8 Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid!

1.All parabens (ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben…)

Where you can find them: almost everywhere: shampoos, soap, skin lotions, sunscreens, make-up, you name it!  Besides their long name, they can also be identified by their codes: E214 for ethylparaben, E218 for methylparaben, E216 for propylparaben.

Why they are used by the cosmetic industry: they are preservatives that give products a longer shelf life.

Why you shouldn’t use them: So many products contain them that they build up in our bodies, where they can act on our hormones, and have been found to be estrogen-disruptors. Washed off in the shower, parabens accumulate in waterways and also disrupt the hormonal system of animals who drink or swim in that water.

2.Sodium Lauryl and Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES)

Where you can find them: shampoos and soaps

Why they are used by the cosmetic industry: they are a foaming agent

Why you shouldn’t use them: They can enter the heart, brain and liver through the skin, where they can accumulate. Moreover, SLS and SLES react with many other ingredients to form nitrosomines (or nitrates), which are potential carcinogenics.

3.DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolidinyl Urea

Where you can find them: shampoos, hair conditioners, skin care products, moisturizers, bath products, and makeup bases and foundations

Why they are used by the cosmetic industry: They are antimicrobial preservatives used to prevent molds and bacterial spoilage.

Why you shouldn’t use them: Although not suspected to be environmental toxins, they are known human immune system toxicants as well as human skin toxicants. They work by releasing formaldehyde into the products.

4.Fragrance

Where you can find them: any product, not just perfumes.

Why they are used by the cosmetic industry: to either give a pleasant smell or cover up a bad one.

Why you shouldn’t use them:Any ingredient, included phthalates, can be hidden behind the word Fragrance: cosmetic industries are not required to divulge all their ingredients and play the trade secret card. Fragrances cause allergies, are linked to cancer and can attack the nervous system.

5.Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone

Where you can find them: creams, lotions, shampoos and conditioners

Why they are used by the cosmetic industry: They are preservatives with antibacterial and antifungal effects, effective against fungus and yeast.

Why you shouldn’t use them: they cause allergies and attack the nervous system

6.PEG (Polyethylene Glycol)

Where you can find it: surfactants, lotions, cleansing agents, emulsifiers, skin conditioners. The number next to PEG indicates the molecular weight of the compounds that make up PEG.

Why it is used by the cosmetic industry: for penetration enhancing effect.

Why you shouldn’t use it: PEG is a toxic contaminant and possible carcinogen. It should not be used on damaged skin as it can cause itch and rash.It also contains various harmful impurities, including lead.

7.Triclosan and Triclocarban

Where you can find them: soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, and toothpastes

Why they are used by the cosmetic industry: antibacterial and antifungal agents

Why you shouldn’t use them:  They have an impact on our thyroid and are suspected to cause cancer. They also pose environmental concerns: they are persistent organic pollutants, acutely and chronically toxic to aquatic organisms.

8.Triethanolamine (TEA)

Where you can find it: face and body moisturizers, mascaras, shampoos, baby products

Why it is used by the cosmetic industry: to balance pH

Why you shouldn’t use it: it is a potential carcinogen, as it combines with other ingredients to create nitrosamines, which cause cancer. It can also
trigger allergies. As it accumulates in our bodies, it can become toxic. DEA (diethanolamines) and MEA (coconut oil amide of monoethanolamine) are close relatives which pose similar concerns.

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Black List Cosmetic Ingredients!

Info Examples
1. Ingredients that have known or suspected safety concerns. Butylparaben
Ethylparaben
Isobutylparaben
Isopropylparaben
Methylparaben
Propylene Glycol
Propylparaben
Triclosan
2. Ingredients prone to impurities that have known or suspected safety concerns. Acrylates Copolymer
Ceteareth-20
Cocamide Mea
Emulsifying Wax
Ethanolamine
Laureth-7
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Hydroxyethylcellulose
Peg-100 Stearate
Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
Polyquaternium-7
3. Ingredients that are made from petroleum (unless they are nature identical). BHT
Butylene Glycol
C13-14 Isoparaffin
Dipropylene Glycol
Disodium EDTA
EDTA
Paraffin
Peg-8
Petrolatum
Polybutene
Polyethylene
Tetrasodium EDTA
Trisodium EDTA
Propylene Glycol
Triclosan
4. Ingredients that are made by treating natural ingredients with petroleum derivatives or synthetics. Hydroxyethylcellulose
Peg-100 Stearate
Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
Emulsifying Wax
5. Synthetic colors. FD&C Blue 1
FD&C Red 40
FD&C Yellow 5
6. Synthetic fragrances. Lillial
Vanillyl Butyl Ether
Parfum*
*Typically Synthetic Unless Noted
7. Synthetic preservatives (unless they are nature identical). Chlorphenesin
Diazolidinyl Urea
Dmdm Hydantoin
Imidazolidinyl Urea
Methylchloroisothiazolinone
Methylisothiazolinone
8. Synthetic polymers and other synthetic ingredients (do not exist in nature). Carbomer
Polymethyl Methacrylate
Pvp/Va Copolymer
Sodium Acrylate
Acrylates Copolymer
Polyethylene
9. Ingredients that are derived from harming animals. Ingredients made from animal fats or oils
10. Ingredients that do not easily biodegrade. Cyclomethicone*
Cyclopentasiloxane*
Dimethicone Copolyol*
Dimethicone*
Methicone*
Phenyl Trimethicone*
Polyquaternium-7
Disodium EDTA
EDTA
Tetrasodium EDTA
Trisodium EDTA
*Silicones.
11. Ingredients that could react with other ingredients in a cosmetic product to form potentially harmful substances. Triethanolamine (TEA)
Diethanolamine (DEA)
Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate
Nitrosamines are the potential by-products of reactions between these ingredients and other ingredients. Nitrosamines are potent carcinogens.
12. Ingredients that are generally considered to be harsh on the skin. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Can be made solely from natural sources, but is a very aggressive detergent