Dangerous chemicals in your drugstore products and the safe alternatives

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Have you ever tried reading the label on the back of your hand soap? The list of ingredients read like a science experiment: triglycerides, quaternary compounds, tricloxan, triclosan, and triclocarbon (to name a few). What you may not realize is that the government does very little to regulate what ingredients go into your cosmetics. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no authority to require companies to test cosmetic products for safety, according to the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. This means all those ingredients that sound like they should be in a laboratory, not in your soap, have not been tested!

One of the most common and dangerous ingredients is triclosan, which is found in antibacterial products. Triclosan can be found in toothpaste, face wash, deodorant, and several other beauty products. According to the EWG, triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and low levels may disrupt thyroid function. ABC News reported that "when tested on mice, the mice showed up to a 25 percent reduction in heart function measured within 20 minutes of exposure to the chemical, as well as an 18 percent reduction in grip strength."

Triclosan isn't the only harmful ingredient worth paying attention to. There are several other chemicals in shampoos, polishes, toothpastes and even lipsticks that can have severe side effects. These ingredients are:

  1. ​Retinyl Palmitate or retinol -- found in daytime skin products & lipstick (retinol is not to be confused with retinAl which in fact is recommended for skin)
  2. PEG, ceteareth and polyethylene - found in shampoos
  3. Toluene - found in nail products

The good news is, with public awareness and pressure, many companies have started to remove triclosan and other harmful chemicals from their products. Many have started adding more natural alternatives to these ingredients to create the same affects without the potential risks. These alternatives include: tea-tree oil, which when applied topically has antibacterial qualities, neem, which is produced by vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds, and essential oils, many of which have ave antiseptic properties.

Click through the gallery above to see where to find these chemicals on a label and some of our favorite products that don't contain these harmful ingredients.

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The 5 Most Addictive Beauty Products: And Why to Tread Lightly
Beauty Around the World: Traditions and Ideals

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