Top 15 Chemicals to Avoid in Skin Care


Skin care products are full of toxins and chemicals. Even some “natural” products are full of chemicals. You need to watch out for these in the ingredients lists.

Chemicals and toxins are absorbed into your body. While your body does attempt to remove the toxins, they can because of an issue with your organs. They also affect your cells, leading to signs of aging and health complications. Chemicals will imbalance your hormones, meaning your natural oil production is affected. Your Skin can become dry, inflamed, and irritated.

There are certain chemicals and toxins worse than others. Here’s a look at the top 15 chemicals you need to avoid in your skin care products.

Cut Out the BHT or BHA

Whether it’s written on the ingredients list as BHT or BHA, you want to avoid it. This chemical is used to lighten the skin, but it’s also considered a carcinogenic. Yes, it causes cancer.

There have been various studies that show just how bad this chemical is. Animals exposed to it have developed liver damage, stomach cancer, and reproductive organ damage. It’s so bad that Europe has banned the chemical.

Sure, the chemical helps to improve the skin tone, but there are many other better ways to do it. Look out for natural ingredients with some citric acid and vitamin C. Avoid lemons but investigate the use of tomato juice or potato juice to get rid of dark circles and age spots.

Watch Out for the Boric Acid

Also known as sodium borate, this chemical is linked to infertility in men. It’s one of those that affect the hormones in the body, leading to low sperm count. It’s regularly used in diaper creams, despite it being one of the easiest chemicals to absorb into the body.

It’s supposed to help heal wounds. Instead, it causes hormonal issues, and it can cause some skin irritation depending on the amount that is used. To make matters worse, the cosmetic industry makes a note that boric acid is unsafe for infant use, yet American companies continue to use it in their diaper creams.

This is another ingredient banned in Europe. It is also banned in Canada.

Skip Coal Tar in Hair Dyes

Watch out for coal tar in your hair dyes and any shampoos for psoriasis and dandruff. This is a common chemical, as it’s supposed to help improve the state of the skin. What it does is affect the cells, making your skin worse.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has found in research that this is a chemical that is linked to various cancers.

One of the problems is you won’t find “coal tar” on the ingredients lists. You’ll see it listed as diaminobenzene, phenylenediamine, or aminophenol.

Watch Out for Formaldehyde

This should sound like the obvious. Formaldehyde is one of those ingredients that we know deep down is bad for us. It’s a poison. There’s this belief that it won’t damage the body if used in skin care products. The body will absorb the poison through the skin and into the blood stream.

Formaldehyde affects the brain, stunting growth and development in children. It has been linked to asthma and cancers.

But it’s not just formaldehyde itself that you need to look out for. You need to look out for chemicals that release formaldehyde into the skin. These will cause the same problems as above and are also linked to allergic skin reactions.

Avoid the likes of quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl urea, methenamine, and the most common DMDM Hydantoin.

Unfortunately, some of these chemicals are hidden in “fragrance” or “parfums.” We’ll move onto them soon.

Don’t Bother with PEG Compounds

Propylene glycols, polyoxyethylene, and polyethylene glycols are ingredients that do not belong in your skin care products. In fact, you want to avoid anything that has oxynol or eth at the end of them. Most of them are known as PEG compounds.

All these products are petroleum-based compounds. The compounds dry out the skin and make some conditions worse. The FDA also says that the PEG compounds cause cancer.

Avoid Anything with Mercury

You may not even think that skin care products will contain this dangerous and poisonous metal, but they do. You will usually find the ingredients list Mercurio, calomel, or mercurio chloride.

Mercury is commonly used in small amounts, but little is still too much. You may already get too much from the fish that you eat, depending on the type and amount of fish that you get in your diet.

The mercury is supposed to lighten the skin. You’ll find the ingredient in most brighteners or some pigmentation improvement products. Like with BHT/BHA there are plenty of better options to improve the look of your skin.

Avoid Anything with Hydroquinone

It’s common to think hydroquinone is good for you. Hydro tends to be included in anything with water or moisture. Well, it’s not something you want in your skin care products.

While the chemical is used to lighten the skin, it leads to a skin disease known as ochronosis. You’ll see blue and black lesions forming on the skin, and if you keep using the chemical, you will find that these lesions become permanent. You may also find you have some skin irritation and inflammation.

Some studies in animals have also found tumor growths due to the use of the chemical. More studies are needed to see just how bad the chemical is and what it can do to humans.

Skip Sunscreens with Oxybenzone

A lot of chemically created sunscreens that you get in the store will include oxybenzone. The chemical is supposed to absorb UV light to make sure it doesn’t affect your skin. The idea is that absorbing the rays will prevent the skin cells being affected.

