This article is written by Motherlove Herbal Company.
Copyright © 2004, Motherlove® Herbal Company. All rights reserved.
Note that bold, green words are links to more information.
It is prudent to remember that anything you put on your skin
during pregnancy can potentially reach the fetus. When it comes to
the delicate skin of your baby, it is even more important to use only
those products that are gentle and nurturing.
The FDA has banned just nine chemicals from cosmetics compared to
the European Union which has banned more than 1000. A product that is
labeled as being "natural" may be mixed up with synthetic
dyes or fragrances. Many expensive products are full of the same
ingredients and harsh chemicals as the less expensive brands. And,
many "common" synthetic ingredients are now being linked to
conditions such as allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome,
testicular abnormalities, decreased sperm counts, and breast cancer.
Shopping "natural" or "organic" is no
guarantee that your products are free of dangerous chemicals.
is often present in the leading "natural" and "organic"
products. The use of the cancer-causing petrochemical Ethylene
Oxide generates 1,4-Dioxane as a by-product, which is suspected as a
kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant.
Make sure you check the packaging of all your products. Toxic
plastic #3 by its other name, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or vinyl
is considered by many experts to be the most dangerous, carcinogenic
plastic. Another controversial chemical is bisphenol
A (BPA) used in #7 polycarbonate bottles found in hard plastic
such as baby bottles. These chemicals leach into the products that
they contain. For more information on all the plastic packaging codes
Motherlove uses pure ingredients and safe, recyclable packaging
for our products. We are proud of the fact that our products have
expiration dates. You know that they are free of "shelf life"
preservatives and any artificial ingredients. You expect that from
"real food". You should expect that from your body care, as
Below is a list of the some of the most prevalent ingredients
found in "natural" body care products and their effects on
the human body.
Ceteareth-6 — The Cosmetic
Ingredient Review (CIR) panel has placed a warning on this
ingredient that it be excluded from products used on injured or
Coal Tar — in 1993, the FDA
issued a warning to consumers about coal tar being a possible cancer
risk. Coal tar appears in many hair dyes and strong dandruff and
psoriasis shampoos, but the FDA failed to ban it even though studies
have linked it to cancer in lab animals. The Environmental Working
Group (EWG) found that 71 hair-dye products contained ingredients
derived from coal tar.
Diethanolamine (DEA) or
Triethanolamine (TEA) — These chemicals are often used as wetting
agents, pH adjusters, as well as with many fatty acids to convert
acid to salt (stearate), which then becomes the base for a cleanser.
TEA causes allergic reactions including eye problems, hair and skin
dryness. Both DEA and TEA are highly susceptible to contamination
with nitrosamines, known to be potent carcinogens.
Imidazolidinyl Urea and
Diazolidinyl Urea — The most commonly used preservatives after
parabens, these are well established as a primary cause of contact
dermatitis (American Academy of Dermatology). They release high
amounts of formaldehyde. Two trade names for these chemicals are
Germall II and Germall 115. Neither of the Germall chemicals have
good anti-fungal properties, so they must be combined with other
preservatives. Germall 115 releases formaldehyde at just over 10°.
Mineral Oil — A petroleum
derivative that is found in many moisturizers and causes severe
Parabens — Methyl, Propyl,
Butyl, and Ethyl — Widely used as cosmetic preservatives and
antimicrobials, even though they are known to be toxic and a leading
cause of contact dermatitis. In addition, methyl paraben combines
benzoic acid with the methyl group of chemicals, which are highly
toxic. These can appear on labels as p-hydroxybenzoate (or PHB)
esters. Some studies have shown that parabens mimic estrogen in
rodents. The chemicals also have been shown to stimulate growth of
human breast-cancer cells in the lab. A University of Reading study,
published in the January 2004 Journal of Applied Toxicology,
found that 18 of 20 breast tumors studied contained significant
concentrations of parabens.
Petrolatum — This is a very
cheap jelly made from mineral oil that causes such skin problems as
photosensitivity and interference with the body's own natural
moisturizing mechanism, which leads to dry skin and chapping. Oddly
enough, this product often creates the very conditions it claims to
Phthalates — generally covered
by the general term "fragrance," and readily absorbed by
our fingernails, skin and lungs. In July 2005, the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention reported finding the metabolized
forms of dibutyl phthalates, used in nail polish and synthetic
fragrance, in every person tested in their national "body
burden" study. Phthalates can lead to liver cancer and birth
defects in lab animals. A study published in May 2005 from the
University of Minnesota, Environmental Health Perspectives,
found a connection between phthalates and genital abnormalities in
Propylene Glycol — Ideally this
ingredient is made up of a vegetable glycerin mixed with grain
alcohol, both of which are natural. Usually however, it is a
synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant, or substance that
promotes moisture retention. In its synthetic form, it is known to
cause allergic reactions, clogged pores, and blemishes.
PVP/VA Copolymer — This is a
petroleum-derived chemical used primarily in hairsprays and other
cosmetics. Since the particles may contribute to foreign bodies in
the lungs of sensitive persons, it is considered toxic.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate — A
synthetic substance primarily used in shampoos for its detergent and
foam-building abilities. It can cause eye irritations, skin rashes,
hair loss, dry skin and allergic reactions. It is frequently
disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the parenthetic
explanation that it "comes from coconut." In a 1983 report
on the safety of sodium lauryl sulfate, The Journal of the
American College of Toxicology concluded that "studies have
indicated that sodium lauryl sulfate enters and maintains residual
levels in the heart, lungs and the brain from skin contact."
Stearalkonium Chloride — This
chemical was developed by the fabric industry as a softener, and it
is cheaper and easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than
proteins or herbal components. It can cause allergic reactions.
Synthetic Colors — Synthetic
colors are used to make cosmetics "pretty" and, along with
hair dyes, should be avoided as they are believed to be
cancer-causing agents. They appear on labels as FD&C or D&C,
followed by a color and a number; e.g., FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C
Green No. 6.
Synthetic Fragrances — Synthetic fragrances can contain as
many as 200 ingredients. There is often no way of knowing what these
chemicals are since the label simply states "Fragrance",
and these items do not have to list their chemical constituents.
Potential problems caused by these chemicals are headaches,
dizziness, rashes, hyperpigmentation, coughing, and vomiting.
Skin Deep, Environmental
Working Group, searchable database with safety ratings for body care
product ingredients www.ewg.org.
Taking Personal Care,
Personal Care Products thegreenguide.com.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Breast Cancer Action's
From "Safe, Not Sorry, Hair:
The Case for Nontoxic Shampoos, Conditioners and Colors
Drop Dead Gorgeous: Protecting
Yourself from the Hidden Dangers of Cosmetics, Kim Erickson,
Contemporary Books, 2002.
What's in Your Cosmetics? A
Complete Consumer's Guide to Natural and Synthetic Ingredients,
Aubrey Hampton, Organica Press, 1995.
Health Products Business, January 2004.
Having Faith, An Ecologists
Journey to Motherhood, Sandra Steingraber, The Berkeley Press,
September 2001. This book "looks at the environmental hazards
that now threaten pregnant and breastfeeding women, and examines the
effects these toxins can have on a child."
Beauty Dawn Mellowship, Gaia Books Ltd., 2009