The Insight:

The Dangers of Teenage Skin Care: What You Need to Know

By:  Katey  Denno  Celebrity Makeup Artist & Beauty Blogger  November 6th, 2013

What teenager doesn't love a trip to the mall to grab a cool new T-shirt, outfit or pair of shoes? That's the easy stuff. But at the drug store, what if she grabs the latest color lip gloss, the hot new shade of blush and the "I have to have it or I'll just die!" coolest hue of nail polish? Your hip young guy may favor a scented body spray, a hair styling product or an acne face wash.

Your argument about her being too young to wear bright red lip gloss or him to wear such strongly scented cologne may fall on deaf ears, but it's the lesson you teach them about reading the ingredients and knowing which potentially dangerous chemicals to watch out for that really needs to be heard and understood.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) states that lab tests revealed adolescent girls across the U.S. are contaminated with chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and body care products. Mt. Sinai School of Medicine named endocrine disruptors as one of the top health dangers faced by young people today — and the number of chemicals in common personal care products that are known endocrine disruptors is staggering.

This exposure is happening at a time of accelerated development, from reproductive, immune, blood, adrenal hormone systems and bone, to shifts in metabolism and changes to the brain structure and function — and alterations caused by toxic chemicals can cause life changing effects even at very small levels. Unfortunately federal health statues don't require companies to test products or ingredients for safety before they're sold in the same way the FDA requires of food and drug companies.

There are numerous great "green" personal care products available on the market today, just waiting to be incorporated into your teen's morning routine. As for your trip to the drug store, there's no need to stress; it's just about helping to keep their overall "toxic load" to a minimum.

8 Chemicals to Avoid in Teenage Skincare Products

A catch-all term for chemicals known as pthalates, which have been linked with reproductive and developmental issues and an increased risk for asthma and allergies.

The bacteria-killing ingredient in antibacterial liquid soap. Research suggests it can promote antibiotic resistance, which means some infections could start outsmarting our medicine. When it gets into the waste stream, it can have toxic effect on aquatic life. It's also been linked to thyroid disorders.

The jury is still out on this one. That said, I suggest erring on the side of safety and, when possible, eliminating parabens and other synthetic preservatives from your products. Parabens been linked to fertility issues as well as cancers.

Formaldehyde (includes ureas and quaternium)
This chemical is in far more products than you'd think and is a known immune and respiratory system toxicant, can damage DNA, trigger asthma and affect the brain and the central nervous system.

Coal Tar
Coal tar is often used to help dissolve dead skin cells and control itching in shampoo and hair dye, yet it's a known carcinogen and a skin and respiratory toxicant. 

Toulene is the liquid part of nail polish and hair dye that makes it stick and look glossy, yet it's a known immune system toxicant, endocrine disruptor and brain and liver neurotoxin.

This chemical makes lipsticks shine, creams smooth and skin soft, yet it's a crude oil and generally contains impurities, which have been linked to cancer.

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
These hormone-disrupting chemicals are present in just about all products that foam up: bubble bath, body wash, shampoo, soap and face wash. 


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Katey Denno

Celebrity Makeup Artist & Beauty Blogger

Katey Denno Katey is a NY & LA-based celebrity makeup artist, beauty blogger and green-beauty product expert. She believes limiting the amount of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals is a must and works to help women look and feel their best, inside and out!

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