harmful ingredients in skincare

41 Toxic Ingredients you should avoid in your skincare


Did you know that…
EU Law bans more than 1.000 chemicals from cosmetics (known/suspect to cause cancer, birth defect, genetic mutation…)

👉And the United States 🇺🇸 is known to have restricted 🚫 ONLY 11 chemicals from cosmetics.


Why is it that important??? Our skin absorbs more than 50% of the chemicals in products we use for our skin, thus absorbed in the bloodstream.


Harmful Of course the toxic ingredients are generally in very low amount, but imagine applying these toxic ingredients every day on your precious SKIN !

And this is absorbed by your bloodstream and then your bodies… (which can cause many hormonal diseases)


👉In the list below, there are some common ingredients that you can find very easily in almost every skincare product in the market…

✅Luckily, there are more conscious people every day and many clean brands growing every year.












-Carbon Black

-Coal Tar

Ethanolamines: DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine)

– Formaldehydes

Formaldehyde releasing preservatives:

DMD Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, bromopol and glyoxal.

– Fragrances (Synthetic)

Parabens: methylparaben, ethylparaben propylparaben, isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben and butylparaben.

– Homosalate

– Hydroquinone

– Mineral Oil

– Octinoxate

– Oxybenzone

– Parabens

– Petrolatum

– PFA and PFCs

– Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs)

– Propylene Glycol (PG) & Butylene Glycol

– Phenoxyethanol

– Phtalate

– Resorcinol

– Siloxane (Silicones)

– Sodium Benzoate

– Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)

– Talc

– Toluene

– Triclosan





Alcohol is one of the most common skincare ingredients in the market. Unfortunately, alcohol can be harmful for both dry and (Even) oily skin.


Alcohol is a drying substance in the long run.

Even though it is widely suggested for only oily skins, I do not even recommend the use of alcohol for oily skins.

Let me explain why…

Alcohol is a drying substance, application of it on pimples or on oily skins overall, can primitively cause the skin to dry. Then, the skin can react “to defend itself” by producing more oil, thus causing to more breakouts.

Moreover, alcohol can interrupt the skin renewal cycle which can result in many unhealthy skin conditions.


Try to stay away from especially these “drying alcohols”:

Drying alcohols: SD Alcohol, Ethanol, Methanol, Ethyl Alcohol, Denatured Alcohol.








Aluminum is a toxic metal which is mimicking hormones, especially estrogen. Thus, it can disrupt the endocrine system. Aluminum is generally found in deodorants.




Carbon black

Carbon black is often found in mascaras and eyeliners.

The EWG (Enviromnetal Working Group) has flagged this ingredient; its inhalation can cause lung disease, coughing and even cancer in long-term exposure to high doses.


Coal Tar

Coal Tar is known to be toxic for human bodies by all routes; inhalation, dermal exposure and orally. Coal tar is proven to be carcinogenic.

Coal tar can be found in Shampoo, Lipsticks, Foams, …




DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine)

Ethanolamines are classified as allergens, and irritants. They irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.


Ethanolamines are mainly found in sunscreens, makeup (mascaras, foundations…), fragrances, hair products.











Formaldehyde is used in skincare and other products as an anti-bacterial and preservative agent.

Formaldehydes can lead to skin allergies and sensitize the skin.


Formaldehyde releasing preservatives:

DMD Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, bromopol and glyoxal.

Studies shows that these preservatives are linked to cancer and allergic reactions, thus are banned in Japan and Sweden.

These preservatives are mainly found in hair dyes, nail polishes, shampoos, nail glue, eyelash glue…




Fragrances (Synthetic Frangrances)


When “fragrance” or “parfum” is listed in the ingredient list of a product, you should raise a red flag.

Why? “fragrance” or “perfum” is a term where brands are not obliged to disclose their full ingredients list. With the use of this term, they can use hundreds of chemicals fragrances.

Unfortunately, most chemical fragrances can cause allergic reactions especially for sensitive skin and toxic side effects for human bodies.


Note: Why don’t they use natural scents instead? Most of skincare products use artificial scents because it is a cheaper alternative. Only a minority use natural scents. You can also go for skincare products that has no fragrance at all.




