Plastics are lurking in your everyday cosmetics, including lotion, hairspray and shampoo. Here are 5 reasons to avoid them.
Squeaky clean, and hair preened and stuck steadfastly – every last hair in place, every inch of our skin feeling moisturized. But at what cost? Far from being of concern only to the hemp wearing, planet-loving hippie, the plastics contained within our lotions, moisturizers, hairspray and shampoos should cause us all concern. Here are five reasons why.
1. Salon-worthy, advert-ready hair – the dream is far from the reality
We’ve all seen those awe-inspiring models and celebs in shampoo ads, and while those with a grip on reality will know that the results shown are likely unrealistic, what you shouldn’t expect, is that these products should come with a neon flashing “buyer beware” sign. In one journalist’s investigation, a well known shampoo brand was dissected: three ingredients were for cleaning hair, the remaining 22 were unnecessary to the cleaning process, perhaps the biggest offender amongst which was PEG-7M – placed there to provide lather. This gem of a chemical:
“…reduces the skin’s natural moisture. Increases the appearance of aging and leaves you vulnerable to bacteria. (It is) used in spray-on oven cleaners and cleansers to dissolve oil and grease”.
- TFM Health
Alongside this plastic are a whole host of other follicle nasties, such as resins, waxes and silicone, which are all cleverly picked to create the illusion of healthier hair – all while coating it over and over and over, to ultimately leave your hair dull, listless and completely unmanageable. Look out for: Dimethacone, Cyclomethicone, Acrylates, Copolymers, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone and Paraffin Waxes.
2. Dandruff, hair loss and plastic packaging
Dimethicones and Silicones
Aside from squeezing in more syllables than it’s possible to pronounce, this formidable pair of polymers are used in shampoos to seal moisture in (which is what you want your shampoo to do, right?). Well, perhaps not, as they can cause thinning of the hair and an itchy scalp – not such a great look after all.
Vinyl Acetate/Vinyl Neodecanoate Copolymer
Vinyl Acetate/Vinyl Neodecanoate Copolymer should be thought of as a little like glue. This stuff is used in shampoo, conditioner and in the wider cosmetics world (in addition to being used for food packaging!).
You should look out for these if you really wish to avoid “organ system toxicity, neurotoxicity, and additive exposure”. We’re thinking that that wouldn’t work so well as a slogan on that luxurious looking bottle of conditioner.
3. Hair spray – It’s hair raising stuff (in more ways than one)
Any idea as to just what stuff keeps your hair stiff? Well, here’s a starting list: Vinyl Acetate, Crotonates, Vinyl Neodecanoate, Copolymer and Octylacrylamide, Acrylates and Butylaminoethyl Methacrylate Copolymer. The plastic most commonly found in hair sprays is Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), which is at its most dangerous when applied to the hair and heated up with styling tools. This effectively melts the plastic for us to breath in, causing damage to the lungs in sensitive individuals.
4. Lotions? More like bewitched potions going by this list
Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer is a synthetic copolymer found in everything from moisturizing cream to body butter. It contains benzene (a known carcinogen) and despite legal limitations on this, research has found levels to reach over and above the 0.5% safety threshold. In one study, this ingredient had been linked to “lung inflammation, hyperplasia and tumor growth” in rats.
5. Anti-age? More like carcinogens in a jar
Acrylates copolymer (vinyl) is used as a stabilizer in many cosmetic products – from anti-aging creams to body wash. This plastic, is toxic – it shouldn’t be ingested or swallowed. OK, so if you make it through your shower or face application without any entering your eyes or mouth, you’re out of the woods, right? Hmmm, not quite. One study has previously found it to be a carcinogen, also capable of rubbing those with sensitive skin the wrong way, with inflation and irritation.
Giving your best effort to avoid products with plastics.
You can easily avoid cosmetics with plastics by taking a quick glance at the ingredient list of the products you buy. By simply avoiding the chemicals above, you are well on your way to cutting plastics out of your daily products! See, that wasn't too hard, right? A brand which has been keen on keeping harmful and questionable ingredients out of their products is Enovvia. Take a look at their shampoo, hairspray and moisturizer products, they list their ingredients online for easy viewing.
Thanks for reading! 😊 -Melinda C.