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  • Writer's pictureChandana Banerjee

6 Toxins Lurking In Your Body Lotion

What if I told you that your commercial #bodylotion is a bunch of #toxic chemicals masquerading as a luxurious #skincare product? And no amount of ‘natural peaches’ or ‘real strawberry’ labels can actually make it the real thing? And no, you don't have to believe me - just grab a bottle of body lotion from your shelf and read the ingredients in it.

Photo credit: Useful Home Remedies

I used to love those bottles of body lotion, till I actually began reading the labels. Could I really be slathering on all those toxins in the name of moisturizing? Over a period of time, I also realized that these wouldn’t keep my skin soft for too long, and I’d be emptying out the bottle in a matter of days (and, feeding my skin more toxins).

So, what’s the bad about body lotions, you might be asking? Well, though most of them are teeming with chemicals, here are the major six that you might find in most body lotions, and even in some of those ‘natural’ ones.

1. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA): Commonly popping up in cosmetic products, including body lotions, these are known to be endocrine disruptors. As per the National Toxicology Program in the USA, these are “anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

2. DMDM Hydantoin: A kind of formaldehyde-releasing preservative, DMDM Hydantoin is found in a host of body care products, including of course, the ubiquitous body lotion. And while this one isn’t a carcinogen in itself, the formaldehyde is truly one.

3. Fragrance: Ah! the ooh-la-la fragrance that makes those body lotions so delicious. Peaches and strawberries, cucumber and coconut, flowers and citrus – reminding us of open meadows and luscious orchards, of freshness and beauty, all the things the producers of the lotions claim to present in the lovely bottles. Blended from a cocktail of chemicals, these fragrances often include diethyl phthalate, as per the Environmental Working Group. Found even in things like insecticides, phthalates are toxic to organs and are endocrine disruptors.

4. Parabens: Store-bought soaps, cream, lotions – none of these can do without a dose of parabens in some form. Look for names like ethylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, isobutylparaben or butylparaben on the label to spot the parabens in your body lotion. While they prevent the growth of fungus or bacteria in the bottle, they’re also linked to breast cancer and hormone disruption.

5. Retinyl Palmitate: A form of vitamin A, this one is often found in anti-aging lotions and sunscreens. In a study by the National Toxicology Program, mice exposed to this chemical developed tumors after they were exposed to sunlight. So, the choice is yours – keep on using the products at night or skip them totally.

6. Triethanolamine: This one is highly alkaline and is used to balance the pH in body lotions. According to the Dermatology Review, triethanolamine is moderately dangerous and isn’t recommended in long-term use because it is a respiratory and skin irritant, as well as toxic to the immune system. And even though it is considered to be biodegradable to organisms and animals, the wastewater released by the manufacturing units of these lotions contain a lot of the chemical, which changes the pH of natural water bodies, thus causing toxic shock to marine life.

Hungry for more information? Here’s a short animated video from 'The Story Of Stuff' series about what’s in you cosmetics:

Action step:

1. Do read the labels on the body lotion bottle. Are any of these chemicals mentioned there?

2. So, if this makes you change your mind about using body lotions, what can you use to keep your skin nourished? Here’s a simple recipe I use to make a yummy body butter at home.

Looking for other natural ways to nourish your skin? Here are 5 highly-doable, natural moisturizing options.

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