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The Top 10 Toxins Lurking in Your Cosmetics + Better Options


Before you apply your foundation or put on your lipstick, keep reading. That’s because most of the cosmetics you apply to your skin are directly absorbed into your bloodstream and you may be shocked to learn that there are over 82000 chemicals lurking in your personal care products, including your cosmetics. More than one in eight (10,500) of these chemicals are industrial chemicals, including: automotive degreasers, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, pesticides, plasticizers, and reproductive toxins.

After reviewing more than 12,500 personal care products, the David Suzuki Foundation found that over 80% contained at least one, and often multiple toxic and health-damaging chemicals. Some of the worst chemicals found in cosmetics include:

  1. BHA and BHT: Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are common preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers. BHA has been linked to cancer and hormone disruption in humans. In animal studies, BHT has been linked to liver, thyroid, and kidney problems that can mimic estrogen and block male sex hormones, resulting in problems with reproduction.
  1. Coal Tar Dyes: Dyes made from coal tar are extensively used in cosmetics. They are usually listed as CI plus a 5-digit number or FD&C or D&C followed by a number. Derived from petrochemicals, coal tar recognized as a human carcinogen.
  1. DEA Ingredients: Diethanolamine (DEA) and related compounds are used to make cosmetics creamy or to adjust the pH. While they are known to cause skin and eye irritation, in larger quantities, research shows that they can cause liver cancer and precancerous conditions of the skin or thyroid gland.
  1. Dibutyl Pththalate: Used as a solvent for dyes as well as a plasticizer, DBP can increase the likelihood that other chemicals will damage a person’s genetic material, a type of toxin known as a mutagen.
  1. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives: Used as preservatives in cosmetics, as well as in vinyl flooring and in toilet bowl cleaners, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies these chemicals as known human carcinogens.
  1. Parabens: Parabens are well-established hormone disruptors that throw off our delicate hormonal balance. Parabens in cosmetics may be linked to hormonally-related breast cancers.
  1. Fragrance or Parfum: Approximately 3,000 chemicals are lumped together under the classification of “parfum” or “fragrance.” Even cosmetics that are listed as “fragrance-free” or “unscented” usually contain these toxic fragrances as well as chemical masking agents to hide the smell. They are commonly used in cosmetics, perfumes, colognes, laundry detergents, and fabric softeners. They are linked to allergies, asthma, migraines, skin conditions, and some have been linked to cancer.
  1. PEG Compounds: Polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are derived from petrochemicals and are used as thickening agents, solvents, and moisture-carriers. Some PEGs are established carcinogens.
  1. Petrolatum: Also known as petroleum jelly, petrolatum is, as its name suggests, derived from petroleum products, and is used to make skin or hair shine. It is linked with cancer.
  1. Siloxanes: Siloxanes are silicone-based cosmetic ingredients that are also used in building sealants and lubricants. They include reproductive toxins that have been found to cause uterine tumors.


Dr. Cook’s Recommended Cosmetics: Elate Cosmetics

Dr. Cook loves Elate Cosmetics

As a long-time natural health practitioner, doctor of natural medicine, and author of twenty health books, including: Weekend Wonder Detox and The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, I exclusively use and recommend pure and healthy cosmetics. After searching and experimenting for many years with a huge variety of so-called “natural” cosmetics, I finally discovered Elate Cosmetics and immediately fell in love. And, having sensitive skin and a strong reaction to most toxic chemicals and hidden fragrances, I am a good person to test the products. Elate’s products are the only ones I’ve found to be pure enough to wear or recommend.

The company is committed to using cruelty-free ingredients, ethical marketing, and sustainable practices. Additionally, the cosmetics are clean, vegan, 100% gluten-free (safe enough for those people with celiac), made in Canada, and even use green-certified, fair trade and reusable bamboo packaging, compacts, and palettes. They practice fair trade, use 90% organic ingredients, and completely avoid planet-polluting nanoparticles. Committed to “never compromis(ing) the health of any person, animal, or the planet,” I can’t help but feel good about my decision to use the products.

Unlike most of the “natural” products I’ve tried, Elate Cosmetics’ products just feel good on my skin. The lipsticks are creamy but long-lasting, the eyeliner is gorgeous but doesn’t leave my eyes feeling irritated or achy like most products I’ve used. The lipsticks, eye shadows, eyeliners, and other products come in a huge range of colors. The foundation superbly covers blemishes without feeling heavy and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth afterward.

And, the company’s commitment to the environment is bar none. Consider that they don’t use any excess packaging, and go the extra mile for the planet: the pressed powder actually comes in seed paper that can be planted afterward to grow wildflowers or herbs. Elate Cosmetics goes the extra mile to create healthy, planet-friendly products that I feel great about using and recommending. 

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