The 7 ingredients I always avoid

There are many ingredients around the web that tout as the dirty dozen list to avoid at all cost. Even though there are some truth in what most of these websites are saying, my advice to you is to know what ingredient irritates you in a certain way and then make note to avoid them. Some people are more particular with the ingredients in their products than others, and some are pretty much alright with most ingredients except for a few that they may be allergic or sensitive to.

For myself, there are these 7 ingredients that I avoid no matter what, as I found that when I use products with any of these ingredients in them, my skin gets extremely dry and/or irritated.

1. Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40)

Alright, even though I list this as the first, I tend to be more lenient on this ingredient if the other ingredients in the list are from natural organic sources, or if it doesn’t feel too drying on my skin. Most ladies I know avoid alcohol in their products, and I would too if not for the fact that it’s kind of hard to find products for combination skin that doesn’t have alcohol in it.

It is said to be a very drying, irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips your skin’s natural acid mantle, making you more prone to viruses entering and may even promote brown spots and premature aging of skin.

2. Anionic Surfactants

Examples of anionic surfactants are: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), ammonium laureth sulfate (ALES), TEA (triethanolamine) lauryl sulfate, TEA (triethanolamine) laureth sulfate, lauryl or cocoyl sarcosine.

Some shampoo that claims to be SLS free usually have ALS to replace it, and that ingredient is no better than the notorious SLS. These ingredients are under the same category of surfactants that may be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. Surfactants can pose serious health threats and are used for quick and effective cleansing properties.

You can find these ingredients in shampoos, body wash, facial wash and basically about 90% of personal care products that foam, but did you know that these ingredients are also used in car washes, as garage-floor cleaners and engine degreasers? I particularly avoid these ingredients because they always dry out my skin and trigger my eczema.

3. DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine)

These ingredients can cause allergic reactions and will lead to eye problems, dryness of the skin and hair over prolonged usage. Could be toxic and potentially carcinogenic if absorbed into the body over a period of time. Because of its known carcinogenic effects, these chemicals are already restricted in Europe. 

4. Mineral oil/paraffin oil/paraffin wax/petrolatum/liquidum paraffinum

Derived from petroleum by-product, this ingredient covers the skin like plastic, suffocating and clogging pores while interfering with the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins. By slowing down skin functions and cell development, it could promote acne growth and premature aging. Mineral oil derivatives can be contaminated with cancer causing PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and it is said that the only reason companies use it is solely because it’s cheap.

5. Phthalates

It is a toxic chemical found in certain plastics and containers. Could be found in some hairsprays, cosmetics and nail varnishes, all which are readily absorbed by the body. When research and tests were done in controlled groups, an astonishing amount of people found phthalates in their body. Avoid products in plastic that bears the recycling symbols (the little triangle made with arrows and a number inside) 3,6, and 7.

6. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) compounds and propylene glycol/butylene glycol 

These potentially carcinogenic petroleum-derived ingredients are known to penetrate the skin and weaken protein and cellular structure. Again, this ingredient can cause premature aging and leave your skin vulnerable to bacteria. In cases that requires workers to handle these ingredients, the EPA warns against skin contact to prevent consequences such as brain, liver and kidney abnormalities, and made workers wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles to dispose of these solutions quickly by burying them in the ground.

While these health hazard warnings are everywhere in manufacturing companies that handle these ingredients, not one warning label is on the products that made it to our houses and used on our very own bodies, such as deodorants.

7. Parabens preservatives (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, and ethyl-)

Most people are aware that parabens, used as preservatives to prolong the shelf life of products, are toxic and known to cause allergic reactions and even skin rashes, but hardly anyone is reading the ingredient list of the next lip product they are buying. Most ladies end up consuming these chemical preservatives that are from their lip products, and you guessed it right, parabens are also found in most humans’ bodies when tests were done.

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Could chronic worrying be the reason for your ailments?

Many of us today are faced with more stress than ever. When dealing with problems that can’t be solved immediately, the next thing we do is worry. Many people don’t think they worry a lot, but they do find themselves thinking about subject matters obsessively. And that could eventually lead to stress. 

There are many reasons for worrying. Some people believe the more they think about the problem, the sooner they will think of a solution to it. Or it could be they are afraid of overlooking certain issues and would rather be prepared than surprised at the outcome. Being preoccupied with never ending ‘what ifs’ is also a form of worrying. While the list of reasons for worrying is a long one, so is the list of ill effects from worrying.

By worrying, you are making your body more inclined to produce stress hormones and some stress hormones stay in the body even when the ‘stress period’ is over. Stress hormones linger longer in people who are older, making them more susceptible to the side effects of stress. Worrying also makes your body unable to repair itself quickly and over a prolonged period of time, your immune system will be affected, leading to other problems. Excessive production of stress hormones will have physical effects on your body such as:

  • faster heart rates
  • dry mouth
  • difficulty swallowing
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • inability to concentrate
  • irritability
  • muscle aches and tension
  • nausea
  • rapid breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • nervous energy
  • sweating
  • trembling and twitching
According to this site, when these hormones are excessively present in our bodies and isn’t used for any physical activity, it can have serious consequences such as:
  • suppression of the immune system
  • digestive disorders
  • muscle tensions
  • short term memory loss
  • premature coronary artery disease
  • heart attack
With the immune system being vulnerable, it increases the risk of falling sick more often, and aggravation of existing ailments in the body. There are many ways to decrease and even stop unhealthy worrying entirely, especially since most worries are not able to be solved immediately. Here are some ways to stop/lessen worrying.
Skip your coffee and drink tea instead.
Coffee increases the release of stress hormones and even though tea contains caffeine as well, it is not as harmful as coffee. Tea also has a calming effect on the body. Try Chamomile or Green tea.
Taking a slow, long bath.
The sound of water is therapeutic and relaxes not just the mind but the body as well.
Writing them down.
Listing your worries on paper will let you have a clearer view of how small those problems are. When you keep going them over and over in your head, you tend to magnify the problem. Some people worry because they are afraid of forgetting or missing out certain things, in this sense, writing is very useful.
Postpone your worries and focus on the present.
Many people get caught up with worry and neglect the present. Instead of constantly having thoughts going through your mind, stop thinking and concentrate on what you’re doing. Learn to enjoy the present.
If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it.
There are two things in this world. 1) things that we cannot control and 2) things that we can control. If your problem falls in the category of things you cannot control, then stop worrying about it!