Top Toxic Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

In order to biohack your skincare, you must first remove any ingredients that are polluting your body. Our skin is the first line of defense to the outside world.  If we're putting toxic ingredients directly onto our skin, these toxins end up in our bloodstream and cause damage to our healthy cells.  

1.     Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Parabens & Parahydroxybenzoate: 
Used as a preservative to inhibit microbial growth and extend shelf life. Unfortunately, it can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes. Medical research has linked parabens to human breast cancer as well as been found in newborn babies blood. Yuck! There is a gradual phase out of parabens occurring in the natural skin care industry. Simultaneously we will continue to see the emergence of natural, nontoxic preservatives that are both safe and effective.

2.  Phthalates: Used in color cosmetics, fragranced lotions, body washes hair care products and nail polish. Linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity. 

3.  Diazolidinyl  &  Imidazolidinyl Urea:  Used as an antiseptic and preservative in cosmetics. It may release formaldehyde, known to be highly toxic.   The American Academy of Dermatology recognizes it as a cause of contact dermatitis. Formaldehyde release is a hazard of this chemical.

4.  Diethanolamine (DEA): Extensively used for its emulsifying and foaming properties, and PH adjusters. Found in cleansers, body wash, and moisturizers. Highly toxic ingredient associated with cancer, allergic reactions, eye irritation.  

5.  Triethanolamine(TEA): Found in cleansers acts as a fragrance, PH adjuster, and emulsifying agent.  There is high sensitivity to its use. Prolonged contact is particularly irritating. Linked to cancer and tumors in humans and lab animals. 

6.   Petrolatum:  Also known as petroleum jelly. Purified petroleum is common to moisturizers and other cosmetic products. It seals the skin and prevents moisture evaporation. It can smooth and moisturize the skin, but often has the opposite effect and cause allergic reactions and clog pores. 

7.   Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: A common surfactant that creates foam and suds in most cleansers. It is drying and often irritating to skin. Associated with eczema. The Journal of the American College of Toxicology states this chemical has a "degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties" and that "high levels of skin penetration may occur at even low use concentration." The CIR Expert Panel is reassessing it for safety.

8.  Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) & butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT):  are used as an antioxidant and preservative in lip products, hair products, make-up sunscreen, deodorants, creams.  These chemicals are linked to several health concerns such as endocrine disruption, organ-system toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer, and dermatitis and skin irritation. 

9.  Homosalates: widely used chemical in sunscreens and SPF lotions.  It's a potential endrocrine and disruptor and adversely affect hormones.  May also enhance absorption of pesticides in the body. Choose sunscreens formulated with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. 

8.   Synthetic colors and dyes:  These are categorized as either D&C-- Unlike most ingredients used by the industry, synthetic colors are regulated by the FDA. Yet, most are derived from coal tar, a common allergen.  Of greater significance is the association of coal tar and cancer. Most all coal tars cause cancer when subcutaneously injected in lab mice. In fact, many formerly approved colors are now banned in the US because of recognized carcinogenic properties.

9.   Synthetic Fragrances: There may be up to 200 ingredients encompassed by the term "fragrance". Furthermore, manufactures are not required to disclose actual ingredients in their formulas. They receive protection for such proprietary formulas. Reactions to fragrance in personal care include: coughing, dizziness, headaches, hyper-pigmentation, rash, skin irritation, and vomiting.