Dr. Nivedita Dadu
Dr. Nivedita Dadu, Medical & Cosmetic Dermatologist having an experience of 14 years, has done her MBBS from the prestigious Maulana Azad Medical College & Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi. Later she pursued her post-graduation and senior residency in Dermatology, Venereology & Leprosy at Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, one of the premier hospitals in the country. During her 8 years of Dermatology at Safdarjung Hospital, Dr. Nivedita worked extensively in out-patient and in-patient management of all Skin Disorders, Dermatological Procedures, Cosmetic Dermatology and was actively involved in clinical research and academics at the hospital.
The most important organ of our body- our skin is not only the largest organ, but it also serves as our first means of defense by protecting our body from any external damages- be they environmental, chemical or physical. A few recently conducted studies have proven that about 60 percent of the ingredients present in the products that we use on our skin are directly absorbed into the body and can benefit or harm it directly or indirectly. Certain specific ingredients present in our skincare products can have serious damaging effects on our skin causing various healthcare issues like allergies, eczema, hormonal issues, other hypersensitivities and even cancer in some cases. These ‘Not- So-Safe’ ingredients can be frequently found in commonly used products which we use regularly as a part of our skincare routine like facewashes, moisturisers, sunscreens, lotions, creams and also various makeup products like foundations, concealers, powders, etc. Therefore, it goes without saying that it has become all the more necessary to carefully consider what products we use for our skin so as to avoid any unpleasant experiences which would cost us our time, money and efforts to deal with later on.
Here we bring to you a list of 8 such harmful ingredients compiled by the very popular Delhi- based Dermatologist Dr. Nivedita Dadu which is surely bound to expand your horizons regarding the safety levels of these products which we use regularly in such a carefree manner. So, the next time you go out to buy any product for your skin, remember if any of the following ingredient is enlisted in the product’s description, it should immediately raise a red flag in your mind about its potential harm to one of your most precious physical treasures- yes, that soft, glowing and healthy skin of yours. So, remember to look out for these ingredients:
If the label just mentions the word ‘Fragrance’ without specifying the exact chemical name of the added product, it surely is a sign of warning as their use may later lead to serious conditions like allergies, inflammations, skin eruptions, and asthma. Products labeled as ‘fragrances’ or ‘perfumes’ must be strictly avoided in the case of infants or toddlers because of their extremely sensitive skin which makes them even more prone to such allergic reactions.
A preservative chemical most often a part of various shampoos, parabens have been proven to mimic the hormone estrogen and its absorption in the body in excessive amounts can disrupt the normal hormonal balance and can also lead to problems like low sperm count and even breast cancer. So, we must carefully check the labels for paraben-free products before buying, and skin or haircare products having paraben or methylparaben must be avoided in order to prevent any hormonal imbalance.
Even though triclosan is a very common ingredient in anti-bacterial and anti-fungal soaps, body washes, toothpaste, and deodorants, research has proved that the products containing triclosan such as body washes do not have any additional benefits over the ones that do not contain it. On the contrary, these triclosan-rich products can cause liver toxicity and hormonal imbalance. It is therefore wise to opt for triclosan-free skincare products.
It is used not just as a common disinfectant but also as a preservative in many cosmetic products like nail polish, shaving creams, eyelash adhesives, deodorants, shampoos, etc. Often labelled as a skin sensitizer, carcinogenic and allergen, no wonder formaldehydes make their way to the top of the list of EU banned products due to the potential health risks they can cause. Excessive exposure to formaldehyde can cause eye irritation, breathing problems, and even cancer. It is also frequently used in beauty parlors or saloons during hair straightening treatment either by directly dumping it on the hair or by using a combination of chemicals which on mixing together, react with each other to decompose and release formaldehyde. The latter case causes even greater damage to the hair. Formaldehydes can be included in beauty products in the form of a variety of ingredients such as DMDMhydantoin, Methenamine, Diazolidinyl urea, Bronopol, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, etc. So be careful not to go for any product which has any of these as their ingredient.
Due to its ability to absorb the products deep into the skin or hair, Sodium Laureth sulfate is a commonly found ingredient of various cream-based cosmetics like foundations, concealers, sunscreens, etc. But in addition to absorbing the products, it can also absorb some harmful ingredients and contaminants like ethylene oxide which can cause skin irritation, acne, or eye damage. In order to avoid any such unwanted incident, always look out for sulfate-free or polyethylene-glycol-free products.
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate:
Various health issues pertaining to our hormonal imbalance and reproductive health can be a result of the detrimental effects of the most common ingredients of our make-up products that we use regularly such as phthalates. Phthalates are one of the most common ingredients of color cosmetics like eye shadows and lipsticks. So, it is advisable to check the labels before buying and discarding the ones that contain any form of phthalates such as DEP, DEHP, fragrance, DBP, etc.
A commonly found ingredient in cosmetic and skin care products, Oxybenzone is a well-known chief problematic agent causing fertility problems or obesity issues. As it is especially used in sunscreens, we must be cautious enough to avoid the ones that contain oxybenzone. Instead, opt for any mineral-based or physical sunscreens.
Lead is a common coloring dye used vastly in lipsticks and eye kohl. But research proves that an overdose of this ingredient is linked to an increased risk of blood disorders and can also hamper the nervous system. Frequent and prolonged use of this ingredient can lead to severe damage, therefore opting for lead-free cosmetic products is the safest choice. Also avoid retouching your lipstick or kohl multiple times in a day to prevent any over-exposure.
We must be careful about what we apply on our skin as this vital organ is a strong barrier which protects many internal organs. So the next time you go out shopping for your favourite cosmetics, remember to turn that bottle around and look at the ingredients printed on the label to keep your skin and hair healthy and glowing.
So, choose wisely, look good and stay healthy and safe!!