Glossary

Parabens: are man-made chemicals often used in small amounts as preservatives in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, foods, and beverages. Common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Many products, such as makeup, moisturizers, hair-care products, and shaving creams, contain parabens. Parabens in these products are absorbed through the skin1. Parabens have also been linked to cause endocrine disruption.

Phthalates: are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break2. They are found in cosmetic such as nail polishes (to reduce cracking by making them less brittle); used in hair sprays (to help avoid stiffness by allowing them to form a flexible film on the hair); and used as a solvent and fixative in fragrances. DEP is the only phthalate still commonly used in cosmetics3. Phthalates have been linked to cause endocrine disruption and affect the reproductive system in both women and men. Read more about it here: http://www.ewg.org/research/down-drain/%C2%BB-phthalates.

Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulfate: is a detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products (soaps, shampoos toothpaste, etc.) SLES is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent; it is used in many cosmetic products for its cleaning and emulsifying properties similar to soap 4. It is classified as a toxin and human irritant of eyes, skin and lungs. Read more about it here: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706110/SODIUM_LAURYL_SULFATE/.

UVA/UVB: UV radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye. These wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB, or UVC, with UVA the longest of the three at 320-400 nanometers (nm, or billionths of a meter). UVA is further divided into two wave ranges, UVA I, which measures 340-400 nanometers (nm, or billionths of a meter), and UVA II which extends from 320-340 nanometers. UVB ranges from 290 to 320 nm. With even shorter rays, most UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach the earth. Both UVA and UVB, however, penetrate the atmosphere and play an important role in conditions such as premature skin aging, eye damage (including cataracts), and skin cancers. They also suppress the immune system, reducing your ability to fight off these and other maladies.

Zinc Oxide: is an inorganic compound with the formula ZnO. ZnO is a white powder that is insoluble in water, and it is widely used as an additive in numerous materials and products including rubbers, plastics, ceramics, glass, cement, lubricants, paints, ointments, adhesives, sealants, pigments, foods, batteries, ferrites, fire retardants, and first-aid tapes. Although it occurs naturally as the mineral zincite, most zinc oxide is produced synthetically.

 

 

1 http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Parabens_FactSheet.html
2 http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Phthalates_FactSheet.html
3 http://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/ingredients/ucm128250.htm
4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_laureth_sulfate
5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc_oxide

 

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