Toxic Skin Care Chemicals to Avoid


“Beauty is only skin deep, but the items you use to make yourself beautiful soak into your skin, creating potential — and deadly serious — health care problems. Clearly more than beauty is at stake here”

How do you know who to trust with your health and well-being? How can you tell whether your personal care products contain chemicals that could harm you or your children? Many products claim to be ‘natural‘, and ‘organic‘, but how do you know which products are the real deal?

“Adults absorb up to 60% of what we put on our skin”


“Children’s bodies absorb 40-50% more than adults. They are at higher risk for diseases later in life when exposed to toxins”


The only way to protect our health and the health of our families is to become ingredient detectives. Here are the list of ingredients we must avoid:

1.  Parabens 

Used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries and as a food additive.

The risks: Parabens are hormone disrupters and have been shown to be a reproductive toxin in animal studies. Parabens have been detected in breast cancer tumours. May cause contact dermatitis.

Found in: Deodorants, cosmetics, shampoos, moisturised, shaving gels, make-up and toothpaste, cleaning products, pharmaceuticals.

Avoid: Methyl, Ethyl, Propyl & Butyl Paraben, Japanese Honeysuckle Extract (Plantservative).

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2. Triclosan

The risks: Accumulates in our bodies, has been linked to hormone disruption and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics and antibacterial products. Along with its negative health effects, triclosan also impacts the environment, ending up in lakes, rivers and other water sources, where it is toxic to aquatic life.

Found in: Antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, plastics

Avoid: Triclosan (Miroban, Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum, Biofresh).

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3. Formaldehyde

Used as cosmetic biocides; denaturants; and preservatives

The risks: Formaldehyde is classified as a Category 2 carcinogen. Low level exposure causes irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and can cause skin adn lung allergies. Central nervous depressant.

Found in: Detergents, cosmetics, shampoos, bubble baths, hair conditioners, ahtlete’s foot treatments, skin disinfectants, mouth washes

Avoid: Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (Suttocide), Imidazolidinyl urea (Germall 115), Diazolidinyl urea (Germall II), quaternum-15, DMDM Dydantoin (Glydant), 2-bromo-2nitropropane-1, 3diol (Bronopol).

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4. 1,4-dioxane

1,4 dioxane is a by-product of a chemical process of ethoyxlation, in which ethylene oxide, a known breast carcinogen, is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh. Readily penetrates the skin.

The risks: Is considered a probably human carcinogen by the U.S EPA. Suspected by the state of California to cause cancer or birth defects.Suspected kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant.

Found in: Shampoos, conditioners, skin care, personal care, laundry detergents, household cleaners.

Avoid: Polyethylene gylcol or ‘PEG’, polyoxyethylene, any ingredient with ‘eth’ in the name such as sodium laureth sulphate, ceteareth or oleth.

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5. Nitrosamines

Nitrosamines have been identified as one of the most potent classes or carcinogens, having caused cancer in more than 40 different animal species as well as in humans.

The risks: NDELA(nitrosodiethanolamine) is the specific nitrosamine “to which human exposure is the greatest,” since it occurs in cosmetics and is “absorbed readily through the skin (Carcinogensis 1985, National Cancer Institute). Nitrosamines are created when nitrosating agents are combined with amines.

Found in: Cosmetics, skin care, personal care, hair care

Avoid: MEA (Monoethanolamine), DEA (Diethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine) e.g. Cocamide MEA, DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate, TEA Lauryl Sulfate

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6. Phthalates

Fragrance ingredient; plasticizer; solvent, masking agent; and for perfuming

The risks: ‘Fragrance’ can contain up to 400 separate ingredients, including toluene and phthalates. Phthalates are endocrine distrupters that can harm developing foetus and the male testes. Long-term exposure cause liver and kidney damage. High level exposure causes irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headache.

The US Environmental Protection Agency found that 100% perfumes contain toluene, which can cause liver, kidney and brain damage as well as damage to a developing foetus. Synthetic fragrances are known to trigger asthma attacks. Symptoms reported to the FDA from fragrance exposure have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discolouration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Fragrance is a common skin irritant.

Found in: Air fresheners, colognes, perfumes, cosmetics, hairspray, nail polish, paints, plastics, household perfume products, floor polish, window cleaning products, adhesives, toys, shower curtains.

Avoid: Fragrance (Parfum), Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Diethyl Phthalate (DEP)

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Learn more about these ingredients and why they’re not healthy! Research what you’re using. Chances are, if you informed, you probably wouldn’t use it.




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