Homosalate is known to be an endocrine disruptor and can cause DNA damage

Homosalate is widely used in sunscreen products.









Hydroquinone is an ingredient that act as a skin lightener and can help with hyperpigmentation, age spots, acne scars…

This chemical decreases the melanocytes (cells that form melanin which produces the skin color).

However, in the long-run hydroquinone can lead to premature aging and blemishes. Moreover, it is also listed as a carcinogenic and toxic ingredient.



Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is known to clog pores, thus hardening the body to eliminate its toxins and finally may cause to acne and other skin problems.


Mineral oil can be mainly found in creams and lotions.





Octinoxate can be harmful especially for sensitive skins causing some allergies. It can also cause acne and contact dermatitis.

Octinoxate is mainly found in sunscreens.




Oxybenzone can cause skin allergies especially for sensitive skins and can also cause some irritations.

Oxybenzone can act as an endocrine disruptor in the long run, thus potentially causing to cancers.


Oxybenzone is mainly found in sunscreens. (and also products that contain sunscreen such as lip balms, lotions, make-up products….)



There are 6 common types of paraben: methylparaben, ethylparaben propylparaben, isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben and butylparaben.


Parabens are preservatives that can endure the growth of micro-organisms and bacteria. However unfortunately, paraben can lead to hormone imbalance.


Parabens can be found in creams, deodorants…




Petrolatum is mainly used in “moisturizing” creams.

It acts as if it was moisturizing but it is not! Petrolatum gives a temporary illusion of hydration and a soft skin, but in fact it forms a barrier which retains moisture.

Thus, prevents the skin to breath “healthily” and finally cause the skin to potentially dry.




PFA and PFCs


PFAs and PFCs can cause birth defects, damage to the liver and the immune system.

PFC’s are water repellents.

PFA and PFC’s can be found in sunscreens, waterproof mascaras and eyeliners, and some hair product.



Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs)


PEGs are mainly used to thicken chemical formulations in creams.

However, PEGs can reduce the skin’s natural moisture.

PEGs are mainly found in cleansing products (face cleansing, body cleansing) as it serves to dissolve oil and grease.



Propylene Glycol (PG) & Butylene Glycol


Propylene Glycol & Butylene Glycol can especially be harmful for sensitive skins. They can penetrate the skin easily, irritate and cause contact dermatitis.







Phenoxyethanol can have many dangerous effects on human bodies: such as eczema and other severe allergic reactions.


Phenoxyethanol is used in many skincare products as a cheap preservative.





Phtalates is one of the ingredients that can be listed under the term “fragrance”.

Phtalates can disrupt hormones (such as reducing sperms in men, facilitating early puberty in girls and boys)

Moreover, phtalates can lead to cancer and diabetes.




Resorcinol can irritate the skin and disrupt the immune system function.

Resorcinol can be found in hair color products.



Siloxane (Silicones)

Siloxanes are actually derived from silicones which helps smooth the skin.

However, Siloxane can lead to endocrine disruption.

Siloxanes are generally found in moisturizing creams, lotions…



Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate can lead to stress, allergies and even cancer.

This chemical acts as a preservative and corrosion inhibitor.

It can also be found in the “fragrance” list.





Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)

SLS is the ingredient that makes the product foam and bubble.

However, SLS is very sensitizing to eyes and skin. It can lead to dermatitis, allergies and even cancer.

SLS is the product that is also used for car wash detergents and engine degreasers! (just imagine how can be irritating to the skin)







Talc is a mineral-based product.


However, it absorbs skin moisture and helps keep the skin dry. Plus, in the long-term run, it can lead to cancer and lung disease.


Talc can be found in baby powders and facial powders.








Toluene can result in headaches and cracked skin. Long exposure to toluene can lead to respiratory complications and even brain toxicity.


Toluene can be found in hair dyes and nail polishes.













Triclosan is a synthetic antibacterial agent that is mainly found in hand hanitizers and antibacterial soaps.


Triclosan can cause allergies, asthma, eczema and can disrupt the body’s endocrine system.

This agent is banned in several countries.


Triclosan can be found in mouth wash, soaps, toothpaste, deodorants….



Always check the ingredient lists whenever you are shopping! Be aware of the ingredients you are using, instead of synthetically made toxic formulas, use safe organic ones.






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