Though we barely want to mention these words on the Max + Jane website, we feel that people need to know how to read skin care product labels and be able to avoid the ingredients that we wouldn’t use ourselves, purchase for our loved ones, or include in our products.
Our skin absorbs product to varying degrees depending on many factors, such as particle size, pH, temperature, hormones, environment and even diet and genetics. Though amounts of unhealthy products in some skin care lines may seem minute, they add to our total risk in a fairly polluted and stressful world. Here are the basic ingredients to identify and avoid on skin care labels.
Phthalates: Phthalates are hormone disruptors that block male hormones and interfere with normal brain function. They are used in cosmetics as a solvent and can alter your brain to make you think that a synthetic fragrance smells great. Phalates can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Most Americans tested have metabolites of phalates in their urine.
Parabens: Parabens are the most widely used preservative in America. They also act as hormone disruptors by mimicking estrogen in the body and have even been found in breast cancer tissue samples. You’ll see them listed on labels as: methyl paraben, propyl paraben, ethyl paraben, heptyl paraben and more.
Sulfates: These are detergents that make products foam and bubble. They are surfactants which are used to make oil and water soluble nutrients mix but can cause anything from mild skin irritation to cancer in animals. The FDA recommends removal of the cancer causing compound of sulfates (I ,4-Dioxane) but it is not required by law yet. Sulphates are found in many hair and skincare products as well as soaps and laundry detergents. You’ll see them listed on labels as: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl ether sulfate, and more.
Petroleum Products: Petroleum products are a common base in skin care products. They are used as a moisture barrier and to carry oils. They are such an effective moisture barrier that they stop moisture in the air from hydrating your skin, and they trap toxins in your skin that your body should be able to sweat out. This seriously adds to the potential for breakouts as these products block your pores. You’ll see them listed on labels as: petroleum, petrolatum, propylene glycol, and paraffin.
Propylene glycol: A notable petroleum based product which is made from petroleum or natural gas. It is a very inexpensive ingredient used for stabilization, as an emulsifier, and as a solvent. It seals your skin but also enhances penetration, so it does penetrate your skin and reaches your bloodstream. The Material Safety Data Sheet on propylene glycol states that it is a strong skin irritant, can inhibit skin cell growth, damage skin membranes, and cause rashes, dry skin, and surface damage. Large amounts are listed as causing liver and kidney damage.
Synthetic Dyes: Synthetic dyes are linked to hyperactivity in children, and are known to cause cancer in animals. They will be labelled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. The lower numbers are known to be cancer causing agents, so the government is phasing these agents out as safer products become available in the industry. Europe bans them altogether in food and skin products, prohibiting the use of 110 cosmetic ingredients, where the US still bans only 10.At Max + Jane we believe in keeping skin cells healthy, rich in nutrients, and free from toxins. We DO NOT include: gluten, phthalates, parabens, synthetic dyes, propylene glycol, sulfates, mineral oils, petroleum based products, or GMOs. We like to keep it real, trusting the wholeness of nature. In our opinion, a few simple products can truly accomplish what your skin needs. This includes: protecting the acid mantle, maintaining timely cell death and renewal, keeping the pH balanced, adding Skin Identical moisture, vitamins, and lipids, and protecting your skin from free radical damage.