When you start getting more interested in what you put on your skin, as much as what you eat, you learn about the potentially harmful ingredients in many personal care products we use daily. Of course there is and there will still be a debate about the long-term effects of those ingredients, the amount that is safe to use and whether or not it stays on your skin or it is washed away etc. There will always be two schools of thought each with a different drive. What's important is for you to be aware of those ingredients and when you buy your product to make an informed choice. Become a conscious consumer.
We’ve compiled below a list of ingredients we avoid in the selection of our products, the reason why they are on our "toxic list 101" and how you can spot them on product labels. We encourage you as well to do your own research and learn more about those ingredients.
We will be regularly updating our list and providing more information on those ingredients in our blog. Ingredients are listed in alphabetical order
The Health Debate. Skin irritant; potential link to breast cancer; strong evidence of human neurotoxicity; respiratory and developmental toxin. Banned by EU.
Also listed on products label as. Aluminum Chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum hydroxybromide.
The Health Debate. There is moderate to strong evidence that Benzalkonium Chloride is an immune, skin, and respiratory toxicant, with laboratory tests hinting at mutative (carcinogenic) effects. The safety data sheet (MSDS) indicates Benzalkonium Chloride is a skin and eye irritant, and can be corrosive to both, with the amount of damage depending on the length of contact. Restricted in Japan and Canada.
Also listed on products label as. Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride; benzalkonium chloride solution; quaternary ammonium compounds, benzylcoco alkyldimethyl, chlorides; alkyl dimethylbenzyl ammonium chloride; alkyldimethyl (phenylmethyl) quaternary ammonium chlorides; ammonyx; arquad dmmcb-75; barquat mb-50; bayclean; benirol; benzalkonium a.
The Health Debate. Can cause cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity and irritation. Products containing benzophenone or benzophenone derivatives may cause redness, swelling, itching and fluid-filled blisters. In severe cases anaphylaxis may occur. In addition to allergic reactions, concerns have been raised about the relative ease of which benzophenones are absorbed into the skin and may promote generation of potentially harmful free radicals. Restricted in E.U. and U.S.
Also listed on products label as. Benzophenone, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, sulisobenzone sodium, and ingredients containing the word benzophenone.
The Health Debate . Synthetic colors from coal tar contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins in the skin causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Experimental studies have found that exposure to and application of coal tar produces skin tumors. Coal tar has also been associated with cancer of the lung, bladder, kidney and digestive tract. There have been many reports of skin cancer among patients using therapeutic coal-tar preparations. Banned in EU and Canada.
Also listed on products label as. Topical coal tar solution, solubilized coal tar extract, neutar solubilized coal tar extract. 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine, 2,4-diaminoanisole, 4-chloro-m-phenylenediamine, 2,4-toluenediamine, 2-nitro-p-phenylenediamine, 4-amino-2-nitrophenol, as they have been associated carcinogens, aminophenol, enylenediamine.
The Health Debate. Ethanolamines may increase risk of cancer, especially with repeated and prolonged use. The World Health Organization lists it as an unclassified carcinogen. Can cause organ system toxicity. DEA is banned in the EU.
Also listed on products label as. 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.
The Health Debate. This ingredient may also contain dangerous levels of dioxane, a by-product of manufacturing that is also carcinogenic. There have been some case reports of sensitive individuals developing eczema after using cream with tetrasodium EDTA, and it’s known to be a potent eye irritant. It can also be slow to degrade, making it a poor choice for environmental health.
Also listed on products label as. Tetrasodium EDTA, disodium EDTA, calcium disodium EDTA.
The Health Debate. Formaldehyde is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency following studies that concluded that effects can result in: cancer, causes allergic reactions and contact dermatitis; headaches; irritates mucous membranes; damaging to eyes; linked to joint and chest pain; depression; headaches; fatigue; dizziness and immune dysfunction. Another concerning aspect is that it is often released by other ingredients as a contaminant so it is often not actually listed as part of the ingredients. It is banned in Japan and Sweden. Restricted in the EU and Canada.
Also listed on products label as. Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxyethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal.
The Health Debate. Long-term use of the ingredient has been associated with contact dermatitis and decreased skin elasticity. It increases photosensitivity—your skin becomes more sensitive to UVA and UVB rays. The compound has also been linked with a condition called “ochronosis” in some people, which creates darkened bluish/gray patches on the skin, Some Hydroquinone creams may contain “sodium metabisulphite,” which is known to cause serious allergic reactions in sensitive people. Doctors caution pregnant women not to use hydroquinone. Banned in E.U., restricted in Canada and U.S.
Also listed on products label as. Hydroquinone
The Health Debate. Mercury and mercury compounds are a potential neurotoxin, may contribute to organ and developmental toxicity, renal failure, mental dementia, muscle tremors and may accumulate over time.
Also listed on products label as. Thimerosal. The FDA states that if a product contains any of the following ingredients to stop using it straight away: mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, mercurio, or mercury. Banned in Canada and EU.
The Health Debate. A potential neurotoxin, may cause developmental toxicity, is a skin irritant and can cause cell damage.
