We believe it is better to err on the side of safety when it comes to your health.


We think it is our responsibility to share what we've learned (and continue to learn) about the safety of cosmetic ingredients because we believe that only with conscious knowledge are we able to fully exercise our right to choose and choose wisely. Each of us must work to live with integrity, to teach it, to expect it from others and to support it where we see it. Happily, there are a growing number of handcrafters who make wonderful and safe products with the highest intentions for the health and well being of those who use them. We envision the day healthy products will fill the marketplace, ensuring quality, non-toxic products for all. This will happen as consumers educate themselves about the products they use and vote with their dollars to ensure that these products and the people who make them are supported and encouraged to put our health and the health of our planet before profits. All of us deserve a nontoxic environment, inside and out!                                          Common Ingredients to Avoid

A person may use many daily products that contain a particular toxic ingredient which raises the level of that substance beyond "acceptable" levels. Cumulative exposure is the real danger. This information is not meant to scare--we share it with the hope that we all can be informed consumers and make our personal care product choices with our health in mind. This is a partial list of the ingredients to be avoided. For more information, see the resources listed at the bottom of this page.

    SLS or SLES: Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulfate is used in liquid "soap", shower gel, dishwashing liquid, shampoo, toothpaste and bubblebath because it is extremely bubbly and we tend to equate lots of suds with better cleaning. SLS was first used as an industrial garage floor cleaner/solvent and as it is very inexpensive to produce, it came to be used in the cosmetic industry. It is used as a surfactant, a wetting agent and to create lots of suds. SLS has been associated with urinary tract infections, problematic eye development in children, corneal damage, skin irritations, breakdown of skin's protective mantle, and cancer sores in the mouth. It reacts in the body to create nitrates as well as reacts with many other chemicals found in cosmetics to produce known or suspected carcinogens. (Mixed with TEA, SLS can create nitrosamines which are well known carcinogens). We have read that when products are tested in labs to see how they perform in repairing skin, for example, the researchers, in order to first damage the subjects' skin, apply SLS!

    FLUORIDE is more toxic than we are led to believe. It is one of the top ten contact allergens. Please go to www.nofluoride.com for more information.

    , like SLS, is a chemical borrowed from industry for cosmetics. It is a moisture-carrying ingredient and solvent with a high penetrative ability to carry other ingredients in the formulation deeper into the skin. It is used in moisturizers, creams, lotions, shampoos, mouthwashes, perfumes, make-up, shampoos, hair products, deodorants (yes, even "natural" ones), shaving cream, and many more. Propylene glycol was found to produce an increase in anxiety due to increased brain beta activity in people who are chemically sensitive. As a possible carcinogen, it may cause dermatitis and allergies. It is known to cause liver and kidney damage and so was taken out of cat food after cats were found dying of liver failure. Despite controversy regarding its safety, it seems wise to err on the side of safety. Please remember that the absorption of other ingredients in the formula can be increased with the addition of propylene glycol.

    is widely used in cosmetics as a germicide, preservative and fungicide. Surfactants such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate may contain it as a preservative even though it is not listed. In addition, it is often released as a chemical reaction to combinations of ingredients in the manufacturing process. Here is a partial list of Formaldehyde Releasing Agents:

    • DMDM Hydantoin
    • Diazolidinyl Urea
    • Hydroxymethylglycinate
    • Imidazolidinyl Urea
    • Quarternium-15
    • Trishydroxymethylnitromethane
    • 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol

IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA and DIAZOLIDINYL UREA are the most commonly used cosmetic preservatives after the parabens. These are found in shampoos, lotions, creams, oils, and many more. They are well established as a primary cause of contact dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Some of these compounds release formaldehyde (see above) when heated.

