You may have heard common ingredients found in conventional skincare products can actually be very harmful to your health, contributing to a variety of commonly seen health issues like allergies, eczema, hormonal disruption, and even worse.. cancer. Yep, that’s some scary stuff. However, you can keep your skin healthy and clean by avoiding these toxic ingredients.
Our skin is the largest and one of the most important organs to the body, it can absorb up to 60% of what is applied to it and therefore, it should be treated with care -- which is why we need to be mindful of what we are putting on it! Thanks to our advanced modern society that produces studies and researches virtually everything and anything out there, we have been able to discover which skincare ingredients are actually toxic to us. Unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate skincare products, meaning these companies can develop products using toxic ingredients and sometimes not even have to label it! That’s why it's important to always read and understand your labels, and should be the first step in choosing any product that is applied to your skin or inhaled. So how do you know what ingredients to avoid? We’ve rounded up the top nasty chemicals to be on the lookout for to make your life a little easier:
8 scary ingredients to avoid at all costs
- Aluminum: a toxic metal that disrupts the endocrine system.
- Parabens: a very common preservative that can contribute to hormonal imbalances.
- Ethanolamines (DEA, MEA, TEA): found in everything from cleansers, to soaps, makeup, hair products, fragrances, and the like. These scary chemicals are said to have cancer causing effects, which have been linked to liver tumors and organ system toxicity.
- Formaldehyde: a flammable gas used to preserve skincare and cosmetic products with short-term effects from skin issues, watery eyes and burning nose to long-lasting implications like cancer. This ingredient has officially been classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and one to always avoid.
- Mineral oil: another common ingredient found in virtually every type of skin product. It has been linked to a variety of health concerns, the most concerning include reproductive and developmental toxicity, allergies, immunotoxicity and even worse cancer.
- Phthalates: these chemicals are so widely used because they act as softeners in personal care products and can be used in virtually any product. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive birth defects, breast cancer and are known to disrupt the endocrine system.
- Fragrances: first and foremost, this ingredient offers no functional purpose to skincare products, yes it may add a fresh scent to your favourite products but it surely isn’t doing your skin any favours! That’s because fragrances are a chemically made scent that tend to be made up of other harmful ingredients like parabens, or aldehydes which are known to cause cancer. Fragrance additives are most often linked to commonly seen health problems: from asthma, to allergies, and skin irritations like itching, burning, swelling and even hives. Those with sensitive skin should avoid this ingredient at all costs to prevent any potential reactions.
- Alcohol: this additive is nearly impossible to avoid in many types of conventional skincare products and it can seriously harm your skin’s protective barrier leading to enlarged pores, oily/dry unbalanced skin and can contribute to the unwanted effects of aging. However, there are good and bad alcohols; the bad ones you want to look out for include: methanol, propanol, isopropyl alcohol, and benzyl alcohol. This ingredient may not be as harmful as the rest, but it can certainly promote aging and destroy the skin’s natural barrier, which is the opposite of what we’re looking for in a skincare product.