Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

Frequently Asked Questions

Choose Safe Cosmetics, Avoid Toxic Ingredients in Your Skin Care

Traject Info

Does it surprise you that there are many toxic ingredients in your skin care products that can harm you?

With a product that is ingested into the body you’d think that the companies that produce these products would take the view that it isn’t safe to use an ingredient until it’s proven to be safe. But it seems that the reverse is true, it needs to be shown conclusively that a product is unsafe before it’s use is discontinued, and of course the cosmetics companies aren’t out there trying to prove the risks posed by these ingredients. Someone else has to do that, presumably with limited funding.

So there is serious doubt about the safety of some of the products that go into many of our mainstream cosmetics and skin care products. Products that many of us use daily.

Because despite the fact that we put these products onto our skin, they are mostly taken into our body just as if we had eaten them. After all, when you smear a moisturizer, for example, onto your face and it disappears, where do you think it goes?

It’s absorbed into your body just as surely as if you had eaten it.

And of course big business has shown quite clearly over the years that where there is big money to be made, they have little ethics in engaging in practices that may harm the health of their customers.

Take the tobacco industry, a prime example. For many years they marketed a product that was known to kill people, and did so knowing this, whilst trying to convince people that smoking didn’t do any harm.

And now when it’s proven uncontrovertibly they are still selling a deadly product, they have just given up trying to maintain that it’s harmless because it’s proven beyond doubt that it’s not. But they’re still selling the product.

So where there is big money involved, big business doesn’t seem to have the ethics required to act in the interests of their customers if it means that they will reduce their profits. Self regulation doesn’t work.

So what are some specific examples of some of these ingredients that are potentially dangerous, and are certainly not proven to be safe?

  • Toxic Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid

  • (click on the ingredient to see its harmful effect)

  • alcohol, isopropyl ( SD-40)

    A very drying and irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips your skin's natural acid mantle, making us more vulnerable to bacteria, moulds and viruses. It is made from propylene, a petroleum derivative. It may promote brown spots and premature aging of skin.

  • ammonium ingredients

    toxic, carcinogenic

  • benzoates

    implicated in wide variety of health problems including testicular cancer, cell mutation and other cancers.

  • benzoyl peroxide

    produces tremendously dangerous free radical in the skin increases the chances of cancer. It also causes over-drying of the skin. FDA has now changed the safty rating of benzoyl peroxide from category I to category III.

  • BHA and BHT

    encourages the breakdown of vitamins such as vitamin d, can cause lipid and cholesterol levels to increase, endocrine disruptor, toxic

  • DEA ingredients

    all ingredients with DEA after the first word such as concamid-dea, cause cancer. These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic effects.

  • Fragrances

    Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to four thousand separate ingredients, many toxic or carcinogenic. Clinical observation proves fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, and irritability.

  • hydroquinone

    toxic, irritants, hydroquinone has been shown to cause leukemia in mice and other animals. The European Union banned it from cosmetics in 2001. Can cause hyper-pigmentation

  • lanolin

    Any chemicals used on sheep will contaminate the lanolin obtained from the wool. The majority of lanolin used in cosmetics is highly contaminated with chlorinated organo pesticides like DDT.

  • laureth family ( sodium lauryl sulfate, any ingredients with laureth or lauryl in the name )

    carcinogenic, skin irritants may be contaminated with large amounts of toxins in manufacturing process contains ammonium salts, mutagen, acne and dermatitis producing and hair loss

  • PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene

    Potentially carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin's natural moisture factor. This could increase the appearance of aging and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria. Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products. Also used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners.

  • parabens -(methyl, propyl, etc, paraben family) 

     implicated in a multitude of health problems, estrogenic, cancer causing, allergenic, found in breast tissue, replicates in dna, stored in fat cells

  • petrochemicals (paraffin, mineral oil, petroleum, petrolatum, vaseline)

    coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores, slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging, acne producing, may be carcinogenic, causes dry skin, respiratory toxin, may cause dizziness, any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH ( polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons )

  • Phenol Carbolic Acid

    Can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, and even death.

  • phthalates

    (look for your plastics- squeeze bottles, soft plastics) carcinogens, mutation agents, stored fat cells

  • propylene/butylene glycol

    is a petroleum derivative, penetrates the skin very quickly and causes contact dermatitis, skin irritations, acne, allergies, the EPA considers PG so toxic that it warns against skin contact to prevent consequences such as brain, liver and kidney abnormalities, and can also weaken protein & cellular structure

  • octyl stearate

    acne producing, contact dermatitis, allergic reactions

  • silicone derived emollients - dimethicone copolyol, cyclomethicone etc...

    occlusive - that is they coat the skin, trapping anything beneath it, and do not allow the skin to breathe (much like plastic wrap would do.)

  • TEA ingredients ( not tea, but rather ingredients with TEA in front such as Tea lauryl sulfate)

    severe irritants, can contain ammonium slats, eye irritant, sensitizers, highly acidic. Over 40% of cosmetics containing Triethanolamine (TEA), have been found to be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are potent carcinogens.

  • toluene

    Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage.