We women love our beauty products. Our days remain incomplete without them. Even those of us who do not particularly use cosmetics do use moisturisers, soaps and shampoos, and the like. That’s just basic personal care and hygiene! But did you know that many of these products are actually quite harmful because of certain chemicals in them. Thankfully, there are newer, better versions of such products now available in the market. So, before you blindly pick up your favourite skincare products and cosmetics, make sure you choose the right one without harmful chemicals.

Here’s a look at products with certain ingredients to avoid:

1. Soaps and shampoos with parabens - Most soaps and shampoos have parabens in them. These are preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria in water-based products. But, if your favourite shampoo and soap have the word “paraben” in the list of ingredients, it’s time to stop using it. Parabens can disrupt hormonal balance in the body and lead to breast cancer. Human breast tumours, especially the cancerous ones, have been found to contain paraben concentrations.

Other products with parabens - cosmetics and body lotions.

2. Intimate Wash with artificial fragrances - Now who doesn’t want her intimate parts to smell like fruits and flowers? Well, ideally, no one should. The first thing to know is that these fragrances or perfumes can disrupt the pH level of the vagina and turn it more alkaline, leading to infections. In addition, since companies are not required to reveal the exact fragrant contents of the products, there is no telling if these are irritants, allergens, endocrine disruptors, or even carcinogens.

Other products with harmful perfumes - Almost all common skincare and cosmetic products

3. Lotions and creams with Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) - PEG is the thickening agent in most body lotions and creams. It is also a skin softener in the form of microbeads. However, while trying to keep your skin soft, you may be unknowingly inviting cancer to your body. Polyethylene Glycol or PEG maybe contaminated with both ethylene oxide and 1,4-Dioxane. These are possible carcinogens and can also cause respiratory problems. The beads also pollute the environment.

Other products with PEG - Shampoos, facewashes, sunscreen lotions, etc.

4. Nail polish with formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene - The three chemicals, formaldehyde (FRP), dibutyl phthalate, and toluene (methylbenzene, benzene, phenylmethane, or toluol) are together known as the toxic trio. They are mainly found in nail enamels, and can be extremely harmful. These three have been linked with a number of diseases and conditions, like birth defects, breast cancer, hormonal problems, headache, and more.

Other products - Nail polish remover, perfume, makeup remover

5. Sunscreens with Oxybenzone - There are two types of sunscreen lotions - with mineral and chemical filters. Chemical filters like oxybenzone are present in most of the suncreen lotions commonly available in the market. This is an extremely harmful component, as it is known to alter the thyroid functions. It is also an endocrine disruptor and a skin irritant. Avoid using sunscreen lotions with oxybenzone content, especially for children.

Other products with Oxybenzone - Cosmetics, moisturizers, and lip balm

Granted, the chemical-free products might be costlier, and the process of finding the right products might be a little time-consuming. But, it is always a good idea to invest some time and money in your health. So, it’s time to do some research and choose products that natural and do not cause long-term health problems.