working Group, parabens are a known human toxicant and have been linked to cell mutations involved in cancer. Additionally they have also been found in high concentrations in breast cancer tumors.

There has been much controversy over the safety of these chemical preservatives, and some studies have conflicting results. However, a general consensus of concern led to the most dangerous of these parabens, methylparaben, being banned in the entire European Union. In America, methylparaben is widely found in cosmetics and is among the most common of preservatives.

Besides parabens, all cosmetics including lotions, deodorants, toothpaste, makeup, shampoos, and soaps, contain many ingredients that most of us have not the slightest idea what they are. A number of those ingredients are unsafe yet commonly used, including phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate. An easy way to verify whether or not you cosmetics are safe, is to use the Environmental Working Group’s Cometic Safety Database, named Skin Deep. There you can do a quick search of products you use, and find out how they rate on a scale of 0-10 based on safety. There is also a breakdown of individual ingredients with their safety information and links to supporting scientific studies.

It is a good idea to check this database even if you use products that claim to be all-natural. This is because some of those products still have questionable ingredients, the label may just be more marketing than science. Furthermore, any product used on a newborn should be thoroughly checked, as children are more sensitive to chemicals and toxins than adults.

About the author

Nick Andre

Nick is the Managing Editor of and the Managing Director of Kumani Inc., a Certified Green web development and business consulting firm. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has deep passions for nutrition, organic agriculture, renewable energy, and the environment, which led him to found Modern Serenity in 2009. Nick is also a bit of a political junkie and is involved in environmental advocacy, land conservation efforts, and more.

1 Comment

  • I just looked at skin deep site and it’s amazing to find out all the types of toxins in cosmetics. There are still some brands that need more information to produce more accurate information, but the site is a great start.