Updated: Jun 12, 2020
I used to have no idea that any of my products had toxic and potentially harmful ingredients in them. Unfortunately, the U.S. has very few laws regulating the cosmetic industry. Everyone knows that what you put in your body has a huge effect on your health, not many people think about how the products that you put on your body affect your health. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and absorbs 60% of what you put on it. Navigating which ingredients to avoid can be tough, especially when you can't even pronounce them- how are you suppose to remember which ones to avoid! There are so many out there, but a few seem more common than others. Here is a list of some of the more common ingredients in skincare you should look to avoid.
1.Parabens: Parabens are a prevalent ingredient in many everyday skincare and hair care products. You’ll see them listed as Methyl, Ethyl, Propyl, Benzyl, Butyl, Isobutyl or something similar. Parabens can cause redness and allergic reactions, particularly as they can enter the bloodstream.
2.Phthalates: Phthalates often creep into the formulas of many skincare products, particularly perfumed skincare products and deodorants. This chemical is used to retain a perfumed scent but is widely linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.
3.Fragrance: It's best to avoid any products that contain the word fragrance, parfum, or perfume. This is what is called a “cluster ingredient”, and can be anything up to 4,000 different chemicals.
4.Triclosan: Triclosan and triclocarban are antimicrobial chemicals added to provide antibacterial properties to cleansing and skincare products as well as soaps and deodorants. Unfortunately, more often than not, it adds little antimicrobial effect and instead serves only to really irritate the skin and disturb thyroid and hormone functions.
5.(SLS) / (SLES): Unfortunately, this ingredient is in a lot of products, particularly anything that foams like skin cleansers, so it is hard to avoid. However, it is a powerful skin, eye and lung irritant. It is not an ingredient you want to be putting on your skin every day.
6.Toluene: It comes from petroleum or coal tar sources. It’s powerful enough to be a paint thinner, so probably best to keep it away from your skin. It will sometimes be disguised as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane or methylbenzene in the ingredients list.
7.Formaldehyde: Skincare and cosmetics companies include formaldehydes in their formulas to prevent the growth of bacteria. While it may stop bacteria growing inside of cleansers, body washes and other vanity products, it can prove harmful to the immune system and can cause allergic skin reactions. It is also often found on your furniture, household cleaners, floor polish, and clothing.
8.Polyethylene Glycol (PEGS): An all-too-frequent feature in skincare formulas, PEGs are used to thicken skincare products. Unfortunately, they also can strip the skin of natural moisture and contribute to oily or greasy residue on the skin.
9.Synthetic Colors: If you see the letters F, D or C, followed by a color or number, your skincare products contain synthetic colors. The problem is these artificial ingredients come from petroleum or coal tar sources and are linked to several health issues.
10.Silicones: Silicones are supposed to make the product and your skin feel silky and smooth. However, they are one of the worst ingredients for dehydrating the skin and clogging the pores, which is the beginning of redness, pore scarring, and acne breakouts.
Simplifying The Process
It’s not all or nothing when it comes to health and transitioning to non-toxic skin care is a process. When one of your old products runs out, use it as an opportunity to replace it with a clean alternative. You can slowly restock your beauty products with products that will make you look and feel great!