Winter weather equals winter skin. And for many people, winter skin means loading up on lotions and body creams to replenish the moisture that the dry, cold winter air has stripped away. This makes perfect sense, of course, as these products can effectively revitalize dull, dry skin. Unfortunately, however, not all lotions and creams are actually good for you. Lots of these products contain toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin and cause other significant health issues.
Here’s a list of the four worst ingredients in lotions and body creams that should be avoided at all costs — plus the best all-natural alternative for your moisturizing needs.
The Top 4 Ingredients to Avoid in Lotions & Body Creams
Many companies rely on fragrances to add an extra layer of special, or even a sense of luxury, to everyday personal care products. It’s just too bad that those special scents are often delivered via toxic compounds. In fact, it’s hard to determine exactly what those fragrances are made of — and that’s exactly why they’re so dangerous.
On labels, the word “fragrance” is a catch-all term that can apply to a number of ingredients mixed together in various combinations and amounts to create different scents. Though the manufacturer doesn’t have to disclose which ingredients are listed in their fragrance, The International Fragrance Association has cultivated a list of 3,059 compounds that could be used in fragrances. Of those compounds, a significant number have been linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, allergies and sensitivities, and other health issues.
#2 Retinyl Palmitate (a dangerous form of Vitamin A)
Blame it on our desire to stay forever young, but retinyl palmitate, a synthetic antioxidant and source of Vitamin A, is everywhere. From sunscreens and facial moisturizers to foundations and body lotions, retinyl palmitate is widely regarded because of its purported anti-aging and skin firming properties. The problem? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has listed retinyl palmitate as highly problematic. It’s so harmful, in fact, that it is restricted in both Germany and Canada.
Retinyl palmitate is most toxic when used on skin that will be exposed to the sun. It has been shown to speed the development of cancerous tumors and lesions on the skin and, according to the National Toxicology Program, can also contribute to the development of free radicals that can damage DNA.
Finally, the EWG is concerned that the use of products containing retinyl palmitate may lead to excessive vitamin A exposure, as many people already get significant amounts of the vitamin from their diets. This overexposure can cause liver damage, hair loss, brittle nails, and decreased bone density.
Take one trip around the drugstore, read a few product ingredient lists, and you’ll see that there’s a war against parabens, with many products claiming to be paraben-free. There’s good reason for it, of course. Though parabens do have some beneficial use — they can prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and yeast that can cause products to spoil — their long-term impact on human health is largely unknown.
Meanwhile, while the FDA notes that scientists are staying abreast of studies that examine paraben safety, what we do know about these chemicals isn’t good. A 2004 study found traces of intact parabens in human health tissue, proving that they can penetrate the skin and, because they are not metabolized by the body, wreak untold havoc.
Additionally, the EWG notes that parabens can disrupt hormone function and production while also causing skin irritation.
Phthalates enter the body via lipsticks, plastics, and even the food we eat. These chemicals are also found in lotions and body creams, as they are used to help create the product’s creamy consistency and help increase the longevity of any added fragrance. In the end, though, none of these benefits are worth the danger that phthalates pose.
Much worse than mere skin irritations, phthalates have been shown to penetrate the skin and work its way into the bloodstream where it can impact nearly all aspects of human health. One 2009 study showed that phthalates can be linked to early puberty in girls, while other research has shown that phthalate exposure can contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, and related health issues in men. Among women, phthalates can break the placental barrier, affecting fetal development. Children who have been exposed to these chemicals (whether in or outside the womb) are at greater risk of developing allergic diseases, including asthma and eczema, as well as “autistic-like” behavior.
The Best All-Natural, Nontoxic, Hypoallergenic Moisturizer
At Bend Soap Company, we understand that moisturized skin is healthy skin, but we also know that toxic lotions and creams can directly interfere with the body’s natural healing processes. With that in mind, we created our goat milk lotion to soothe and nurture all skin types — even the sensitive ones! — with only all-natural ingredients. There are no parabens, phthalates, or other ingredients that will irritate and dry out the skin. Instead, the goat milk and hydrating oils contained in our lotions replenish the skin’s natural moisture.
And if you’re someone who wants their skin to look, feel, and smell good, you can trust that no Bend Soap Company lotions contain any mystery fragrance ingredients that may or may not harm your health. To achieve our delightful scents like Sweet Orange, Almond Delight, and Island Coconut, we use natural and organic ingredients to create an aroma that’s potent but not overpowering.
Back to You
Your skin needs moisture year-round, but when the frigid winter weather envelopes your skin — leaving it dry, chapped, and flaky — it can be especially tempting to slather on the first lotion or body cream you find. But we encourage you to skip these toxic tubes. When you moisturize with all-natural ingredients like aloe vera and lactic acid, your skin will thank you. And so will the rest of your body.
Need help choosing an all-over body lotion that’s safe and free of toxic ingredients? We’ve got you covered. Shop our collection of goat milk lotions and experience softer, smoother skin without compromising your health.