Also listed on products label as. 2-Methoxyethanol, Ethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether, or simply EGME
The Health Debate. MIT is an allergen and neurotoxin. a chemical used as a preservative in beauty and cleaning products that has been blamed for an "epidemic" of skin allergies. Dermatologists have linked it to a steep rise in cases of eczema and contact dermatitis and have said that it is second only to nickel in causing contact allergies. A recent study found the chemical may actually be linked to nerve damage. prolonged exposure to low levels of methylisothiazolinone (MIT) may have potentially damaging consequences to a developing nervous system. Two recent laboratory studies on rat brain cells stated “a brief exposure to methylisothiazolinone, a widely used industrial and household biocide, is highly toxic to cultured neurons….”. What was most concerning about this study was that the exposure was only 10 minutes long. Because of their widespread use, the consequences of chronic human exposure need to be evaluated. Canada drafted in May 2016 a new law to restrict its use. The European Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers (SCCNFP) suggested that companies limit the maximum concentration of MIT to 0.01 percent, or 100 parts per million (ppm). U.S. companies, however, are not required to follow this guideline.
The Health Debate. Mineral oil, also known as liquid paraffin, is derived from petroleum and cannot be synthesized by the skin. These ingredients block pores and diminish the skin's ability to breath and function. There is concern that the mineral oil we are exposed to on a daily basis may be contaminated with impurities that could affect our health. Restricted in the EU.
Also listed on products label as. mineral oil, liquid petroleum, paraffin, deobase; heavy mineral oil; light mineral oil; liquid paraffin; liquid petrolatum; paraffin oil; paraffin oils; paraffinum liquidum; petroleum white mineral oil; prolatum oil; white mineral oil.
The Health Debate. Parabens have displayed the ability to slightly mimic oestrogen (a hormone known to play a role in the development of breast cancer) and have been found in very small amounts in some breast cancer tumors. According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders. In 2004 British cancer researcher Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., found parabens present in malignant breast tumors. Watchdog organizations worry that if parabens can be stored in the body, over time they could have a cumulative effect and pose a health risk
Also listed on products label as. Benzylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben and ingredients ending in –paraben.
Phthalates are a frequent component of synthetic fragrances ('parfum'). In some countries, regulations do not require the listing of the individual, so it is not always easy to spot them.
The Health Debate. Phthalates have the ability to mimic human hormones and as such are endocrine disruptors compounds and can cause health problems: disrupt hormonal and reproductive systems, immune and developmental systems. They are possible carcinogen. Some forms are banned in the EU.
Also listed on products label as. Phthalate, diethylphthalate (DEP), dibutylphthalate (DBP), dimethylphthalate (DMP), DEHP and fragrance.
The Health Debate. Propylene glycol is one of the more common petrochemicals used in skincare products. However, it can be a skin irritant and can trigger eczema. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) have a penetration enhancing effect, and since it is a mixture of many other compounds, it is not desirable as it can help traffic many impurities and contaminants that can be linked to serious illness. PEG can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane which can cause cancer and other health issues.
Also listed on products label as. Propylene Glycol, PEG, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, PEG-80 sorbitan laurate, and PEG-40 stearate are mild cleansing agents. [1,2] PEG-100 stearate, 1,2 dihydroxypropane, methylethylene glycol.
The Health Debate. SLS & SLES are potential skin irritants and allergens. Most concerning is that it could be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of a common petrochemical process, which could cause cancer and birth defect. 1, 4 dioxane is banned in Canada.
Also listed on products label as. Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Sodium caprylic sulfate Sodium capric sulfate Sodium oleic sulfate, Sodium stearyl sulfate, Sodium myreth sulfate, Sodium dodecanesulfate, Sodium monododecyl sulfate, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS).
The Health Debate. Can Cause reproductive and developmental toxicity (when Polyacrylamide breaks down into a acrylamide, which is a carcinogen). Banned in E.U
Also listed on products label as. Polyacrylamide, acrylamide, polyacrylate, polyquaternium, and acrylate.
The Health Debate. Immune system toxicant; possible neurotoxin; can contain between 10 and 300 different chemicals, many of which have never been tested for safety; see phthalates. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis; respiratory destruction.
Also listed on products label as. 'Parfum' is often listed on other brands' product labels and can hide synthetic chemicals.
The Health Debate. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that overexposure to Toluene in nail polish or fingernail glue may cause harmful and potentially dangerous health effects.
Also listed on products label as:. Methylbenzene, Methyl benzol, Phenyl methane, Tolul
NO Triclosan and Triclocarban
The Health Debate. Animal studies have shown both of these chemicals can interfere with hormones critical for normal development and function of the brain and reproductive system. Triclosan has been associated with lower levels of thyroid hormone and testosterone, which could result in altered behavior, learning disabilities, or infertility. Triclocarban has been shown to artificially amplify the effects of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, which could promote the growth of breast and prostate cancer. Furthermore, laboratory studies suggest that triclosan and triclocarban may be contributing to antibiotic resistance in bacteria known to cause human infections. Surveys of the U.S. population from ages 6 to over 65 have found residues of triclosan in over three-quarters of people. Though triclosan has been measured in house dust, most people are likely to be exposed by applying products that contain triclosan to their skin. One study of nursing mothers found higher levels of triclosan in blood and breast milk of women who used personal care products containing triclosan. Restricted in Japan, Canada and US. Banned in EU.
Also listed on products label as. 2,4,4'-trichloro-2'-hydroxy diphenyl ether; 5-chloro-2- (2,4-dichlorophenoxy) - phenol; 5-chloro-2- (2,4-dichlorophenoxy) phenol; phenol, 5-chloro-2- (2,4-dichlorophenoxy) -; phenol, 5chloro2 (2,4dichlorophenoxy) ; 2,4,4'-trichloro-2'-hydroxydiphenyl ether; 5-chloro-2- (2,4-dichlorophenoxy) phenol; ch 3565; irgasan; irgasan dp300; phenol, 5-chloro-2- (2,4-dichlorophenoxy)