Beauty Can Make You Sick

By Valerie Robitaille and Naima Feagin

If you brushed your teeth this morning, washed your hair, styled it with hairspray and gel, put on body lotion, and did your makeup, you may have poisoned yourself…just a little. If you do this every day, every little bit of poison adds up to a lot.

Let me ask you, would you wash your hair or brush your teeth with industrial degreaser and garage floor cleaner? Would you moisturize your skin with brake fluid and use anti-freeze to “bring out” the contour of your cheekbones?

Here’s the shocker: you use the above products every day and may not even know it. But it’s not the beauty products themselves that can make you sick, it’s some of the ingredients in them.

Maybe you’re not sick right now, or don’t think you are. You feel…well, OK. As far as I’m concerned I want to feel absolutely fabulous all the time! Everyone knows that a healthy diet and regular exercise are essential to a healthy body. And let’s say you’re doing the best that you can. Do you still suffer from headaches, nausea or dizziness? Are you tired most of the time? Do you have problems sleeping? Are your emotions completely out of control? Is your face breaking out? Is your skin dry, flaky or ashy? Is your hair falling out? It just may be the ingredients in your beauty products that are causing some of these symptoms.

If you or a loved one suffer from any long-term low-level chronic conditions, or more serious concerns like heart arrhythmia, IBS, Crohn’s disease, MS, arthritis, psoriasis and a host of other perplexing chronic conditions the medical people have no answers for… then you should be looking very closely at what toxic chemicals go on your skin and ultimately, into your body! You can see my recommendations for body care HERE:Personal Care Beauty Can Make You Sick


Let’s ‘dissect’ these problems. Does that remind you of the High School science lab? The smell of formaldehyde perhaps? Formaldehyde is a common ingredient in moisturizers, hair conditioners and sunscreens. And the EPA has classified this embalming fluid as a probable human carcinogen (cancer causing). Its vapors can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin, and also cause asthma attacks in sensitive people. Home exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to respiratory allergies in children.


Maybe you’re thinking that having formaldehyde in your products that you apply externally isn’t anywhere near as bad as drinking it. However, anything you apply topically to your skin or hair is absorbed into your bloodstream.

Here is just a short listing of some of the common chemicals found in many personal care products:

1) Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is used in toothpastes, shampoos and just about every personal cleansing product on the market. SLS started its career as an industrial degreaser and garage floor cleaner.

  • When applied to human skin it has the effect of stripping off the oil layer and then irritating and eroding the skin, leaving it rough and pitted.
  • Shampoos with SLS retard healing and may stop children’s eyes from developing properly.
  • May be a contributing cause of cataracts in adults.
  • Has a low molecular weight and is easily absorbed by the body. It may build up in the heart, liver and lungs and brain and could be associated with health problems with these organs.
  • Causes eczema and mouth ulcers in susceptible people and could be contributing factor in the onset of psoriasis.
  • Shown to corrode hair follicles and impair the ability of the follicle to grow hair.
  • Causes biological dysfunction of the skin.

2) Propylene glycol (PG) is a wetting agent and solvent used in make-up, hair care products, deodorants and after shave, and is often used in toothpaste. It is also the main ingredient in antifreeze and brake fluid. 

Propylene glycol routinely appears in the top three ingredients in many personal care items, indicating that it is present in high concentration. 

3) Polyethylene glycol (PEG) – A related agent found in most skin cleansers, is a caustic used to dissolve grease, the same substance you find in oven cleaners.

  • Warning labels on drums of PEG used in industry clearly state that the chemical is poisonous and to wear protective clothing when handling the concentrate. If spilt on the skin, to wash off immediately with soap and water and to seek medical advice! It even used to be added to ice cream not many years ago, ostensibly for the purpose of keeping the ice cream soft! Fortunately, due to government intervention, food manufacturers are no longer able to use this potentially dangerous chemical in most of our foods! However, this chemical is just as easily absorbed into the human body, via the skin, as it is by ingestion.
  • PEG has been shown to cause adverse health effects in susceptible individuals and has been found to cause kidney damage and liver abnormalities
  • PEG damages cell membranes causing rashes, dry skin, contact dermatitis and surface damage to the skin.
  • PEG is toxic to human cells in cultures (in the lab).

4)  Formaldehyde is used in bubble bath, shampoos, moisturizing lotions and many cosmetics as an inhibiting agent against carcinogenic nitrosamine production. Yet this chemical is a known carcinogen in its own right! It is also used in vaccines as a preservative and given to our children for goodness sake! Formaldehyde is an embalming fluid! It is a powerful and poisonous, toxic substance! It readily penetrates the skin and can cause serious future health concerns and often sensitizes individuals to other chemicals. Safety warning labels advise users to wear protective clothing, face mask and gloves. If spilt on the skin to wash off with copious quantities of water and to seek medical advice! Accidental spillage on skin may cause irreversible health effects! If swallowed induce vomiting and seek immediate medical help!

I encourage you to go into your medicine cabinet or local cosmetics department and READ some of the ingredients on the labels. You’ll be shocked at what you find in bold print. And these are only the ingredients that the cosmetic companies are required to put on labels. There are also other chemicals called pthalates that are extremely toxic, banned in other countries and allowed in American cosmetics. The FDA does not require companies to list these chemicals on the bottle.

Sodium Laureth SulfatePlease read the ingredients on the label of any commercial shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, eye shadow, lipstick, or any other cosmetic product. Find one ingredient that looks like it may be a harmful chemical (it’s usually very hard to pronounce). Type that ingredient into a google search adding the words “dangerous chemicals in beauty products” next to it. You will find hundreds of sites with information on how this chemical is made, where it comes from, what it’s used in and what harm it may cause you.

Many chemicals are not only toxic and sometimes carcinogenic but can be totally unnecessary in any way shape or form for the quality of our lives. Nevertheless they are produced and marketed as being essential to our modern lifestyle by the rich and powerful cosmetic companies that manufacture them. Why is this you might ask? Because synthetic chemicals are cheap and easy to come by. There was a time when a person actually had to wait until a food or ingredient was in season to obtain it. Not anymore. I know of a lab nearby that mixes together any combination of chemicals (sometimes a listing of more than 20 of them) to produce a single ‘fragrance’ or ‘flavor’. “Yes sir,” these people proudly say, “give us anything and we can make it taste like filet mignon or smell like a cucumber.”

For people that get overwhelmed by perfumes – you must Read This:

There is a HUGE difference between fragrance oil and essential oil. A Fragrance oil is made up of a countless number of synthetic man-made chemicals to make it smell like a mango, or a strawberry or a whatever. An essential oil is obtained by a process dating back hundreds of years whereby the scent, or ‘essence,’ of a plant is extracted by cold pressing or steam distilling.

For people that like ‘natural’ products, you must Read This:

The term ‘natural’ has been so overused it’s lost its true meaning. Most products that claim to be natural have a plethora of manmade synthetic, harmful chemicals in them. This includes many of the ‘natural’ overpriced products sold at the health food store. Don’t just take my word for it, look for yourself. READ THE LABELS.

At first I thought I was crazy. I just couldn’t believe what was going on “behind the labels” on most products. For me it all started with a bad dandruff problem, bad acne and very dry, itchy skin. I searched and searched for products that were pure and truly natural. Products that only gave me the ingredients I needed and nothing I didn’t need. These products are very, VERY hard to find. So I bought a book and started making my own. (My face, skin and scalp have been healed for many years now.)

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