Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in thousands of products such as toys, detergents, food packaging and personal care products like nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, and perfumes. They are mainly used as plasticizers, which, when added to plastics increases its flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity.
Phthalates have been found in many top-selling beauty products. Test results are compiled in this report which you can read:
- Not Too Pretty: Phthalates, Beauty Products & the FDA – Health Care Without Harm report finds hazardous phthalates in more than 70% of personal care products tested.
Why Are Phthalates A Health Risk?
Although this may sound all well and good, it’s not. No wonder Phthalates were included in the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen Of Endocrine Disruptors.
Phthalates contain Xenoestrogens. This means that when they come in contact with your body (through your bloodstream in 60 – 90 seconds of putting the product on your skin) they mimic your estrogen levels and put your hormones out of whack.
Not only this, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, ADHD, breast cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development (due to the fact that they mimic estrogen levels) and male fertility issues.
What Are The Most Common Kinds Of Phthalates?
There are a number of somewhat confusing, unpronounceable names for Phthalates. I have compiled these into an infographic here which you can download on your phone and refer to it when you need.
Despite this, there are a few very common types which would be good to know off the top of your head. These are:
- dibutyl phthalate (DnBP)
- dimethyl phthalate (DMP)
- diethyl phthalate (DEP)
What Can I Do To Stay Clear Of Phthalates In Skincare Products?
One of the easiest ways to stay clear of Phthalates is to choose organic or natural beauty and skincare products. You do not need to compromise on quality with these as they work very well and you know that you are avoiding other toxins and synthetic ingredients by choosing them.
You can check out our Pinterest board on Natural Beauty to help you with this!