10 Toxins in Beauty Products to Avoid

Posted on by Paula Gallagher

avoid toxins in beauty products

Unfortunately, conventional personal care products can be loaded with ugly ingredients – including cancer-causing chemicals – and they’re very likely lurking in your bathroom cabinet or cosmetics pouch right now. Examples of questionable toxins in beauty products are endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, allergens/irritants, and environmental pollutants.

In Dr. Joseph Pizzorno's new book, The Toxin Solution, he notes that according to the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, the average woman uses about twelve health and beauty products per day, and men use about six. If you are using conventional over-the-counter products, they most likely contain chemicals that easily pass from the skin into the body within minutes of their application.

Here are 10 chemicals to look out for and AVOID that are commonly found in beauty and personal care products.

1. Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS)
2. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
3, 4, 5. Parabens: methlyparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben
6. Phthalates (fragrance)
7. Formaldehyde
8. Toluene
9. Ethanolamines: DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine) & MEA (monoethanolamine)
10. Propylene glycol

Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) & sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Along with their chemical cousins, these are in just about every conventional commercial shampoo and body wash. The scientific jury is still out on whether these irritating detergents cause endocrine disruption; however several known carcinogens are by-products of their processing, 1,4 dioxane and nitrosamine.

Parabens: methlyparaben, propylparaben & ethylparaben are preservatives. They’re also likely hormone disruptors and environmental/potential human carcinogens. Avoid them.

Phthalates (fragrance). If your shampoo or body wash says "fragrance" on it, it may contain these dangerous plasticizers. Yes, the same ones recently removed from baby bottles because of health concerns. These chemicals are immune system toxicants, and impact the reproductive system.

Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde often forms in processing or in use, and masquerades on labels as other named preservatives: doazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, quarternium-15. Reactions include allergies and neurotoxicity.

Toluene. An industrial solvent and VOC found in almost all nail polish and some hair coloring. Yuk!

Ethanolamines: DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine) & MEA (monoethanolamine). These chemicals are emulsifiers and foaming agents, potentially toxic, and easily absorbed by the skin. They can cause liver and kidney damage, especially with repeated use. Avoid even the coconut-derived cocamide DEA/MEA, and lauramide DEA.

Propylene glycol. A key ingredient in brake fluid and antifreeze (not recommended for the skin). There are many natural products that are on the market and being an informed and involved consumer is important to avoiding these chemicals.

Photo from here, with thanks.