However, the chemical has been linked to skin irritation. The top layers of the skin are affected by the drying toxin and the absorbed rays. You may find that you have more allergic reactions.

On top of this, the chemical has shown problems with hormones in animals through studies. The hormonal activity is affected, which can lead to both physical and mental problems.

Keep a Look Out for Triclosan

If you use a lot of hand sanitizers or antibacterial hand products, you’ll usually see an ingredient called triclosan. This is also a chemical found in toothpaste and deodorants. All these products make it very easy for all ingredients to absorb into the body.

Triclosan affects the reproductive and thyroid hormones. It can cause infertility and metabolic issues.

Another major issue is that there are no studies that show these antibacterial products are that effective. They can cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria, making them do more harm than good! It could be better for you to wash with just good old warm, soapy water.

Choose Paraben-Free Products

Parabens are found in most of skin care products out there. They’re common in soaps, body washes, shampoos, makeup, and even baby products. Those that don’t include parabens will make a point of marketing that since there are now so many people looking out for paraben-free products.

Parabens are linked to a variety of health problems. They affect the hormonal balance, meaning your oil production is disrupted. This can cause either dry or oily skin; both cause more acne and irritation.

The parabens mimic your estrogen, which means your whole reproductive system. There is a high chance of developing female cancers due to this. Other issues include developmental disorders and infertility.

It can be hard to avoid parabens as they have so many named. Look out for butylparaben, methylparaben, isopropylparaben, or isobutylparaben.

 You Don’t Need a Fragrance

That “fragrance” in your skin care products is not good. Sure, it helps to add a scent, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

If you see “fragrance” or “parfum” on your ingredient list, you’re going to find thousands of chemicals added to the mixture. Yes, thousands that you have no idea about. You see, the companies don’t have to include every single ingredient in the fragrances or parfums. These recipes are “trade secrets,” which is how they get away with it.

Most fragrances and parfums are linked to allergic reactions, breathing problems, asthmas, and cancers. You’ll have no idea which fragrances are going to cause which problems, since you don’t know exactly which chemicals are included in there.

By the way, even the “unscented” products can include fragrances. Check the ingredients list before you even consider buying them.

Get Rid of Phthalates

Phthalate is commonly found in the “fragrances,” but they can also be included by themselves on skin care products. You need to avoid phthalates due to the risk to your reproductive health and the increased risk of breast cancer. There are also risks to your babies, as phthalates have been linked to congenital disabilities and early breast development.

Phthalates tend to be included in the bottles and packaging, so they may be left off all ingredients lists. They help to make the plastics soft and flexible to use your skin care products.

If they are on the ingredients list, you’ll find them as dimethyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate, and diethyl phthalate.

Get Rid of the Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

Whether it’s written as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, you want to avoid the chemical from your ingredients list. This is commonly found in cleansers, shampoos, and soaps, and it tends in contain 1,4-dioxane. It’s the 1,4-dioxane that’s the biggest issue, as it’s carcinogenic.

The sodium lauryl sulfate also contains ethylene oxide, which has been linked to the nervous system. It has been linked to developmental issues in adults and children.

You’ll know just by looking at the product if it potentially contains this chemical. It’s used to create a foamy lather—yes, it’s in your toothpaste too!

Watch Out for the Retinol

This is a difficult one, as retinol can sometimes be good for you. However, you want to get it in your diet and not through your skin care products. It’s a form of vitamin A and is good for improving the collagen production in your skin. Collagen is needed to help keep the elasticity of the skin, which will help you avoid tears and scars.

The problem for your skin is that the retinol is broken down by sunlight. The retinol then creates free radicals in your skin, which then leads to a higher risk of skin cancer. Even if it’s not skin cancer, you will be at an increased risk of signs of aging.

Watch out for retinal palmitate in your products too. This is a form of retinol and is used in sunscreens. It’s a wonder why it’s used in a product that is designed to protect the skin from sun damage!

Check Sunscreens for Benzophenone

Finally, look out for benzophenone in your sunscreens. You should look out for it in other skin products too, but you will usually find it in sunscreens. It is supposed to absorb the UV light from the sun so that UV light can’t burn your skin. But since it absorbs the light, it can lead to more cell damage and higher cancer risk.

There are also risks of inflammation and irritation of the skin. The UV light is being absorbed and held onto. That can cause problems with the upper layers of your skin.

This chemical is also drying, causing further irritation and issues.

Make Sure Your Skin Care Products Are Good for You

It’s time to avoid all the damaging chemicals from your skin care products. It is surprising just how many dangerous chemicals are added to skin care products. Some of these are banned in parts of the world but are still added to American products. Check the ingredients and only buy the products that you know are good for your skin.

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