20 Toxic Ingredients To Avoid In Your Personal Care Products

Caroline Heasley March 10th 2017 Health
Do you read the labels on your personal care products? If you don't, you definitely should start doing so. Many personal care products contain dozens of chemicals, and many of these chemicals are highly toxic. When creating your personal care program, try your best to leave out these 20 toxic ingredients.
1. Parabens
According to Arthur Rich, Ph.D and cosmetic chemist, "About 85 percent of cosmetics have parabens." A preservative, parabens stop the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast in beauty products. They are used as an ingredient to make products last longer and to keep products from expiring or going bad. However, they also have estrogen-mimicking features that are related to an increased risk of breast cancer. Because of this, many manufacturers have created paraben-free products, which include lotions, shampoos, and facial scrubs.
If you want to start using paraben-free products, many health outlets offer them. What are some paraben-free brands? Burt's Bees, John Masters Organics, Josie Maran Cosmetics, Aveda, Dr. Hauschka, and Pangea Organics are all brands which exclude parabens in their merchandise. To avoid purchasing products that contain this chemical, simply buy products that are all-natural. Many natural products use paraben substitutes like Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
2. Phthalates
Phthalates are not a chemical that you want anywhere close to your skin. They are a group of chemicals that are used to make plastics flexible and are used as lubricants in cosmetics. They are found in perfume, hair spray, deodorant, and almost anything fragranced. But, these chemicals are known to disrupt the endocrine hormone and have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Phthalates have also been known to cause reproductive birth defects in males and females.
Some ways to avoid phthalates is by choosing products that are unscented or scented with natural botanicals. Some brands that avoid using phthalates are Afterglow Cosmetics, Beach Organics Skin Care, Garden Girl Skin Care, Botanical Skin Works, Daisy Blue Naturals, Colby Organic, and UV Natural. Remember to always look for products that are advertised as "phthalate-free."
3. Triclosan
Tricolson is a chemical that can be found in soaps, deodorants, and toothpastes. It is often used to prevent pollution of the product. Tricolson is a known endocrine disruptor and is especially known to disturb the thyroid and reproductive hormones. In addition, they are known for being an irritant. Specifically, this ingredient has often been associated with irritation of the eyes and skin. Triclosan may also be enhancing the risk for some cancers. It may also lead to unrestrained cell growth and unhealthy weight loss.
Try your best to stay away from personal care products that contain this chemical. Make sure that you support brands that do not use triclosan in their products. Some companies that are triclosan free include LUSH, Naked Soap Works, Vermont Country, Listerine Essential Care, the Natural Dentist, and Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer. One personal care retailer that sells triclosan-free products is The Body Shop.
4. Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is a colorless and flammable gas. It is used in many cosmetic products to aid in preventing the growth of bacteria. This chemical can be found in many personal care products including, eye shadows, body washes, nail polish, shampoos, cleansers, and nail polish treatments. The most common side effect of Formaldehyde are allergic skin reactions. It has been found to cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and skin. But, it as also been linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancers.
It is somewhat difficult to figure out if your cosmetics contain Formaldehyde because most product labels won't tell you if it is or isn't present. However, you can figure it out yourself by checking for various chemicals. Some chemicals that are related to Formaldehyde are Imidazolidinyl urea,DMDM hydantoin, and Bronopol. In addition, there are a few nail polish companies who do not use Formaldehyde in their merchandise, such as Suncoat, Zoya, Piggy Paint, and Honeybee Gardens.
5. Hydroquinone
Hydroquinoe is a compound found in numerous skin products that is used for lightening skin. It is contained in a lot of products that are aimed towards reducing the appearance of dark spots, freckles, and acne scars. Hydroquinoe unfortunately does cause some dangerous health concerns. For one, it causes skin irritation. Using this ingredient regularly can result in your skin starting to irritate. Some people have even experienced extreme redness and itching when they applied it to their skin.
There are many alternatives to using products that contain hydroquinone. If you are searching for a skin whitening product, look for one that is made of natural ingredients such as mandelic acid and alpha-hydroxy acids. Using products with these natural ingredients is way safer than using products that contain hydroquinone. However, remember that even though skin whitening can help many skin problems, it should only be used for treating problem regions, not for using all over. Try your best to be comfortable in the skin you already have!
6. Oxybenzone
Oxybenzone is an ingredient that is found in many sunscreens. The EWG claims that Oxybenzone can disrupt your hormones and can even cause cancer. Indeed, it is definitely is a huge hormone disruption. This ingredient acts like estrogen in the body and is linked to endometriosis in women. When absorbed by your skin, it can cause an eczema-like allergic reaction that can spread beyond the exposed area and last long after you're out of the sun
When looking for sunscreens, avoid the ones that contain oxybenzone. Instead, look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two ingredients that are found in mineral sunscreens. These sunscreens offer UV protection without containing oxybenzone. Some sunscreens that are free from oxybenzone include Babo's SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion, Soleo Organics Sunscreen, and Sierra Sage Solar Goo Sun Protection Stick.
