15 Toxic Ingredients To Avoid In Skincare Products

In the age of the internet and information sharing, we know how important it is to take care of our skin. Growing older brings about changes in the skin and often means being extra vigilant in what we put on our skin. However, with so much information out there, it can be challenging to decipher all of the complicated skincare formulas. We completely understand, so we've compiled a list of 15 toxic ingredients to steer clear of to help give your skin the best care possible. As you explore this list of skincare no-nos, you'll be surprised at what you should be looking out for (and avoiding!).

Why Non-Toxic Skincare?

When it comes to skincare products, avoiding toxic ingredients is incredibly important, not only for preserving the health of your skin but also for keeping your body away from harmful chemicals. While many store-bought skincare items can boast attractive benefits, they may also contain semi-poisonous substances that can lead to numerous adverse long-term side effects such as headaches, dizziness, and skin irritation. Not only that, but toxic ingredients from skincare products can accumulate in our bodies over time and cause even more severe health problems. It pays to be aware of the effects of toxic cosmetics and skincare ingredients and give your skin the best possible care by opting for non-toxic skincare products instead.

15 Toxic Ingredients To Avoid In Skincare Products

It's not always easy to tell what's in the products we're putting on our skin, but we can sometimes catch a glimpse of the ingredients on the label. While we're browsing for skincare items, it's essential to be mindful of the components that we should steer clear of. To help you identify the hazardous substances in your skincare products, here's a list of 15 common toxic ingredients to avoid in skincare products:

  1. Parabens: Parabens are a family of widely used preservatives in makeup and skincare products, from moisturizers to lotions and even some shampoos. Parabens such as iosbutylparaben and propylparaben have been linked to multiple health concerns, including possible hormonal disruption and even cancer. The effects of parabens on the body's hormone balance, DNA, and immune system are still being studied, so it's best not to take any risks and stay away from skincare products containing these ingredients.

  2. Triclosan: Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent commonly found in soaps, face washes, and even some deodorants. Although its germ-killing abilities are beneficial, recent research has linked triclosan to potentially shocking side effects on the endocrine system and hormone levels. As a result, it's recommended to avoid skincare products with this ingredient, as it could be potentially damaging to your long-term health.

  3. Benzophenone: Benzophenone is frequently used in skincare products such as moisturizers and foundations as a chemical sunscreen agent and a preservative to lengthen the product's shelf life. Unfortunately, it has been linked to interference with the endocrine system and hormone levels, putting your health at risk. Therefore, it's best to avoid any skincare products containing benzophenone.

  4. Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and are frequently seen in skincare and beauty products, usually listed as "fragrance." Although fragrance can be a pleasant addition to skincare, it could be masking the presence of phthalates, which is worth being aware of. Phthalates have been known to disrupt hormones, so it's best not to put products containing them on our skin. For this reason, you should prioritize fragrance-free skincare.

  5. Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a highly toxic ingredient, yet it is often seen in nail care products, soaps, and color cosmetics. This chemical is classified as a known human carcinogen, which means it has been found to increase your risk of cancer. It can also trigger some skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema. To be on the safe side, make sure your skincare regimen includes products that are free from formaldehyde.

  6. Sulfates: Sulfates are a group of chemicals commonly used in skin and hair care products because of their ability to create a lather. Despite their widespread use, sulfates have also been linked to skin irritation, dryness, and rougher textured skin. So, when looking for skincare products, read the labels carefully and opt for sulfate-free options.

  7. Petroleum: Petroleum is a substance we often find in cosmetics and skincare products, but what we might not know is that it can act as a barrier, blocking out beneficial nutrients and oxygen from our skin. Additionally, petroleum products are petroleum distillates, a byproduct of crude oil, which means they contain dangerous levels of environmental toxins. Therefore, look for skincare products that don't contain petroleum.

  8. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): PEG is an emulsifier and thickening agent in skincare products, including facial cleansers, lotions, and creams. This chemical can penetrate our skin, causing skin irritation, dryness, and sensitivity. In addition, it can also strip away natural oils from our skin and contribute to more serious side effects, including allergies or worse. It's best to steer clear of any skincare products containing PEG.

  9. Talc: Talc is a mineral often used in powders, eye shadows, and blushes to absorb oils and give a soft-touch feel to the skin. Unfortunately, talc can cause inflammation, skin irritation, and even ovarian cancer. To be safe, take time to thoroughly read labels and be aware of products containing talc.

  10. BHA & BHT: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluen (BHT) are chemical preservatives used in skincare and beauty products. According to research, these compounds can cause endocrine disruption and can even be carcinogenic. To protect your health, check the ingredient labels and avoid products containing BHA and BHT.

  11. Mineral Oils: Mineral oil is made up of a combination of petroleum-based chemicals such as paraffin and propane, and it is found in many skincare products. While it may feel great on the skin, as it has good emollient properties, it can't be metabolized, clogs pores, and strips away essential vitamins and other skin-loving nutrients. To keep your skin healthy, do not opt for skincare products that contain mineral oil.

  12. DEA: Diethanolamine (DEA) is a petroleum-based ammonia-producing ingredient used in cosmetics to give products a rich, foamy lather and creamy texture. Unfortunately, it's been linked to potential hormone disruption and even cancer. So, opt for skincare products with natural foaming and creamy alternatives, such as coconut and castile soaps, instead of DEA-containing products.

  13. Synthetic Colors: Those eye-catching colors we find in our makeup and skincare products might be more than just interesting to look at— some synthetic colors have been known to irritate the skin. Some have even been linked to cancer. Therefore, be mindful and choose natural alternatives whenever possible.

  14. Lead: You might not expect to find lead in your makeup or skincare products, but unfortunately, it is sometimes present in lipsticks, foundations, face powders, mascaras, eyeliners, and other cosmetics. It is an especially harmful toxin, especially for small children, and has been linked to numerous health problems, including brain, kidney, and reproductive damage. Therefore, when shopping for skincare or beauty products, steer clear of labels that include lead.

  15. Phenoxyethanol: Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in many skincare products and fragrances, and as its name suggests, it helps prevent the growth of bacteria and molds in cosmetics. Unfortunately, it has also been known to cause eye, skin, and lung irritation. Over time, this chemical may also compromise the body's immune system and harm endocrine health, so avoiding skincare items containing it is best.

If you come across any of these ingredients in your skincare products, it's likely in your best interest to look for something else.

Other Ingredients To Avoid In Skincare

Besides the common (yet toxic!) ingredients that we've discussed above, there are other chemicals and compounds out there that should be avoided to preserve your long-term health. Some of these are dimethicone, retinyl palmitate, PVP/VA copolymer, hydroquinone, oxybenzone, and thimerosal. When selecting a new skincare product, greater safety levels can be achieved by opting for products labeled as non-toxic.

The Final Verdict

At the end of the day, taking care of our skin is incredibly important and should be done with reasonable caution. As you explore skincare products, take the time to read the labels carefully and keep an eye out for the 15 toxic ingredients we've mentioned— and any others that could be potentially damaging. Choosing non-toxic skincare is the best way to care for your skin and ensure long-term health. Your skin will thank you for it!