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When we choose our skin care and cosmetic products, we are hoping to enhance our features. Companies market something for seemingly every concern, be it dry skin, overly zealous oil production, or acne, there seems to be at least ten products all claiming to be the absolute best thing on the market.
Honestly, a lot of them contain incredibly similar active ingredients in varying ratios and purities, so a lot of products will give roughly the same results across the board. Since these products are being marketed as a way to improve our appearance, it would only make sense that they be safe and nourishing, right?
Unfortunately, this is not true for many companies, as several brands tuck away potentially harmful ingredients in their products. EDTA, or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, for example, is a dangerous chemical compound that is found in countless skin care products despite scientific studies proving its harmfulness.
Disodium EDTA is added to cosmetic products due to its ability to support a longer shelf life. It also causes foaming products to bubble more, making them more appealing to consumers. Since it provides a slippery texture, the addition of disodium EDTA to products like shampoo and conditioner allows the liquids to be easily rinsed from your hair without leaving a tangible residue.
In skin care, EDTA is added to help break down the skin’s protective barrier in order to better allow products to sink in. Over time, EDTA has been proven incredibly effective and has gained widespread marketing usage.
Unfortunately, EDTA is carcinogenic. Synthesized from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde, and sodium cyanide, EDTA puts users at risk of skin irritation and cancer. Due to it damaging the skin’s barrier to aid in product absorption, it also allows external factors like UVA/UVB rays and air pollutants to attack your skin.
Widespread usage of EDTA has also done nearly irreparable damage to the ecosystem due to it being a powerful pollutant. It has emerged as a common water pollutant in many areas, potentially posing a risk to wildlife and humans who rely on the impacted water sources.
There are many different substitutes that could be implemented for EDTA. Settling for less foaming action in cleansers would greatly cut down for the need of EDTA in facial washes and hand soaps.
Brands like LUSH are ahead of the eco-friendly curve by avoiding the need for artificial preservatives entirely by requiring their products to be refrigerated or naturally preserved through organic ingredient presence.
Face masks and other products from the brand have shorter shelf lives but when your body’s physical health is on the line, spending a bit more here and there is something entirely worth doing, as is losing a bit of convenience and having to store your cosmetics differently than usual.