Safer Skincare-Ingredients to Avoid

Welcome to my new post series “Safer Skincare Spotlight”.  Today we are talking about Ingredients to Avoid. Throughout this series I will be highlighting some of my favorite safer skincare products; why to avoid what’s out there, where to buy, and ways to save money in the process!

While it’s impossible to avoid every single synthetic chemical ever created, and you honestly do not need to do so, you can do your part to educate yourself on the worst offenders, like those nasty chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, allergens, and skin issues! Always do your research before you buy.  Check out the Environmental Working Group-Skin Deep to get a rating on the current products you are using, or planning on purchasing.

Below is a quick list of toxic chemicals linked to health issues.  Swap out one product at a time or do a complete overhaul.  It’s up to you!

Ingredients to Avoid-

Parabens. Parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. They can be found in makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers.

Synthetic colors-FD&C or D&C represent artificial colors. F — representing food and D&C representing drug and cosmetics; ex. D&C Red 27 or FD&C blue 1. These synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources and are suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant and are linked to ADHD in children.

Fragrance– A term created to protect company’s “secret formula”, allowing for the use of multiple hazardous chemicals without the requirement to disclose. Mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. It can be found in many products such as perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturizers.

Phthalates– A group of chemicals used to increase flexibility and softness of plastics. They have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females. They can be found in deodorants, perfumes/colognes, hair sprays and moisturizers.

Triclosan– A widely used antimicrobial chemical that’s a known endocrine disruptor — especially thyroid and reproductive hormones, and a skin irritant. Tricolson can be found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps and deodorants.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)-This surfactant can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products (think foaming products). SLS’s are known to be skin, lung, and eye irritants. A major concern about SLS is its potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. They can be found in shampoo, body wash/cleanser, mascara and acne treatment.

Formaldehyde– Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRP’s) preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth. It is known to cause allergic skin reactions and it may also be harmful to the immune system. It can be found in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments.

Toluene– A potent solvent able to dissolve paint and paint thinner derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. Sometimes listed as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene, it can affect your respiratory and immune systems, cause nausea and irritate your skin. It is found in nail polish, nail treatments and hair color/bleaching products.

Propylene glycol- An organic alcohol commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent. It has been associated with dermatitis and hives in humans. It can be found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.

Sunscreen chemicals– These chemicals are endocrine disruptors and are believed to be easily absorbed into the body. They may also cause cellular damage and cancer in the body. Common names are benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and octyl methoxycinnamate. They can be found in sunscreen products.

The list above is not exhaustive, but gives you some basic information to get you started on a safer skincare journey.  Check out Beautycounter’s NEVER LIST to learn more!

We all want to live a healthier lifestyle.  We can do this by limiting the amount of toxins we are exposed to. Eat a nutrient-dense diet. Avoid chemical-laden processed foods. Drink plenty of filtered water, throw in some electrolytes or sea salt for a hydration boost!  Get daily movement and always look for beauty and household products that avoid the use of these toxic chemicals.


To a nourished life,


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