LIST OF INGREDIENTS TO AVOID
THE DIRTY DOZEN:
(thank you to Matty Hales for this)
❌Parabens (Isobutylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben) - they are preservatives, bad because they mimic oestrogen and thus disrupt the endocrine system, can irritate skin and cause dermatitis etc, can increase skin ageing, cause fertility problems❌Synthetic fragrance/ Parfum - this is a dangerous one because companies hide other ingredients behind the word ‘fragrance or parfum’ in the labels - these are often also hormone disrupters too, along with other nasties❌Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP), often found in synthetic fragrance, nail varnish, hairspray, class of plasticising chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin, also disrupt endocrine system and may cause birth defects, have been linked to damage of kidneys, lungs, and liver❌Sodium Lauryl/ laureth sulfate (SLS and SLES), often found in anything that foams; shampoo, body wash, face wash, hand soap, toothpaste, bubble bath, is a foaming agent and breaks down water in grease, so powerful is is also used in concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash detergents.. skin irritant, rapidly absorbed and retained in the eyes, brain, heart, liver, can trigger skin allergies❌Petroleum/ Paraffin/ Mineral Oil - found in baby oil, lip balm (Vaseline!), lip gloss, mascara, moisturisers, concealer, foundation, face powder, hair gel, eye shadow, paraffin treatments, petroleum jelly, hair conditioner - a petrochemical pollutant derived from crude oil, seals the skin off creating a barrier which feels slick but doesn’t allow skin to breath, which is essential for proper functioning, ultimately slows down skin function and normal cell development, resulting in premature aging and many other health and skin disorders such as dermatitis❌ Formaldehyde, found in nail polish, shampoo, body wash, eyelash glue, hair products, it often won’t be listed as formaldehyde, it hides behind ingredient names such as - quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-Brion-2-nitropropane-1, 3 diol (Bronopol), glycoxal and oxaldehyde. Recognised carcinogen, permeates through inhalation. Very toxic. It’s banned in cosmetics in Sweden and japan❌ Hydroquine❌Mercury (Thimerosal and Merthiolate), found in ear and eye drops and mascara, metallic element used as a preservative and antiseptic known to damage brain function❌Propylene Glycol - found in cosmetics, baby wipes, lotion, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant - central nervous system damage, heart, liver damage, used in antifreeze solutions, in brake and hydraulic fluids, as de iced and as a solvent. No difference between industry and cosmetic. Allergic reactions, hives and eczema❌ Triclosan - found in anti-bacteria products such as soap, hand sanitiser, deo, toothpaste, cosmetics - endocrine disruptor and enables bacteria to become antibiotic resistant. The CDC states it is found in 75% of the populations blood. The American medical association advises against antibacterial hand soap at home to prevent the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial pesticides are toxic to the aquatic environment, and impact human reproductive systems❌ Coal Tar Dyes (Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine) - found in hair dye, shampoo - produces synthetic colour and acts as anti dandruff, known carcinogens and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain, common cause of skin sensitivity / irritation❌ BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) - found in lipsticks, moisturisers, nappy creams, etc - synthetic antioxidants used as a preservative to extend shelf life, likely carcinogens, may disrupt hormones, as well as cause liver, thyroid and kidney problemsOthers:BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE
Found in: sunscreens, moisturisers
A disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation and allergies.
Found in: personal care products, soap, nail polishes
A possible human carcinogen and hormone disruptor used as a fragrance ingredient and to absorb ultraviolet light.
BISPHENOL A (BPA)
Found in: plastic bottles, lining of aluminium food cans, possibly in eyeshadow and styling gel
A hormone disruptor that may also alter DNA, used in plastics and resins.
Found in: fragrance, hair colour
A solvent used to control viscosity, or a “fragrance” additive. It irritates skin and may cause cancer and reproductive toxicity. (See also Synthetic Fragrance)
Found in: mineral powder makeup
While this may not be a truly toxic ingredient, it is an irritant to about 80% of people causing irritation and sensitisation such as redness, itching, rashes and inflammation. Because of its molecular crystalline shape, many people experience itching from this ingredient, particularly when they sweat.
Found in: cosmetics with reddish dyes and colourings
It’s an insect based ingredient. Crushed beetles to be specific. Companies use it for colour instead of other FD & C, Coal Tar derived ingredients which are considered toxic. Vegans and those with allergies or sensitivities to insects and/or their bites should steer clear of items containing carmine.
CYCLOMETHICONE AND DIMETHICONE
Found in: skin care, foundation, tinted moisturiser
Ingredients Cyclomethicone or those ending in -siloxane are known endocrine disrupters which can harm reproductive and immune systems. They have the potential to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms. Dimethicone contains residual amounts of -siloxane toxic ingredients.
DIAZOLIDINYL UREA AND IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA
Found in: skin, body and hair products, antiperspirants and nail polish
These formaldehyde-forming preservatives can cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pain, chronic fatigue, dizziness, insomnia and asthma. They can also weaken the immune system and can even cause cancer.
DEA, MEA AND TEA (DIETHANOLAMINE, COCAMIDE AND TRIETHANOLAMINE)
Found in: in most personal care products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers. Also in hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint.
Ingredients which are linked with kidney, liver, and other organ damage according to several government-funded research studies. They can cause hormone disruption, irritation of the eyes, skin, respiratory tract, sore throat, asthma and allergic contact dermatitis. surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited foetal brain development.
EDTA (ETHYLENEDIAMINETETRAACETIC ACID)
Found in: hair colour, moisturisers
A binding agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs.
METHYL CELLOSOLVE (OR METHOXYETHANOL)
Found in: anti-ageing creams
Fragrance ingredient and solvent that is an irritant and a possible neurotoxin, developmental toxin, and cause of DNA mutations that could lead to cancer.
METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE AND METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE
Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash
A chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitisers and causes of contact skin allergies.
Found in: sunscreen, moisturisers, foundation and lipsticks with SPF
Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitisation and allergies, and possible hormone disruption.
Found in: cosmetics, skin care and hair care
This ingredient is widely used as a preservative and an alternative to parabens. It’s still a controversial ingredient because isn’t of major concern for most people, though some do have skin, eye or throat reactions to it. The EU considers this toxic when used in products for the mouth area.
POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL (PEG COMPOUNDS)
Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, foaming cleansers, creams, sunscreen
Used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. It’s purpose is to dissolve oil and grease. PEG’s can strip the natural oils of the skin leaving the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially carcinogenic. A by-product of manufacturing that is a probable human carcinogen (a known animal carcinogen) as well as toxic to organs and the respiratory system, and a skin irritant. Likely to be present where ethoxylated ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate, PEGs, and ceteareth are listed on ingredient labels.
Found in: hairspray and cosmetics
Petroleum derived and considered toxic.
Found in: hair colour
A colorant and fragrance ingredient that is a skin irritant, toxic to the immune system and organs, and suspected to cause hormone disruption.
RETINYL PALMITATE AND RETINOL (VITAMIN A)
Found in: anti-ageing and blemish control skin care
A nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumours when used topically. Reports are very mixed on this topic though.
Found in: cosmetics
Used to make cosmetics “pretty,” synthetic colours, along with synthetic hair dyes, should be avoided as many can be carcinogenic. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a colour and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6.
Found in: cosmetic powders, eyeshadow, blush, baby powder
Its particles are similar to asbestos and data suggests that it can cause tumours in the lungs as probable respiratory toxin in large amounts.
Found in: nail polish
A volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can cause birth defects.