PETROLATUM (mineral oil & jelly)
is commonly used in lip balms, hand, foot and skin care products to form a moisture barrier. This cheap by-product of industry incorporated by cosmetic manufacturers interferes with the skin's natural transpiration, the important process whereby the skin brings nutrients into the body and eliminates waste products. Petroleum products may be acne-causing and may contain some well known carcinogens. Strangely, lip balms with petrolatum can cause both sun sensitivity and dryness.

preservatives are used to inhibit microbial growth and extend the shelf life of many types of personal care products. Unfortunately, they may also cause allergic reactions, skin rashes and kill the intestinal flora so important to the proper functioning of the intestines, digestion and general health. These preservatives may further damage health by interfering with the vital action of the enzymes within cells (chemical workers that enable them to function). Recent research suggests parabens may act as hormone-like substances, interfering with the natural balance of hormones within the body. Parabens have been associated with increased risk of cancers in both men and women.

, such as dioxins, phenolics, phthalates (found in fragrances), petrochemically derived products, bug spray and parabens, have far reaching effects that may be passed on from generation to generation. These effects include problems related to brain function, sexual development and other vital functions.

TALC (magnesium silicate) is a natural mineral as well as a lung irritant. It seems so benign and is often used in makeup and powders including baby powder. Unfortunately, it may be carcinogenic and has been associated with ovarian cancer when used on pads and in underwear. In addition, it is easily inhaled when applied and it tends to accumulate in the lungs with a similar effect to that of asbestos inhalation.

is often used in cosmetics to adjust the PH level and for other purposes. TEA has shown to cause allergic reactions including eye problems, dryness of hair and skin and could be toxic if cumulatively absorbed.

STEARALKONIUM CHLORIDE is a common ingredient used in hair conditioners and creams. It has been shown to cause allergic reactions. It was developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener. Being very inexpensive, manufacturers often use it instead natural emulsifiers and proteins.

FRAGRANCES used in cosmetics (and cleaning products!) may contain hundreds of chemicals. There is no way of knowing exactly what they are as manufacterers are not required to disclose their "proprietary" ingredients and only have to state "fragrance" or "aroma."  Some of the problems caused by these chemicals include headaches, dizziness, rash, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation and much more. Fragrances draw from up to 5000 hydrocarbons. Some hydrocarbons are formaldehyde, styrene, toluene, phenol which can cause depression, exhaustion, anxiety, dizziness, headaches, trouble thinking clearly, diminished blood flow and brain damage. (Richard H. Conrad, Ph.D., Perfume Expose). Biologically, scents can be understood in two different ways: surface scents and deep scents. Surface scents primarily strike the autonomic nervous system and elicit only desensitizing, distorted and shallow responses. The scents with this surface effect are all synthetic fragrances, commercial perfumes, botanical scents incorrectly processed with solvents and all chemical flavoring and scenting agents. These scents have no therapeutic or useful function within our bodies or homes and their cumulative effects may be toxic. They can trigger emergency bodily responses and can eventually lead to severe allergies, multiple chemical sensitivities and other immune malfunctions.

, labeled FD&C followed by a color, are coal-tar derivatives and are not plant-based. Some are suspected of causing cancer. Although there is controversy regarding their safety, we feel it is better, again, to err on the side of safety.

ANTIBACTERIAL SOAPS & OTHER PRODUCTS are problematic for a number of reasons as well as being simply unnecessary. There is evidence that these products may cause antibiotic resistance as well as interfere with the balance of healthy flora on the skin and within the intestines and negatively impact the PH of the skin. The skin's natural protective acid mantle (PH) acts as a barrier to bacteria. Even after exposure to alkaline substances, our skin quickly regains its proper balance. Use of a simple soap and warm water is all that is needed to clean ourselves from exposure to germs. The use of essential oils is a safer alternative to antibiotic products. Most essential oils are antibacterial to some extent, with lemon myrtle, tea tree, lavender, citrus, thyme, ravensara, niaouli and oregano being the most effective. Used in safe, but adequate concentrations, these oils will outperform commercial antibacterials and not cause antibiotic resistance or interfere with the proper functioning of the intestinal flora.

Here are a few resources for further study:

Beauty to Die For, the Cosmetic Consequence by Judi Vance

A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winter, M.S.

Cosmetics Unmasked by Dr. Stephen & Gina Antczak
Skin Deep: Consumer Safety Database (Online Directory)                                                                                   

Perfume Expose, Richard Conrad, Ph.D.

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