As experts deem fake tans ‘dangerous’, we look at other toiletries that might well be damaging your health, too.
Fake tan products are far from alone in containing chemicals that research suggests can have nasty side effects. Many cosmetics are formulated with a mixture of controversial synthetic ingredients that have been linked to health problems including breast cancer, hormone disruption, fertility issues, asthma, allergies, diabetes and birth defects. And it’s this so-called ‘chemical cocktail’ that has some experts worried – especially when you consider the huge number of different lotions and potions most of us use each day.
“No one can say that if you use X, Y and Z you’re going to develop cancer or diabetes,” says Elizabeth Salter-Green, of a UK charity. “But an increasing amount of research suggests that high levels of certain ingredients can affect our health.”
“When you take into account the sheer number of products we now use, and the fact that we’re also exposed to some of these chemicals through household cleaners, food pesticides, packaging and general industrial output,” continues Elizabeth, “there’s a concern that this collective onslaught could take us over the safety threshold.”
“Our skin is not an impenetrable barrier,” says author Dawn Mellowship. “It absorbs a significant amount of what we apply to it into the bloodstream and it can then be stored in the body, where it accumulates and has the potential to do harm.”
How to reduce your levels of chemical exposure
1.Use fewer products to reduce your overall exposure.
2. Check the label and watch out for synthetic chemicals such as parabens, formaldehyde and triclosan.
3.Don’t assume organic or natural is always best. While many such products contain fewer toxic synthetic chemicals, it’s still worth checking out the ingredients on a product to find out what is actually in there.
4.If there is a big long list of unpronounceable chemical names then it might be worth looking for something with fewer ingredients that you recognise.
5.Pay particular attention to the products that stay on your skin the longest, such as creams and lotions.
6. Swap dark hair dye for vegetable-based colours or those stating they’re PPD-free.