The top 10 toxic ingredients to look out for in your beauty products & why:
What is it? Meet the second most common skincare ingredient; it’s found in 75-90% of beauty products. It’s a very cheap preservative, antifungal agent and antimicrobial compound.
Why is it harmful? This toxin actually mimics estrogen, disrupting normal hormone functions and has been detected in human breast cancer tissues.
What to look for: Anything beginning with, Methyl, Ethyl, Butyl, Propyl, Isobutyl.
What is it? Fragrance and parfum are disguised as phthalates, they are found in just about everything – even products marked as “unscented.”
Why is it harmful? It causes headaches, dizziness, asthma and allergies. It acts as a hormone disruptor and has been linked to reproductive defects, insulin resistance and developmental problems in children.
What to look for: Fragrance or Parfum. Stick to products that are naturally scented with essential oils or fruit instead.
3. Preservatives – BHA, BHT
What is it? It extends the shelf life of your products.
Why is it harmful? Simply put, it’s carcinogenic, it promotes tumor growth and negatively impacts wildlife and nature. As it’s toxic to the skin, lungs, liver, kidney, thyroid, bloodstream and immune system, it’s best to steer clear of it. In addition, it mimics estrogen and has harmful reproductive effects.
What to look for: BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoulene), DBP, DEHP and DEP.
What is it? Good old Petroleum, used in just about everything, including trusty Vaseline. And btw…it’s the same ingredient that your motor oil is made from! Gross.
Why is it harmful? It contains 1,4-dioxane which has been listed by the World Health Organisation and Environmental Protection Agency as a known carcinogen.
What to look for: Petrolatum, Xylene, Toluene, Mineral oil and Liquid paraffin.
5. Artificial dyes and Synthetic colours
What are they? Those vivid, pretty colours in your makeup. Although beautiful, they are immensely damaging.
Why are they harmful? They are made from coal tar and are carcinogenic, depositing heavy metals on your skin.
What to look for: Avoid anything beginning with FD&C or D&C.
What is it? Primarily used as a foaming agent, it’s found in most facial cleansers.
Why is it harmful? It has ethylene oxide and 1,4-Dioxane in it which are linked to cancer, harmful to the nervous system and interfere with human development.
What to look for: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
7. Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A):
What is it? A nutrient found in moisturizers and anti-aging skincare products.
Why is it harmful? It damages DNA and can speed up the growth of skin tumors when used topically, is damaging to our reproductive system and carcinogenic.
What to do: Look out for Retinol, vitamin A, retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, all-trans retinoic acid, tretinoin.
What is it? An embalming fluid that is used to prevent bacterial growth.
Why is it harmful? It’s carcinogenic, linked to asthma, neurotoxicity and developmental toxicity, causes allergic reactions and is harmful to your immune system.
What to do: Avoid any product that has words with “eth” in the ingredients or quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol).
9. Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds):
What is it? It’s used to thicken, stabilise and soften skincare products such as sunscreen, cream and shampoo, acting as a moisture-carrier.
Why is it harmful? It’s laden with two known carcinogens, ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane and heavy metals. Yikes!
What to do: Aside from PEG, look out for polyethylene glycol, polyethylene oxide, and polyoxyethylene.
10. Ethanolamines (MEA, DEA, TEA):
What is it? It’s an emulsifier and foaming agent used in sunscreens, moisturisers and cleansers.
Why is it harmful? It’s a carcinogen that’s linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption and impaired brain development.
What to do: Look out for MEA, DEA, & TEA, also known as: monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine.
If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it!
It may seem like a pain at first, we get it. But once you get in the habit of reading ingredients labels and know which ones to avoid, it gets easier. Trust us.
A good rule of thumb: if you do not recognize the ingredient or have trouble pronouncing it, it’s more than likely not skin-friendly. And, it’s definitely not organic!