Eight Toxic Ingredients To Avoid

Millions of cosmetics and beauty products are used each day globally. Contrary to most peoples believe in safety of cosmetic products, even from the most reputed companies, many of these products contain toxic ingredients that may cause serious affects to your health, such as cancer. The best way to avoid these potentially hazardous ingredients is to use products that free of these chemicals.
The following are the eight toxic chemicals that you should avoid when buying or using cosmetic products.


This substance is used in hair products to shine hair and on cosmetics to moisture skin. Petrolatum is also known by name like petroleum jelly, mineral oil, paraffin, paraffin oil, paraffin wax. This gelatinous substance, is derived from crude oil, can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during manufacturing process and may have known or potential carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects. Manufacturers use petrolatum as an emollient because of it’s extremely low cost. The European Union actually classifies Petroleum as a potential carcinogen has banned petrolatum from use in cosmetics. Environment Canada also classifies the substance as a possible carcinogen, a possible mutagen, and a suspected environmental toxin.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This chemical is commonly used in cosmetics, shampoos, bath, and shower products as an emulsifying and foaming agent. Products containing this substance may lead to eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions. It is also listed on the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List as a "suspected environment toxin."


It is derived from petroleum and is commonly used in many skin care products and cosmetics as a chemical preservative. It is used as inhibitors of microbial growth that lengthen the shelf life of the product. This chemical may cause many allergic reactions and skin rashes. It is also a suspected endocrine disruptor that may cause breast cancer and interfere with male reproductive problems.


It is usually listed as ‘synthetic fragrance’, 'fragrance', or 'parfum'. This substance is commonly used in cosmetics and can consist of as many as 200 chemical ingredients. 95% of these ingredients are synthetic derivatives of petroleum. It is not possible to know what these chemical ingredients are as federal law only requires the word ‘fragrance’ to be listed but not the detailed list. Some of these hazardous cosmetic ingredients can cause headaches, dizziness, rash, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and/or skin disorders. Some even linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.

Propylene Glycol (PG)

This chemical is derived from petroleum and also known as PG, Proptylene Glycol, 1,2-dihydroxypropane, 1,2-propanediol, methyl glycol, and trimethyl glycol. This colorless, odorless liquid is commonly used in shampoo, body lotion, deodorant, suntan lotion and cosmetics as a penetration-enhancer. According to the EPA, this chemical is extremely toxic and should avoid contact with skin. Large amounts of propylene glycol on the skin may cause skin irritation, inflammation, rashes, breathing problems, allergic and toxic reactions.

Polyethylene glycols (PEG)

It is better known by its acronym, PEG. PEG is a class of ethylene glycol polymers derived from petroleum. They are commonly used as thickeners, softeners and moisture-carriers for many lotions, shampoos, and skin creams. When this chemical is contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, it may effects the nervous system as well as the interfere with human development.

Diethanolamines (DEA)

This chemical is an emulsifier and/or foaming agent that gives some cosmetics their creamy texture. It is used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers, sunscreen lotions and shampoos. DEA can irritate skin if left on the skin or around sensitive areas like the eyes or mouth. High dosages of this chemical may cause cancer in the liver, skin, and thyroid.


It is used to preserve cosmetics such as shampoos, lotions, facials creams and body soaps. Formaldehyde, often referred to as formalin, may also be slowly released by several chemical preservatives like DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. This preservative can be absorbed into the skin and cause allergic reactions, headaches, asthma and even cancer. Its use in cosmetics is banned in Japan and Sweden. Environmental Working Group (EWG) lists it as a known human carcinogen, skin and lung sensitizer, gastrointestinal or liver toxicant and neurotoxin.

Synthetic Color

Many cosmetic suppliers use synthetic colors to improve the “look” of their products. Each synthetic color may be made of up to 50 synthetic chemicals. These chemicals may have harmful effects to your skin and body likes rashes, skin allergic and may even cause cancer. Consumers should avoid using cosmetics that contains synthetic colors at all costs. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, synthetic colors such as Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2 and Green 3 are identified as potential cancer-causing agents.

In summary, to minimize our exposure to these toxic ingredients, we should avoid beauty and care products that contain these hazardous chemical ingredients. We should use only toxin-free cosmetic products that made with natural ingredients from environment and green beauty companies.