Marie Guerlain – A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Phthalates

  • Pronounced ‘thalates’, they are salts or esters of phthalic acid.
  • Phthalates are used in a variety of personal care products as fragrances – to make them linger.
  • They are also used as a lubricant in cosmetics.
  • Commonly found in plastic food and drink containers they are also present in our food and water (from pesticides sprayed on our food), in dairy products and meats, plastic toys and medical instruments amongst a host of other consumer products.
  • Phthalates are thought to mimic, displace and disrupt our hormones, which subsequently lead to imbalances in our body.
  • The two phthalates most extensively used in cosmetics are: Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) Diethyl phthalate (DEP).
  • Found in:
    • Perfume, fragranced lotions, body washes and hair care products, talc, deodorant, nail polish and treatment as well as hair spray.
    • Even products labeled “unscented” contain phthalates as a chemical scent masking agent

Marie Guerlain – A – Z of Toxicity in our home – PEG compounds

  • Polyethylene glycol is a family of petroleum compounds widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, moisture-carriers, solvents and softeners.
  • As a penetration enhancer, it allows other harmful compounds often found in PEGs to be absorbed by our skin.
  • This includes 1,4-dioxane which is a known carcinogen, as well as heavy metals such as lead, cobalt, iron, arsenic and cadmium.
  • PEGs are followed by a number correlating to the number of ethylene glycol units in it, as well as its absorbency rate.
  • The lower the number the higher its ability to be absorbed by our skin.
  • Problems associated with it:
    • Systemic toxicity and if used on broken skin it can cause irritation
  • Found in:
    • Cosmetics as cream bases

Marie Guerlain – A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Parabens

  • An artificial preservative used in personal care products,
  • Parabens are the reason sunscreens, deodorants, shampoos and conditioners do not ‘spoil’.
  • Research has shown that it takes 26 seconds for our skin to absorb parabens into our bloodstream.
  • Pregnant women and young children are most vulnerable to this family of synthetics.
  • Problems associated with it:
    • Breast cancer, endocrine disrupter, allergies
  • Read the label for:
    • Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, other ingredients ending in –paraben

Marie Guerlain – A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Oxybenzone

  • Oxybenzone or benzophenone-3 (trade names Milestab 9, Eusolex 4360, Escalol 567, KAHSCREEN BZ-3) is an organic compound.
  • It is a pale-yellow solid that is readily soluble in most organic solvents.
  • Oxybenzone belongs to the class of aromatic ketones known as benzophenones.
  • Studies have shown its high penetrative capacity as well as our bodies ability to store it.
  • This is potentially harmful since it is known to mimic oestrogen in our body and has been linked to breast cancer.
  • Found in:
    • Sunscreens, lipstick, moisturiser and fragrance for women.
  • Read the label for:
    • Benzophenone-3, oxybenzone
  • Problems associated with it:
    • Hormone disruption, allergies, cell damage