Enjoy our information on what skin care chemicals to avoid with all of your skincare products.
There are still a huge number of us who are not sure what ingredients are particularly toxic in our personal care products. The difficult part when choosing a natural and organic beauty product is the understanding on what is on the label, and how to make a well-informed buying decision. Below is a check list of toxic chemicals that you can eliminate to help you make a safer, healthier choice. We will continue to do our independent research that we will post on a regular basis so you have the latest information available. If there is an ingredient that you would like to know more about, please contact us, as we are here to help.
BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE (BAK) and BENZETHONIUM CHLORIDE- A widely used ammonium detergent in hair products, after-shaves, deodorants and other cosmetics. It is also antibacterial. It is highly toxic.
BRONOPOL® – Bronosol – Odourless crystals from chloroform, widely used as preservatives in cosmetics and toiletries. It is considered less sensitizing than parabens or isothiazolinones. It can form nitrosamines when acting together with amines or amides. It also breaks down to form formaldehyde, which is a suspected carcinogen.
BUTYLATED HYDROXYTOLUENE (BHT)/ BUTYLATED HYDROXYANISOLE (BHA) – An anti-oxidant that slows down the rate at which product ingredients change in colour.
ETHOXYLATED INGREDIENTS: CETEARETH GROUP – Ethers made from cetyl alcohol and ethylene oxide. Synthetic emulsifiers, emollients, and lubricants. Also part of the Emulsifying wax.
Cyclopentasiloxane — This is a silicone that is used as a conditioner, delivery agent, lubricant and solvent. It can cause skin and eye irritation and there are many concerns regarding the harmful effects it may have on the environment (e.g. marine life).
COAL TAR-Controls itching and eczema, softens and promotes the dissolution of hard, scaly, rough skin, also used in hair dyes. Health concerns: Known human carcinogen; skin and respiratory toxicant.
Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (a.k.a MES) — This anionic surfactant is a foaming degreaser found in 95% of shampoos. It is controversial as it may be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. It is a lower irritant than sulfate surfactants (like sodium laureth and lauryl sulfate) but it is not exactly natural and can still cause irritation.
ETHANOLAMINES – Monoethanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), they form soaps with fatty acids and are widely used as detergents and emulsifiers. Appears on cosmetic labels in many different combinations: DEA-Lauryl Sulfate, DEA-Linoleate, DEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, and so on. All synthetic surfactants. Health concerns: Human immune system toxicant; forms carcinogenic nitrosamine compounds if mixed with nitrosating agents; animal studies show sense organ effects and skin irritation; may contain harmful impurities.
FORMALDEHYDE- A colourless gas obtained by oxidation of methyl alcohol. Its vapours are highly irritating to mucous membranes. Formaldehyde has been abandoned as preservative long time ago, but its derivatives have been in use. It is an ingredient in nail hardeners, nail polish and other cosmetics. Highly toxic.
FORMALDEHYDE-RELEASING PRESERVATIVES – (QUATERNIUM-15, DMDM HYDANTOIN, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA AND IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, DEA, MEA, TEA). These function as synthetic cosmetic preservatives. Imidazolidinyl urea may also cause contact dermatitis.
Note- QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUNDS – A wide variety of preservatives, surfactants, antiseptics and deodorants used in cosmetics. Benzalkonium chloride is one of the most popular. These are synthetic derivatives of ammonium chloride. They can all be toxic, depending on the concentration. Natural quaternary ammonium compounds also exist, but rarely; one among them is choline, a vitamin from the B group of vitamins.
HYDROQUINONE. – Occurs naturally but mostly manufactured now. Used as a bleaching agent. It has many toxic effects if ingested or injected; on the skin it can cause allergic reactions.
IODOPROPYNYL BUTYLCARBAMATE- It functions has a preservative. It is rated score on the cosmetic database at 4-6.
LEAD and LEAD COMPOUNDS- This is found in hair dye and traces have been found in some lipstick.
OXYBENZONE (BENZPENONE-3) – This is used as a sunscreen agent, ultraviolet light absorber, UV Absorber, UV Filter. It can cause reactions, including photosensitivity.
PARABENS (METHYL, ETHYL, PROPYL AND BUTYL). Parabens are synthetic preservatives widely used in cosmetics. They go by many names – including alkyl parahydroxybenzoate, butylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and isobutylparabens – and are usually found at the bottom of the ingredient listing. Preservatives are used to limit microbial and bacteria growth in products that are water based. These make a product safer and stop contamination. The Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) has linked parabens to cancer, endocrine disruption; reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and skin irritation. Parabens absorb through the skin and have been found in breast tumors in their intact states. While researchers do not have evidence that parabens cause breast cancer, they believe that their estrogenic properties may speed tumor growth. This hormone disruption can also affect fetal development. It is important to still look at a product label that says that is it paraben free; it may still contain synthetic preservatives that may be toxic. For example formaldehyde.
There are natural preservatives; some are plant, essential oils, vitamins and herbal extracts. Preservatives are needed to keep certain beauty products stable and safe for use.
PEG-150 Distearate —An emulsifier and thickening agent especially effective in surfactant containing products (shampoo and conditioner). It is a 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. PEGs are controversial cosmetics ingredients partly because they can penetrate the skin and be absorbed into the body, or they help other chemicals and ingredients to be absorbed.
PETROLATUM (PETROLEUM). - Vaseline. Petroleum jelly.
PHTHALATES (DIBUTYL PHTHALATES).
P-PHENYLENEDIAMINE (PPD) – hazard rating of 10 through the EWA. It is used as a hair colourant.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL – One of the most widely used cosmetic ingredients, usually as a solvent, wetting agent and a humectant. It has been linked to sensitizing reactions. A derivative of petroleum. It is also used in manufacture of surfactants.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) – Is a surfactant, or foaming agent, commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products.
TRICLOSAN- Its function is an Anti-bacterial agent, deodorant, preservative, and biocide. Reduces and controls bacterial contamination on the hands and on treated products.
TOLUENE- Obtained from petroleum or by distilling Tolu Balsam. Used in nail polish as a solvent. It resembles benzene but it is less toxic, also less flammable. Many health concerns have been linked, or suspected to be related to toluene.
1.4 DIOXANE – Toxic to humans and are considered carcinogenic. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database gives both a hazard ranking of 10 (most toxic).
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