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Potentially Harmful Ingredients Often Used in Commercial Facial Masks/Masques:

  • Synthetic Fragrances - An unspecified mixture of chemicals that are known human immune system toxicants; Found in majority of cleansers; Moderate evidence of human neurotoxicity
  • TEA (Triethanolamine Laureth Sulfate) - A synthetic emulsifier, pH adjuster and fragrance ingredient; Highly acidic; Over 40% of cosmetics containing Triethanolamine (TEA), have been found to be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are potent carcinogens.
  • Cocamide MEA - A foam booster, viscosity increasing agent; forms carcinogenic nitrosamine compounds if mixed with nitrosating agents
  • Ceteareth-20 - A cleansing agent and penetration enhancer - alters skin structure, allows other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin; Not safe for use in injured or damaged skin; possible carcinogen; eye and skin irritant; brain and nervous system toxicant
  • Salicylic Acid - An anti-acne agent and exfoliant; Use is restricted in Canadian cosmetics; brain and nervous system effects at low doses; sense organ effects at very low doses; reproductive effects at moderate doses; skin irritant and penetration enhancer (allowing other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin); mutagenic
  • Lecithin - A skin conditioning and emulsifying (binding) agent; also penetration enhancer - alters skin structure, allows other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin; Waxy substance in nervous tissue of all living organisms; forms carcinogenic nitrosamine compounds if mixed with nitrosating agents
  • FD&C Color Pigments - Synthetic colors derived from coal tar that are continously tested on animals due to their carcinogenic properties; Contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation; Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic
  • Paraben Preservatives - Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products; Widely used even though they are known to be highly toxic; Skin sensitiser - Known to cause allergic reactions and skin rashes and can instigate immune system response that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin.
  • Diazolidinyl Urea - A preservative; Strong evidence as a human skin toxicant and can instigate immune system response that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin; Endocrine system disruptor; brain and nervous system toxicant; mutagenic

NOTE: This is a non-inclusive list of harmful ingredients found in many commercial products. There are numerous other toxic and potentially damaging ingredients, but were not listed as they are less frequently utilized.

How Safe Is Your Mask/Masque?

**For more information or to find out what's lurking in your products, search the Cosmetics Database at Skin Deep by Environmental Working Group at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/. You will be amazed and disgusted!

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