**15 Toxic Ingredients in Skin Care & Cosmetics Products**

**15 Toxic Ingredients in Skin Care & Cosmetics Products**

With countless skin care and cosmetics products available, choosing healthy and beneficial options for your skin can be challenging. The long-term effects of many ingredients are still debated, with some banned in other countries and restricted in the U.S. The skin, being a sensitive organ, absorbs substances applied to it. To ensure what you use is safe, look for labels like "USDA Organic Certified" and always read the ingredients. Familiarize yourself with toxic ingredients and use apps like EWG's "Healthy Living" for instant toxicity ratings.

Here are 15 toxic ingredients to avoid, some of which are banned or restricted in the E.U. and other countries but are still common in U.S. products:

1. **1, 4 - Dioxane**
- **Also Known As**: Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Sodium Laureate Sulfate, PEG. Not listed as a separate ingredient but appears as "eth", polyethylene glycol, polyoxynylene, oxynol.
- **Found In**: 22% of petroleum-based cosmetics, lotions, soaps, shampoos, cleansers, and products that create suds. EWG reported that 46% of products tested contained 1,4 Dioxane.
- **Why Avoid**: Human carcinogen causing cancer and birth defects.
- **Regulations**: Banned in Canada, PEG banned in E.U., classified in California as a cancer-causing substance.

2. **Artificial Colors & Coal Tar Dye**
- **Also Known As**: p-phenylenediamine, “CI”+number, “FD&C”+number, “D&C”+number.
- **Found In**: Extensively used in cosmetics and especially hair dyes.
- **Why Avoid**: Human carcinogens linked to cancer, brain toxicity, skin irritation, and environmental toxicity.
- **Regulations**: Coal Tar is banned in E.U., p-phenylenediamine classified as toxic in E.U.

3. **Benzophene**
- **Also Known As**: Benzophenone, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, sulisobenzone sodium, and ingredients containing the word benzophenone.
- **Found In**: Chemical sunscreens, nail polish, lip treatments, foundations, moisturizers, and fragrances.
- **Why Avoid**: Linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity, irritation, and environmental toxicity.
- **Regulations**: Restricted in E.U. and U.S.

4. **BHA & BHT**
- **Also Known As**: Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene.
- **Found In**: Lip treatments, color cosmetics, and fragrances, used as preservatives.
- **Why Avoid**: Causes endocrine disruption, organ-system toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer, and irritation. Harmful to wildlife.
- **Regulations**: BHA banned in E.U.

5. **DEA Related Ingredients**
- **Also Known As**: Ethanolamine Compounds, Triethanolamine, diethanolamine, DEA, TEA, cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide DEA, linoleamide MEA, myristamide DEA, oleamide DEA, stearmide MEA, and TEA-lauryl sulfate.
- **Found In**: Moisturizers, shaving creams, color cosmetics, and fragrances.
- **Why Avoid**: Causes cancer, bioaccumulation, organ system toxicity, skin & eye irritation.
- **Regulations**: DEA banned in E.U.

6. **Formaldehyde**
- **Also Known As**: Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxyethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol (bromopol), and glyoxal.
- **Found In**: Soaps, body wash, nail polish, nail hardener, hair treatments, and color cosmetics.
- **Why Avoid**: Causes cancer, skin irritation, and sensitization.
- **Regulations**: Banned in Japan and Sweden, restricted in E.U. and Canada.

7. **Hydroquinone**
- **Also Known As**: Hydroquinone or tocopheryl acetate.
- **Found In**: Cleansers, skin lighteners, and moisturizers.
- **Why Avoid**: Causes cancer, organ-system toxicity, and respiratory tract irritation.
- **Regulations**: Banned in E.U., restricted in Canada and U.S.

8. **Parabens**
- **Also Known As**: Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and ingredients ending in –paraben.
- **Found In**: Cleansers, moisturizers, body washes, and body scrubs.
- **Why Avoid**: Causes endocrine disruption, cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity.
- **Regulations**: Some forms banned in Denmark.

9. **Parfume (AKA Fragrance)**
- **Also Known As**: Complex mixture of over 3000 chemicals used as fragrance.
- **Found In**: Majority of cosmetics and personal care products, including "unscented" ones, perfumes, colognes, deodorants, shampoo, soaps, lotions.
- **Why Avoid**: Triggers allergies & asthma, linked to cancer and neurotoxicity, harmful to wildlife.
- **Regulations**: Fragrance recipes are trade secrets in the U.S. E.U. restricts many fragrance ingredients and requires warning labels for products containing any of 26 common allergens.

10. **Petroleum-By-Products & Mineral Oil**
- **Also Known As**: Petroleum jelly, petrolatum, liquid paraffin, Vaseline.
- **Found In**: Moisturizers, lotions, lip treatments, cosmetics, baby products, hair products.
- **Why Avoid**: Human carcinogen, linked to cancer and estrogen dominance, cannot be metabolized.
- **Regulations**: E.U. restricts use if the refining history is unknown and the substance is a carcinogen.

11. **Phenoxyethanol**
- **Also Known As**: Phenoxyethanol, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Euxyl K 400 (mixture of Phenoxyethanol and 1, 2-dibromo-2, 4-dicyanobutane), PhE.
- **Found In**: Moisturizers, lip treatments, color cosmetics, hand lotion, body washes, and soaps.
- **Why Avoid**: Causes allergies and nervous system effects.
- **Regulations**: Restricted in E.U.

12. **Phthalates**
- **Also Known As**: Phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP, and fragrance.
- **Found In**: Nail polish, color cosmetics, moisturizers, and body washes.
- **Why Avoid**: Causes endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer.
- **Regulations**: Some forms banned in E.U.

13. **Polyacrylamides**
- **Also Known As**: Polyacrylamide, acrylamide, polyacrylate, polyquaternium, acrylate.
- **Found In**: Moisturizers, anti-aging products, color cosmetics, body lotions.
- **Why Avoid**: Causes reproductive and developmental toxicity when broken down into acrylamide, a carcinogen.
- **Regulations**: Banned in E.U.

14. **Siloxane**
- **Also Known As**: Cyclomethicone, ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone”, D3, D4, D5, and D6.
- **Found In**: Silicone-based products, "oil-free" makeup, hair and cosmetic products.
- **Why Avoid**: Endocrine disruptor, reproductive toxicant, cancer risk, affects neurotransmitters, harmful to wildlife.
- **Regulations**: No restrictions in cosmetics in the U.S., D4 and D5 deemed hazardous in E.U.

15. **Triclosan**
- **Found In**: Antibacterial products like hand soap, antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers, hand sanitizers, toothpaste, mouthwash.
- **Why Avoid**: Endocrine disruptor, irritating to skin & eyes, harmful to wildlife, may contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, higher food allergy risk.
- **Regulations**: Restricted use in Canada and E.U., banned in Minnesota from 2017.

**To Summarize**

**READ THE LABELS!** It’s not enough that a brand claims to be "all natural" or "fragrance-free"—look for certifications, preferably the green & white USDA Certified Organic emblem. Avoid artificially colored cosmetics and synthetic fragrances. Switching to safer beauty products may alleviate allergy and health issues. Our extensive "toxic list" can help you make informed choices for healthier skin care and cosmetic products.