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Toxic Chemicals in Manscaping Products: What’s hot and what’s not.

I talk a lot about chemicals we should watch out for in our cosmetic products, however I don’t think any of my male friends take notice of these posts. Perhaps I should be using the words “Personal Care Products” instead. I’m talking about your Gillette shaving cream, your Irish Spring soap, Axe body spray, Head and Shoulders shampoo and your Old Spice deodorant (among others). Now is the perfect time to learn about this as you are shaving off your moustache or out buying Christmas presents for your mother/girlfriend.

The chemicals in female cosmetics have been receiving quite a bit of hype these days, but what about our men! They are using more and more personal care products than ever before. But what’s actually in them?

Plasticizers (chemicals the keep concrete soft)
Degreasers (used to get grease off auto parts)
Surfactants (used to reduce surface tension in paints and inks)
….Could it get any manlier?
One in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal hygiene products is an industrial chemical, carcinogen, pesticide, reproductive toxin, and/or hormone disruptor. Some of the chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects, sperm damage, obesity, asthma and other chronic health complaints. Doesn’t sound too masculine now does it men? Those are just the chemicals that have been studied so far, so many of them have yet to be fully examined.

Here is a list of 12 ingredients we should all be avoiding. Yes, that includes you MEN!! Learn to read the ingredients on the soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and lotions you use. Even though we don’t eat these (I hope), they still get absorbed through our skin!

1. BHA and BHT: Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

2. Coal Tar Dyes, P-Phenylenediamine: Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits e.g. “FD&C Blue No. 1” or “Blue 1”. Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.

3. DEA Related Ingredients: Found in foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Avoid related chemicals MEA and TEA.

4. Phthalate: Can be hidden in fragrances and musks and not even listed on the bottle. Disrupt male hormones, affect fertility and are linked to testicular cancer. Endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Be nice to the poor guys!

5. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives: Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.

6. Parabens: Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected hormone disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.

7. Parfum/Fragrance: Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

8. PEG Compounds: Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).

9. Petrolatum: Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.

10. Siloxanes: Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

11. Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).

12. Triclosan: Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected hormone disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. What we rinse down our drains get released into the environment and affects the wildlife we hunt and fish.

Think about what products you use, because it doesn’t just affect you, it effects our environment, your kids (or future kids who are currently a twinkle in your eye), those around you, and the future of our planet.

So now what!? Essentially, I’ve just told you you can’t use anything you currently have in your shower, or bathroom cupboard right? You couldn’t be more wrong.

Toss the shaving cream altogether and grab a bottle of oil from your kitchen cupboard; olive, grapeseed, safflower, sunflower, coconut, it doesn’t matter, just rub a few drops on your damp face and shave away. Super cheap and completely edible.

Skin feeling a little dry in this cold winter weather? Head back to your kitchen cupboards and grab that oil. Dab a drop or two on your dry skin, it’s even safe for your face! Again, super cheap, completely edible and will make your skin irresistibly touchable, your girlfriend won’t be able to resist!

Are you a Head and Shoulders man? Did you know H&S is toxic to aquatic life? Soap up with a natural shampoo like Jason or Green Beaver and add a few drops of neem oil or tea tree oil to fight off dandruff.

Looking for less toxic manscaping products? Check out your local health food store for products like: Weleda, Green Beaver, Jason, Aubrey Organics, Gaia, Coastal Classic Creations, Terressentials, Burt’s Bees (some products), Healing Scents, or Kiss my Face (some products). Don’t forget to read the label! Just because it say’s it’s natural on the front, doesn’t actually mean it is chemical free. Show those marketing S.O.B.s you know how to outsmart their marketing schemes!

References:

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/downloads/Dirty-dozen-backgrounder.pdf http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ http://www.ecoholic.ca/mens-bodycare/