7. Talc
Talc is a mineral produced by the mining of talc rocks. It is a toxic ingredient found in baby powders, eye shadows, blush, and deodorant. Talc is used as an absorbent and anti-caking agent. Furthermore, it acts as an astringent on the skin. As a matter of fact, according to dailymail.co.uk, 40% of women use powder containing Talc. The American Cancer Society acknowledges that Talc is known to cause tumors in the ovaries and lungs. Talc particles have also been found to last inside the body for years.
Try your best to not buy or use products containing this ingredient. The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition recommends that women use cornstarch powder instead of talcum powder on the genital area. Cornstarch powder is definitely a safe alternative to talc. It has also never been associated with ovarian cancer!
8. Petrolatum
Petrolatum is a derivative from crude oil. It is found in many hair products,soaps, lip balms, and skin care products. Surprisingly, it is found in "one of every 14 products," according to livestrong.com. Petrolatum is used to trap moisture in the skin and to make hair shine. Many manufacturers use it in particular because of the fact that it is extremely cheap to use. But, it does cause a lot of problems when used on the skin. It can also interfere with the body's own natural moisturizing structure, leading to dry skin.
Additionally, petrolatum is linked to breast cancer and tumors. According to livestrong.com, a study showed that women with increased amounts of petrolatum found in their breast tissue were 2.6 times more likely to get breast cancer. It may also lead to premature aging because it essentially suffocates your skin, which leads to the death of skin cells. But thankfully, there are some alternatives to petrolatum. You can try cocoa butter, which is extracted from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao. Or, you can choose to try shea butter, which is a very healing ingredient to the skin.
9. Isopropyl Alcohol
Isopropyl is a liquid that is colorless and flammable. It is a harmful ingredient used in many skin care items. Many manufacturers use isopropyl alcohol to lessen the denseness of liquids and to reduce foam development when shaken. Isopropyl has no beneficial qualities what-so-ever. It can lead to dry, flaky skin, and actually increase acne. If you don't want extremely dry skin, never use this chemical.
Instead of using products that contain isopropyl alcohol, use products with rose extract. If you have acne, try using witch hazel, tea tree, and lavender. Always be sure to read the labels on the products you use. You can also choose to use vinegar. Vinegar is definitely a healthier alternative to isopropyl alcohol because it's edible. In addition, it reduces itching and dryness.
10. PEG's
PEG's or polyethylene glycols, are petroleum-based compounds that are used in many personal care products including conditioners, moisturizers, and deodorants. They are primarily used as cosmetic cream bases. PEG's often are contaminated with a lot of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which can harm the nervous system. They also have the potential to reduce the skin's natural moisture. They can even cause cancer!
One company that sells PEG-free products is Aubrey Organics. The formulas of Aubrey Organics have never and will never contain PEG compounds. Instead of using polyethylene glycols, they use other natural glycols. The company relies mainly on a natural vegetable glycerin as a moisturizer. Vegetable glycerin definitely gets the job done without adding damaging side effects.
11. P-Phenylenediamine
P-Phenylenediamine, a coal tar dye, is found in numerous hair dyes and other cosmetics. But, it is especially found in darker hair dyes. Coal tar dyes, including P-Phenylenediamine, are a combination of many different chemicals. They come from petroleum and are known as a human carcinogen. The primary side effect of coal tar dyes is that they can lead to cancer. These dyes can also be polluted with heavy metals and aluminum substrate. Both heavy metals and aluminum compounds are harmful to the brain.
P-Phenylenediamine has also been linked to the development of tumors. One study, according to collective-evolution.com, found that women who used these dyes over a long period of time had an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Some at-home dyes that are considered pure, without these harmful ingredients include Herbatint, Light Mountain, Surya Henna, Rainbow Henna, and Color Me Naturally be Aubrey.
12. Mineral Oil
Mineral Oil, a colorless and odorless substance, is made from petroleum. It is found in many personal care products such as soaps, body lotions, and cosmetics. Mineral oil is used as a preserving agent and works to aid in retaining moisture. It is also very inexpensive, which is why it is popular among companies. Mineral Oil tends to clog pores and also interferes with the skin's power to expunge toxins. Because of this, it promotes skin disorders, including acne. It also advanced premature aging because it decreases skin function and cell growth. Additionally, it may even be polluted with carcinogens. Overall, mineral oil doesn't do anything good for your skin!
An alternative to mineral oil is pure, extra virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil that is organic is a way better option than mineral oil. Not only can it reduce cravings for unhealthy foods, but it can also act as a moisturizer for the skin. You don't even have to buy special coconut oil products because you can make your own scrub/formula at home easily.
13. Siloxanes
Siloxanes are a type of silicone. They are used in various personal care products including moisturizers, makeup, and hair care formulas. They are used mainly to soften, smoothen, and moisten. In hair products, they are commonly used to dry more quickly. Siloxanes are known to interfere with hormones and even damage the liver. They have been linked to impaired human fertility and are even harmful to animals!
