12 ingredients to avoid in your cosmetics

The worrying truth about some soap ingredients 

Shockingly, there is no regulatory body policing the word natural. So, inevitably, there are a number of products that are still formulated with ingredients that are just plain bad for you.

Twelve ingredients to avoid in your cosmetics

1. BHA and BHT

An ingredient found in some lipsticks and moisturizers. The National Toxicology Program classifies butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. In some studies, it has been reported to produce liver damage and interfere with thyroid hormone levels. It’s found in exfoliators and some fragrances.

2. Coal Tar Dyes (Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine)

Coal tar, a byproduct of coal processing, is a known human carcinogen, according to the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Hairstylists and other professionals are exposed to these chemicals in hair dye almost daily. Europe has banned many of these ingredients in hair dyes.

3. Formaldehyde

A potent preservative considered a known human carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Cancer. Formaldehyde is known to be an asthma gene and neurotoxicant. While use has declined, some hair straighteners are based on formaldehyde’s hair-stiffening action and release substantial amounts of the chemical. 

4. Parabens

Parabens are preservatives used in skin-care products to prevent contamination of products while they are sitting on the shelves. Although food and drug administrations have not deemed them to be fatal, according to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butylparaben and their counterparts, isopropyl, and isobutyl parabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders. 

5. Synthetic Fragrance

Fragrances are in everything from shampoo to deodorant to lotions. Companies are not required by federal law to list the chemicals in their fragrance mix. Recent research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label. Fragrances are among the top five contenders that cause allergies, including causing rashes, irritation, and links to cancer and nervous system issues.

6. Sulfates

Sulfates are commonly used surfactants, a type of detergent that cleanse the skin and hair in cleansers and shampoos but have been shown to cause or contribute to skin irritation, and can be a major disruptor of the skin’s natural oil balance. Sulfates also widely said to cause acne. There are 3 main types of sulphates used in personal care formulas are: SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate), SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) and ALS (aluminium sulfate).

7. Triclosan

Triclosan was very popular in the use of antibacterial products found in bars and liquids. However, it has been linked to thyroid issues, skin cancer, and allergies. Now, because of its potential link to these health concerns, the FDA has banned soaps and other antiseptic products from using the ingredient in 2017.

8. Phthalates

Phthalates are often found in nail polish and hairspray, deodorant and perfume, and are meant to keep products soft and flexible. These chemicals have been known to cause endocrine disruption, headaches and respiratory problems. Pregnant women should avoid products with phthalates altogether. 

9. Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is one of the highest-risk chemicals found in sunscreen. Studies on cells and laboratory animals indicate that oxybenzone and its metabolites may disrupt the hormone system.

10. Propylene Glycol

According to the EWG, Propylene Glycol is typically used as a skin-conditioning agent, however, it’s been linked to allergy-induced conditions such as dermatitis and hives.

11. Petrolatum

Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly (ex. petroleum jelly) that is used by a variety of moisturizers as a barrier to lock moisture into the skin. In hair care products, petrolatum is used to make hair shine. Although it has been used for hundreds of years, it can become a health hazard if not properly refined.

12. DEA

DEA (Diethanolamine) is used to make cosmetics creamy or sudsy. It is mostly found in moisturizers and sunscreens. Cocamide and Lauramide DEA, meanwhile, are found in soaps, cleansers, and shampoos. Both can cause skin irritation. The European Union classifies DEA as harmful on the basis of the danger of serious damage to health from prolonged exposure and deems it to be carcinogenic.

Inform yourself

If you are unsure about a product or the ingredients in it, we suggest you check them out on the EWG website: