24 Cosmetic And Personal Care Ingredients To Avoid

The personal and beauty care market is completely unregulated by the FDA. There are many chemicals that are put into the products that you may use every day on your face, hair, nails, and body that have the potential to cause frightening health consequences.

I have put together a list of the most common chemicals that are found in everyday conventional products that you probably use. This way you can take the health of your body into your own hands.

1. Bismuth Oxychloride
Reason for Concern: causes itching, breakouts, and general irritation as it is a heavy metal.
Found in: products with a pearlescent finish.

2. Ethyl Acetate
Reason for Concern: Irritant to the eyes, skin, and lungs. Vapors may cause dizziness and drowsiness and it is highly flammable.
Found in: mascara, perfumes, nail products, and tooth whiteners.

3. Hydroquinone
Reason for Concern: respiratory intoxicant, suspected to cause a skin disease called ochronosis, and may cause cancer.
Found in: skin lightening products.

4. P-Phenylenediamine
Reason for Concern: may cause cancer, neurological and endocrine damage, asthma, and is a respiratory irritant.
Found in: shampoo, hair dyes, and hair sprays.

5. Toluene
Reason for Concern: liver and kidney damage, can be toxic to infants and children and potentially may cause cancer.
Found in: nail products and hair dyes.

6. Sodium/Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (LSL)
Reason for Concern: skin irritant and alters skin structure allowing chemicals to deeply penetrate the skin.
Found in: toothpaste, sunscreen, perfumes, shampoo, conditioner, whiteners, and moisturizers.

7. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Reason for Concern: causes neurotoxicity, eye, and skin irritation.
Found in: lipsticks, fragrances, moisturizers, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, foundations, and acne treatments.

8. Parabens
Reason for Concern: skin irritation, rash, dermatitis, or allergic skin reactions.
Found in: shampoo, conditioner, whiteners, lotions, insect repellents, and liquid skin and hair products.

9. Diazolidinyl Urea
Reasons for Concern: linked to cancer and endocrine system disruption.
Found in: fragrances, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, foundations, eye make-up, lipsticks, and liquid hand soaps.

10. Diethanolamine (DEA)
Reason for Concern: toxic to the immune system, irritant to skin, and may form carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Found in: shampoo, body wash, cleansers, bath oils, bar soaps, moisturizers, deodorants, body scrubs, and hair sprays.

11. Formaldehyde
Reason for Concern: known human carcinogen, potentially toxic to human immune, respiratory, reproductive, and cardiovascular systems.
Found in: nail products, hair dyes, deodorants, shampoo, soaps, shaving creams, and gels.

12. Petroleum and Petroleum By-Products
Reason for Concern: may cause allergic reactions, contains impurities that cause cancer and liver toxicity.
Found in: creams, lotions, styling gels, eyebrow pencils, mascara, lip products, and liquid powders.

13. Phthalates (Dibutyl Phthalate, (DBP) Diethyl Phthalate
Reason for Concern: damage to liver, kidney, and lungs.
Found in: fragrances, hair sprays, nail polishes, deodorants, hair gels, lotions, and moose.

14. Talc
Reason for Concern: respiratory irritant
Found in: baby powder, blush, eye shadows, face powders, deodorants, and soaps.

15. Prophylene Glycol
Reason for Concern: alters skin structure and allows toxic ingredients to penetrate the bloodstream, skin irritant, and may cause allergic reactions.
Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body washes, toothpaste, moisturizers, colognes, deodorants, nail polishes, and eye shadows.

16. Triethanolamine
Reason for Concern: may form carcinogenic compounds and it is one of the most potent cancer-causing agents.
Found in: shampoo, lotions, creams, and soaps.

17. Butylated Acetate
Reason for Concern: causes skin dryness and cracking.
Found in: nail polish and treatments.

18. Triclosan
Reason for Concern: may cause cancer and reproductive toxicity.
Found in: liquid hand soaps, body wash, toothpaste, and lipsticks.

19. Synthetic Fragrance
Reason for Concern: neurotoxicity, allergies, and immunotoxicity.
Found in: moisturizers, shampoo, conditioner, cleansers, body washes, hair dyes, deodorants, styling gels, and facial treatments.

20. Methacrylate Monomers (MMA)
Reason for Concern: causes skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, with the potential to cause neurological damage ranging from headaches and dizziness to memory loss.
Found in: most artificial nails.

21. Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, AHA (Alpha hydroxy acid), BHA (Beta hydroxy acid)
Reason for Concern: developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Found in: anti-aging, moisturizers, and acne treatment products.

22. Padimate-O, PABA
Reason for Concern: irritation of the eyes, rashes, and allergic reactions.
Found in: sunscreens and hair dyes.

23. Cocomide DEA/Lauramide DEA
Reason for Concern: may form carcinogenic nitrosamines
Found in: shampoo, body wash, cleansers, bath oils, liquid soaps, bar soaps, and moisturizers.

24. Coal-Tar Colors (FD and C or D and C)
Reason for Concern: known human respiratory toxin and possible cancer risk.
Found in: shampoo, psoriasis relief liquid.

Check out Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database from The Environmental Working Group. It is a searchable database of toxic ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products.

9 Responses to 24 Cosmetic And Personal Care Ingredients To Avoid

  1. mygreenside April 7, 2009 at 9:12 am #

    What a great list! I am also a big fan of the EWG’s Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database. I have been able to (almost) completely clear our bathroom of many bad for us products!


  2. Sweet Greens April 7, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    My Green Side, That is wonderful! I am in the process of phasing out all bad products as well. xo

  3. Taylor July 24, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    I really enjoyed the article posted regarding harmful ingredients in personal care products. It was very informative and I believe you are absolutely correct about the negative impact that these chemicals can have on our bodies. I have discovered several amazing reports to validate your position, and I think you would find the information fascinating. I would love to discuss this further with you. Please email me at your earliest convenience at tdeann24@gmail.com. One report in particular is very serious in nature and was documented on CNN. I’ll send you a link.


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