How can you avoid siloxanes? Hairstyling and detangling creams contain the highest amount of this chemical. So, try using less of these particular items if you can. Instead of using detangling cream, attempt to detangle your hair with other tools. Creams and lotions, on the other hand, usually don't contain a lot of them. There are no real alternatives to siloxanes, but don't worry, because this chemical won't necessarily kill you, unless consumed in very large portions.
14. Aluminum
Many deodorants and antiperspirants contain aluminum. This ingredient is typically used to stop the flow of sweat to the skin's surface. Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's and brain disorders. It may also even be a risk factor in developing breast cancer.
Is possible, try to use aluminum free deodorant. When looking for a deodorant that is free of this ingredient, look for one that contains essential oils and is all natural. Aluminum free deodorant does not lead to health problems and can even cause fewer stains on your clothing. Some aluminum-free deodorants are Avene Regulating Deodorant, Lafes Twist-Stick Lavender, and Weleda Sage Deodorant.
15. Lead
Lead is a neurotoxin found in many cosmetics. According to collective-evolution.com, 33 popular brands of lipsticks were tested for lead content by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The result? Around 61% of the lipsticks surprisingly contained lead. Lipstick brands that contained the highest amount of lead were L'Oreal, Revlon, and Procter & Gamble.
Lead is not safe in any dose. Even at very small doses, it has been proven to be harmful. Lead exposure has been linked with many different health problems. One common issue is neurotoxicity, which causes learning, language, and behavioral issues. Aluminum also has the potential to reduce fertility, disrupt hormones and a woman's menstrual cycle, and delay puberty for girls. Overall, it is best for you to try to stay clear from lead!
16. Dioxin
Dioxins, an organic chemical, consist of a pair of benzene rings. They are often found in skin cleansers and other bath products. They are highly toxic according to the World Health Organization because they are known to cause reproductive and developmental issues, damage the immune system, disrupt hormones, and cause cancer. Dioxins can stay in the body for years due to their chemical balance and their ability to be dissolved by fat tissue. They are potent in even small quantities and are categorized as persistent environmental pollutants.
To inevitably avoid coming into contact with dioxin, stay away from personal care products containing triclosan, which eventually degrades into dioxin. Many feminine hygiene products contain dioxin as well. Avoid using conventional brand tampons and sanitary pads. Instead, use 100% organic brands like Natracare.
17. Parfum/Fragrance
Obviously, fragrance is an ingredient in perfumes, colognes, and deodorants. But, it is also found in almost every kind of personal care product. Many of the chemicals used in fragrances are irritants and can cause allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms. Some people, even when simply exposed to perfume, can experience asthma attacks. Any person may experience skin irritation or runny eyes and nose when exposed to a fragrance. Additionally, some fragrance ingredients have been linked with cancer and neurotoxicity as well as other harmful health effects.
The best action that you can take is to buy fragrance-free products. Some brands that are free of fragrance are Alpha Hydrox, CeraVe, Cetaphil, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, MD Formulations, Free & Clear, and SkinCeuticals. It definitely isn't easy finding fragrance-free skin care because there are not many options available. However, if you search well, you will definitely find a product that is free of perfume.
18. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
SLS is a chemical that you should avoid at all costs. But sadly, this toxic chemical is contained in a lot of personal care products including shampoos, soaps, and toothpaste. SLS is a known skin irritant and can lead to dandruff, dermatitis, and canker sores. Furthermore, it has corrosive properties and corrodes the fats and proteins that make up the skin and muscle. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is also an eye irritant and has been shown to cause cataracts in adults.
You definitely should start using SLS free products if you are not already. Some SLS free products are Sage Shampoo for Heavy Dandruff, Fundamental Shampoo, Christina Moss Conditioner, Verse Ultra, Tom's of Maine Clean and Gentle Care, Alaffia Everyday Shea Body Wash, and Beesential Body Wash. Needless to say, there are a lot of personal care products that do not contain SLS. So, you will find that making the switch won't be too difficult.
19. Lanolin
Lanolin is a waxy substance that is found in sheep's wool. Used as a lubricant, it is found in most cosmetics and lotions. Lanolin commonly causes allergic reactions because it is treated with toxic pesticides. If you are a person who suffers from sensitive skin, it is best for you to avoid products that contain this chemical.
To find Lanolin-free products, look for ones that specifically are labeled lanolin-free or simply read the list of ingredients. To see if a particular product is free of lanolin, check to make sure that "lanolin,""lanolin oils," "or "lanolin alcohols" are not listed in the ingredients. Be sure to look out for ingredients that indicate lanolin such as lanolate, lanagene, triterpene, or cholesterin.
20. Toluene
Toluene is found naturally in crude oil. It is contained in many different synthetic fragrances and nail products. Toluene is a toxic chemical that when exposed to, can cause headaches, dizziness, and cracked skin. It also can cause more extreme effects such as damaging your reproductive system.
Salon workers are the most at risk due to being in constant contact with toxic nail polishes. Expectant mothers should also avoid being exposed to toluene because it Toluene can cause developmental damage in the fetus. Try looking for less toxic brands of nail polishes and treatments. Some non-toxic nail polish brands include Zoya, Suncoat, Piggy Paint, RGB, and Sheswai.

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