Chemicals to Avoid in Men’s Personal Care Products

Did you know your L’Oreal preference Black hair dye contains 1,4-dioxane and p-phenylenediame? Or did you know that Gillette Foamy Shave Foam was found to contain artificial musk and sodium lauryl sulfate (1). Ever wonder what is in your man’s dreamy-smelling aftershave?  It’s often pthlalates and artificial musks you are smelling. These chemicals were found in a recent investigation by Environmental Defense and are quite harmful to your health.

The personal care products industry is changing – industry is targeting skin and body products for men more and more! In Canada alone, the market is worth more than $690 million dollars, and is growing by 2% every year. It’s time we pay more attention to these products entering our marketplace!

soap bars

There are a few toxic chemicals that do not appear on labels that you should be aware of. Often certain ingredients like “fragrance mixtures” which can contain up to 3000 ingredients are considered an industry trade secret and are listed on the product labels as just “fragrance”. Also, if a product makes a health claim, it is governed under the Food and Drugs Act, and is not subject of he same labelling laws as cosmetics. For exampe, Head and Shoulders shampoo because it claims to treat dandruff, does not have to list its ingredients like other shampoos.
Two of the chemicals that don’t appear on labels include 1,4 dioxane and pthalates.
1,4 dioxane is a synthetic solvent and often contaminates products. It is a known irritant and suspected carcinogen. Environmental Defence found this in: Pert Plus 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner, TRESemme Shampoo, Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo and L’Oreal Preference Hair Dye: Black.
Pthalate is a preservative which may be listed on cosmetic products, is often hidden in the “fragrance” or “perfume” section”. Pthalate is linked to asthma and obesity -DEHP (di-2-ethyl-hexyl-phthalate), which is a type of pthalate is prohibited by the Cosmetics Ingredient Hotlist and has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. New research even shows that exposure to pthalates has been linked to disorders such as reduced semen quality (2), reduced angogenital distance (3) as well as testicular cancer (4).
Environmental defense found DEHP in Pert Plus 2-in-1 Shampoo. Diethyl phthalate (another type of pthalate) was also found in Proactive Moisturizer (oil free), Old Spice Deodorant, Aqua Velva Aftershave and Calvin Klein “Obsession” Aftershave (1).
So what products don’t contain pthalates or other toxic substances NOT listed on product labels? These include 1.4-dioxane, galaxolide, tonalide, musk xylene, musk ketone, cashmeran and traseolide. Click here.
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1) The Man Scape.
2) Duty SM et. al. Phthalate exposure and reproductive hormones in adult men Hum. Reprod. (March 2005) 20(3): 604-610 first published online December 9, 2004 doi:10.1093/humrep/deh656.
3) Swan SH et. al. Decrease in anogenital distance among male infants with prenatal phthalate exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005 Aug; 113(8):1056-61.
4) Castaño-Vinyals, G., et. al. (2012), Anogenital distance and the risk of prostate cancer. BJU International.
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2 thoughts on “Chemicals to Avoid in Men’s Personal Care Products

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