Friday, November 28, 2014

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Chemicals in Some Beauty Products Could Have Ugly Effect on Your Health

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Certain ingredients found in beauty products from makeup to shampoo might do more harm than good, as they may contain chemicals that are bad for you and/or the environment. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

From shampoo to makeup, each day, we use tons of products on our bodies. But did you ever wonder what's actually in all of them? Shop Smart Magazine recently looked into the ingredients in many beauty products, and what they found wasn't pretty.

"Ingredients that we found in many common products are known carcinogens or hormone disrupters and can have generally bad health effects," says Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of Shop Smart Magazine.

Freeman says often times, people fall victim to marketing. Words like natural, dermatologist recommended, healthy or hypoallergenic have no regulated meaning. So it's really important to look for chemicals in the ingredient list.

For example, many products contain formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen.

"Formaldehyde, as you know, is used to embalm bodies," Freeman says. "You'll find it in nail polishes, fake eyelash glues. Many products actually have that."

Triclosen is another one to avoid. It's an antibacterial agent found in everything from blush to toothpaste. It could have negative effects on our reproductive health, and because it's an antibacterial agent, it could help contribute to the rise in super bugs.

Phalates are another big one that can be harmful to your reproductive health.

"Youll find them in many different kinds of products," Freeman says. "In many cases, they are included in fragrance, and fragrances are considered a trade secret, and they don't have to disclose the components of the fragrance, so that's a good tip off. Look for that word on labels."

Coal tar is a carcinogen you should avoid. It's found primarily in dandruff shampoo.

Now, all this doesn't mean you need to run to your medicine cabinet and start throwing products away. The effects of these chemicals are cumulative, so if there is one or two products you really love and don't want to get rid of, you don't have to. But you may want to swap out some others instead."

If you are not sure, there are lot of websites that rate product toxicity. There are also apps that allow you to get that info by scanning right at the store. For more on this and for a list of those sites and apps, go to shopsmart.org.

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