Is There Danger Lurking in Your Anti-Aging Cream?

By: Christine Farlow


The anti aging industry is booming. Aging baby boomers seem to be obsessed with preserving their youthful look. Anti aging preparations claim to make you look younger as you get older. But are the ingredients in these products safe?

Here are 10 ingredients to avoid in anti-aging preparations:

Propylene glycol is a strong irritant, a neurotoxin (toxic to the nervous system) and may cause kidney and liver damage. It may cause delayed allergic reactions, acne and contact dermatitis. It absorbs quickly and is a penetration enhancer, i.e. it increases the absorption of other ingredients in the product through the skin into the bloodstream.

Diazolidinyl urea is a skin irritant and a potential cause of dermatitis. It is a formaldehyde releaser. Formaldehyde is a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer) as determined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Imidazolidinyl urea is a strong irritant. It causes contact dermatitis. Itís also a formaldehyde releaser.

Phenoxyethanol is a skin and eye irritant with a rose fragrance. It can cause contact dermatitis and is harmful if absorbed through the skin.

DMDM hydantoin is another formaldehyde releaser. It may cause contact dermatitis and has cause caused cancer in experimental animals.

Triethanolamine (TEA) is an irritant, a sensitizer and causes contact dermatitis. It may cause the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in products containing nitrogen compounds. It may also contain nitrosamine contaminants not listed on the label.

Parabens (ethyl-, methyl-, butyl- and propylparaben) are endocrine disrupters. They disturb the hormonal balance in the body. They are absorbed through the skin and may irritate the skin. They have been found in breast cancer tumors, but it is not known if they had a part in causing the tumors.

PEG-n (4-200) is an eye and skin irritant and is hazardous on large areas of the body. It may be contaminated with dangerous levels of the carcinogen, 1,4-dioxane.

HGH is human growth hormone. Some prducts may contain HGH or ingredients that stimulate the body to produce itís own HGH. Ironically, the hormones don't slow the aging process, they just hide the symptoms. Animal studies have shown that those animals which produce more growth hormone in old age have a shorter life span, not longer. Studies have also shown that HGH causes carpal tunnel and diabetes. And it has not been adequately tested.

Ultrasomes, keratinocyte growth factor and DNA enzyme complex are known bioengineered ingredients that are used in some anti-aging products. The biotech industry is not very open about bio-engineered or genetically modified ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products. Theyíre not required to identify ingredients that are bioengineered and theyíre not required to be listed on the label. The safety of bioengineered ingredients has not been adequately studied.

Look for products with safe ingredients like aloe vera, essential oils, shea butter, grape seed oil, emu oil, antioxidants like vitamins A,C and E, green tea and Co-Q10. But also remember, itís more than just skin care. Slowing the aging process involves eating a healthy diet with lots of healthy anti-oxidant rich foods and enzymes, regular exercise, stress reduction and adequate rest. Itís vitally important to pay attention to your whole body, not just your skin.

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Dr. Christine H. Farlow, D.C. has been researching ingredient safety since 1991. She is the author of three books, including the new, second edition of DYING TO LOOK GOOD. To learn more about the safety of ingredients in your cosmetics and personal care products, visit www.dyingtolookgood.com.

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