Common Chemicals in Beauty and Grooming Products to Be Aware Of

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BY AMANDA LEE

Before I made the switch to natural skincare products, I was surprised at how little attention I paid to the ingredients of countless lotions, sprays, soaps and powders I slathered daily on my skin, the largest organ of my body. Increasing studies show the toxicity of conventional cosmetics including harsh chemicals, irritating fragrances, and hormone-imbalancing preservatives. Struggling with sensitive skin issues and looking for a solution, I decided it was time to make the change. As I began opting for plant-based alternatives, I found simple, natural solutions to my beauty routine that actually worked! This made me wonder if similar, if not worst, ingredients were going into all the coat conditioners, fly sprays and shampoos I used at the barn, and could I be finding a better solution for my horse, too?

In my quest to be more aware about my everyday choices, horse and barn included, I wanted to learn what exactly I should be avoiding and why. Here are a few ingredients to watch out for both at home and at the barn:

Fragrance

What exactly is that, anyways? Be careful, it might not just be what you’re smelling. On most ingredient lists for both cosmetics and equine grooming products, fragrance is used to signal that there are unnamed chemicals in the product. A major loophole in FDA’s federal law is that they classify any ingredient that makes up a company’s “fragrance” as proprietary, and thus companies are not required to list them. So, fragrances could be anything!

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Parabens

You’ve probably heard this word before as its become somewhat of a buzzword in beauty over the last 5 years, but it seems like no one ever talks about the reason. Why are parabens bad for you? Here’s the real low-down: Parabens are chemicals found in beauty products and have been used since the 1950s to prevent bacteria and act as a preservative. Specifically pertaining to us ladies, parabens can be particularly harmful. Recently, studies have shown that some parabens can mimic the activity of the estrogen hormone, and while estrogenic activity is associated with certain forms of breast cancer, parabens have been found in present breast tumors… yikes!

Mineral Oils

Also listed as liquid petroleum, paraffin oil, or baby oil, have long been used in a number of industries alongside cosmetics including biomedicine, veterinary medicine, mechanical, electrical, and industrial. Mineral oil is a colorless, odorless oil made from petroleum and people have relied on it for decades. Things like baby oil and Vaseline are old favorites among everyone I know. Than why has it been getting such a bad rap in the press lately? There is concern it may be cancerous. Mineral Oil is available in different grades depending on its use, technical and industrial grade being the least heavily treated. In 2011, a report was published by the National Toxicology Program stating that “Untreated and mildly treated mineral oils are known to be human carcinogens based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans.” Cosmetics, on the other hand, use “cosmetic grade” mineral oil, which is more purified than technical grade. Studies have not linked this oil with cancer, but scientists have expressed concern about it.

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From conditioners containing parabens, hoof oils containing mineral oils, and even spraying fly sprays containing pesticides, the list of grooming products containing toxic and sometimes outright harmful chemical ingredients goes on and on. We also have lots to look out for at home, from everything to cosmetics to cleaning products, but joining the Green Movement and making the choice to buy naturally made products can lead to a healthier life at home and at the stable.

Amanda Lee founded Purvida Healthy Horse in May 2018 with the goal of providing the best natural grooming and care products for your horse. To learn more, visit www.purvidahealthyhorse.com.