Hand lotion is one of the most benign products out there, right? That’s what I thought, too. Imagine my surprise when I discovered there are some pretty shady ingredients lurking in my favorite scented lotions. Those ingredients could be responsible for everything from my frequent headaches to my imbalanced hormones. There’s even such a thing as hand lotion poisoning! Who knew?
It’s pretty hard to believe your hand lotion could be causing you health issues, right? Since I don’t want you to just take my word for it, let’s dive into some of the harmful chemicals commonly found in different brands of hand lotion.
Dimethicone is a silicone-based polymer. It’s one of the most common ingredients found in lotions because it helps to condition the skin. There is a lot of controversy over this ingredient because it is known to be a hazardous ingredient if it is consumed.
Well, people don’t eat lotion, so what’s the big deal? Even though we don’t ingest the dimethicone in hand lotions, this ingredient can still enter our body through our skin. Our skin is highly porous and although it is designed to keep unwanted bacteria and other harmful foreign objects out of our bodies, much of the products we put onto our skin ends up being absorbed by our bodies.
Dimethicone can also disrupt the healthy turnover of skin cells and lead to trapped debris in the pores. These issues can cause dead skin buildup and ingrown hairs. That doesn’t sound very fun to me!
Minerals are good for our bodies, but mineral oil is another story. Research shows that mineral oil may be damaging to hormone balance. It can also cause a film on the skin that interferes with the body’s ability to produce vitamin D during sun exposure. Mineral oil can also clog your pores and cause acne and skin irritation.
Paraffin oil is often seen in the ingredients list of various skincare products. Paraffin oil is tasteless, colorless and insoluble in water. It can be more toxic than gasoline, especially if ingested. Accidental inhalation of paraffin oil can cause shortness of breath and coughing. Prolonged exposure to the oil on the skin can lead to contact dermatitis and skin irritation. Not to mention the fact that paraffin oil is highly flammable! All of these drawbacks make paraffin oil an unsuitable ingredient for hand lotion.
Parabens are man-made preservatives often used in cosmetic products to help the formulas have a more stable shelf life. The problem with parabens is that they have been shown to negatively impact hormone function. When your hormones are out of balance, you’re more likely to experience changes in your immune and thyroid function. You may also notice weight and mood changes due to hormone imbalances.
The risk of infertility, obesity and allergies may be higher in people who are regularly exposed to parabens. For these reasons and more, it’s best to avoid hand lotions that include parabens in the ingredients list.
Perfumes are what make hand lotions fun, right? The problem is that perfumes are usually synthetic and lab-derived (which makes them more likely to cause skin irritation). Additionally, the regulations regarding what companies can put into their fragrances are very loose. Companies don’t have to list the individual ingredients in their fragrances, which means you could potentially be exposed to endocrine disruptions, carcinogens, respiratory irritants and more harmful ingredients without even knowing it.
To avoid exposing your body to any of the potentially harmful ingredients listed above, you need to be vigilant. Carefully check product labels on hand lotions and other cosmetic products to make sure they’re as free from harmful chemicals as possible.