December 10, 2022

Top 20 Toxic Chemicals in Beauty Products

You already know toxins are not good for our bodies, wildlife and the environment. There are toxins in health and beauty products, pesticides and herbicides, industrial pollutants, mold, preservatives and flame retardants, petrochemical fuels and solvents, plastics and cookware.

Today, I will be reviewing toxins in beauty products. Many of these products are applied directly to the skin, the body’s largest organ, where ingredients can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. It’s important to reduce the toxic load because low doses and can interfere with bodies like disrupting our hormones, reproductive organs, brain, and linked to cancer. The toxin load should be reduced especially if you have an autoimmune disease or chronic illness.

Here are the top toxins in beauty and Why

1. Preservatives & Stabilizing Agents: Isobutyl and isopropyl  Parabens, BHA, BHT: these chemicals are weakly estrogenic which can disrupt hormones and harm the reproductive system

2. Foaming Agents: Sulfates Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate: cause eye irritation, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, skin rashes and other allergic reactions.

3. Phthalates damage the liver, the kidneys, the lungs and the reproductive system, especially the developing testes.

4. PFAS stands for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substance: increase the risks of some cancers, low birth weight, and problems with the immune system

5. Synthetic/artificial  colors: irritate and sensitize the skin, cause acne and are absorbed in the skin and can be carcinogenic

6. M- and o-phenylenediamine (used in hair dyes) irritate and sensitize the skin, damage DNA and can cause cancer.

7. Fragrance: listed as fragrance.” Problems include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyper-pigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation, Cancer, Asthma and Kidney Damage

8. Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen (Paraformaldehyde and Methylene glycol are types of formaldehyde) cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; skin irritation exposure is associated with certain types of cancer.

9. Antibacterials: Triclosan found in soaps, body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics absorption through the skin or through the lining of the mouth. These exposures have result in contact dermatitis, or skin irritation, and an increase in allergic reactions, especially in children

10. Toluene found in nail polish and nail polish removers. Toluene can cause cardiac arrhythmia, confusion, dermatitis, dizziness, eye and nose irritation, headache, muscle fatigue

11. Talc/Talcum powder increase ovarian cancer risk; talc is like asbestos!

12. Light and Heavy Metals: Aluminum (are a poison and neurotoxin. It has a capacity to modify the metabolism of cells by inhibiting certain enzyme systems.) Lead and Mercury, which can damage the kidneys and nervous system

13. Chemical Sunscreens: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Octinoxate many sunscreen ingredients in breast milk and urine samples, allergic skin reactions (Rodriguez 2006), behaves like an endocrine disruptor, increased risk of endometriosis, thyroid tumors and uterine hyperplasia in females, hormone effects on the metabolic system and affects thyroid hormone production and also cause coral bleaching, which ends up killing our coral reefs

15. Formaldehyde Releasers: DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, and others Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea (Germall II and Germall 115) cause of contact dermatitis and release formaldehyde, which can be toxic.

16. Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA) cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dryness of hair and skin and can form cancer-causing compounds

17. Alcohol (methanol, ethanol, isopropyl and denatured alcohol)  in skincare harms your skin’s protective surface, depletes vital substances needed for healthy skin, and makes oily skin worse, dry, leaking skin due to a reduced amount of lipids and moisture and also causes local inflammation

18. Hydroquinone: (skin brightening cream) cause contact Dermatitis, thin fragile skin, infection, rash, headache, hypothalamus and pituitary glan, glaucoma, cataracts

19. Water Retainers: Mineral Oils & Petroleum ( PVP/VA Copolymer) is toxic, since inhaled particles can damage the lungs and water reatiners lead to dryness and chapping. 

20. Polyethylene glycol (PEG or PEG-40 Castor Oil) used in deodorants, shampoos, moisturizers, facial cleansers, eye creams. PEGs can instigate immune system response that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin.”  

Most toxic chemicals have been banned by the European Union and many other nations, But the U.S. hasn’t, only a few retailers like Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS Health and Whole Foods have banned certain toxins to be sold in their stores.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) makes it easy to know what products are less and non-toxic. The provide a site called Skin Deep, which evaluates products and brands and rates them on a safety scale from 1–10. Check your latest product and see where it is on the scale

You can make your own products or buy local products (if you live in San Antonio area) that are already made like from In the Weeds. Their products are all-natural botanicals, butters, and essential oils. And packaged in eco-friendly, recyclable. Their products will not contain parabens, sulfates, fragrances (aka EDCs), or aluminum.

Sources and Research