Petrolatum, derived from petroleum, is an ingredient that is ideal to stay away from whenever possible. Petroleum is found in several personal care products, including cosmetics, lotions, and even hand soaps. It also contains two well-known carcinogens: Benzo-B-Fluoranthene and Benzo-A-Pyrene. This ingredient can also prevent the skin from excreting and breathing.
Which Ingredients to Watch For
Knowing what to look for on labels can save you from the harmful effects. Next time you’re checking out a personal care product, consider avoiding the following ingredients: petroleum jelly, white petrolatum (usually fine if it’s refined), mineral oil, and paraffin oil.
Additional Petrochemical Ingredients:
- PEG (polythene glycol
- Ingredients that end with ‘eth,’ for example, myreth, ceteareth, etc.
- Ingredients with MEA or DEA
- Parfum or Fragrance
- Ingredients with “propyl” in the word
Reasons to Avoid
Cancer prevention is the most important reason to avoid products with petroleum due to their potential contamination with PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons.) The National Toxicology Program classifies PAHs to consist of reasonably anticipated carcinogens. During a study, women with increased levels of PAH-DNA adducts had a 50% higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Common Products Containing Petroleum
The majority of brand-name personal care products often contain petroleum or a petrochemical. This cacogenic ingredient can be found in the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that you are using every day – even in children’s products! Next time you are showering or giving your child a bath, check the back of your products for any of the above ingredients. These ingredients can be also be found hiding in your lotion, hand soaps, makeup, and perfume.
Thankfully, many healthier alternatives exist for personal care products. Making your own products may be ideal, as well, so that you know exactly what is going into them. If you’re a mom that doesn’t have time to create your own, there are resources online to purchase natural and healthy ready-made products to protect your family.
Did you realize that some of your personal care products contained potentially carcinogenic ingredients? We would love to hear your thoughts.