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Ingredients to Avoid in Your Face Wash September 16 2014

Did you know that what you apply to your skin is absorbed directly into your body? But if you've ever look at the ingredients in your favorite facial cleanser you will notice a long list of ingredients you don't recognize, and probably can't even pronounce. Unfortunately, many of these ingredients are chemicals which could be harmful. Below are a few ingredients you should avoid in your face wash.

Sulfates - Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate: These are very inexpensive detergents that are commonly used because of their foaming ability and the way they leave the skin feeling squeeky clean. They are also used as industrial cleaners, degreasers and cleaning agents. Usually, they are derived from petroleum. Because they are so harsh they are often associated with skin irritation, inflammation and skin rashes.

Parabens - These materials are effective preservatives that extend the life of the product and are anti-microbial, but they also are known to disrupt hormone and estrogen function. Parabens have a possible link to breast cancer, in fact, a 2004 study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology detected parabens in breast tumors. Avoid all parabens in your products by looking for the following on the ingredients label: Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, other ingredients ending in paraben.

Fragrance - Look at many labels and you'll see the word "fragrance." And while it sounds harmless enough, the word "fragrance" can represent hundreds of chemicals, many of which can cause allergies, asthma attacks, headaches and more. In addition, most synthetic fragrances are stabilized with phthalates, a group of chemicals linked to reproductive problems and birth defects in animal studies [Source: EPA]. Added fragrances in cleansers tend to be irritating and can dry out the skin. It's best to avoid anything with a lot of "purfume" or "scent" but if you just can't live without fragrance opt for products that use essential oils or fruit and plant extracts to scent their solutions.