Sun-kissed strawberry, pouty peach, vampy vanilla, bold berry â€“ these names may sound like they belong to a tropical fruit garden, but they also lend their names to hand and body lotions that can be found in various beauty stores.
These exotic sounding, sweet-smelling body lotions can certainly leave your skin feeling smooth and silky, and might have you smell like a walking perfume store, but what most people donâ€™t know is that they can also be very harmful to your skin.
Take a look at a standard scented lotion from your shelf â€“ the label on your lotion will promise you that it is fortified with ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Vitamins C and E. It will also probably guarantee to leave your skin feeling hydrated, soft and smelling absolutely divine. Now, take a closer look at the additional ingredients that will most likely be listed on the back label of your lotion, in print so fine that you might need your grandmotherâ€™s glasses to read them.
These ingredients are the ones you need to watch out for, as they are mostly chemical additives that are known to be toxic. Fragrances are, by definition, volatile. Scented lotions contain various toxic chemicals that can vaporize into the air and attach themselves to a personâ€™s hair, clothing or surroundings. According to the National Academy of Sciences, 95 percent of chemicals used in fragrant products today are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum, including known toxins capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
Diazolidinyl Urea is a commonly used preservative that is used in scented lotions and other cosmetic products.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization body located in Lyon, France, classified Diazolidinyl Urea as a â€œknown human carcinogen.â€ Diazolidinyl Urea also releases formaldehyde, a â€œprobableâ€ carcinogen as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Parabens â€“ a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic industry. If you happen see Methylparaben, Propylparaben, IIsoparaben or Butylparaben listed under the ingredients in your body lotion, you should also know the EPA reported that the parabens â€“ methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl displayed estrogenic activity in several tests.
This means that these products have the properties of, or are similar to, an estrogen. It is also a fact that estrogen can stimulate breast cancer. These chemicals are especially dangerous because anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose.
Propylene Glycol is a cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid and industrial antifreeze. This chemical is also used as a humescent, preventing the escape of moisture or water from cosmetic products.
According to the Environmental Working Group website, Propylene Glycol is a strong skin irritant and can cause liver abnormalities, kidney damage, eye irritation, skin irritation and skin drying.
Los Angeles-based dermatologist Dr. Fawad Shaheen said that it is important for consumers to be able to read labels and have a basic knowledge of listed ingredients in most beauty products.
â€œIf it goes on your skin, then you should be aware of what constitutes the product. It only takes a few minutes to do some research, and it could help you in making a healthy decision,â€ Shaheen said.
Reem Shariff, 24, senior business major, said that she was addicted to scented lotions until she happened to read an article forwarded to her by a friend that listed some of the harmful ingredients contained in those lotions.
â€œIt was a wakeup call, it really scared me,â€ Shariff said. â€œI had a whole line of products, but I discarded most of them. I guess I am going to have to do without them.â€