Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Skincare and Cosmetics

Research suggests that the average person may be exposed to dozens or even hundreds of different chemicals each day through their use of personal care products. We know how overwhelming it is trying to decipher all those tiny words on the back of your cosmetics. So, we have combined a list of our top toxic chemicals in skincare to avoid, some have been linked to cancers, reproductive issues and have been known to cause hormonal disruptions... eeeeek. Others are linked to disastrous environmental impacts and some are even to this day still tested on animals using inhumane and unethical processes.


Where are they hiding:

Used as preservatives in cosmetics and skincare products.

Whats the issue:  

Parabens have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body, which can disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with normal hormonal function. This can potentially lead to a range of health issues, including fertility problems, developmental issues in children, and an increased risk of breast cancer.


Where are they hiding:  commonly found in perfumed lotions, shampoos, nail polish, perfumes and many children's toys. 

Whats the Issue:  like Parabens they are endocrine dysruptors which can lead to a range of health issues, including reproductive problems, thyroid dysfunction, and developmental issues in children. They have also, been shown to have negative effects on the reproductive system, including decreased sperm count, reduced fertility, and testicular changes in men. In women, exposure to phthalates has been linked to early onset of puberty and changes in menstrual cycles. Phthalate exposure during pregnancy has also been associated with developmental problems in babies, such as reduced foetal growth and altered genital development. Previously, huge concerns have been raised around children's exposure to phthalates in plastic toys. 

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

Where are they hiding:  Detergents, household cleaning products, hand soaps, and body washes. 

Whats the issue: SLS and SLES are harsh on the skin and can cause irritation, dryness, or even allergic reactions in some people, particularly those with sensitive skin. Some studies have suggested that SLS and SLES can be absorbed into the body and may have harmful effects on human health, including potential links to cancer and hormone disruption. Environmentally, they are derived from petroleum, and their production can have negative environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution.


Where are they hiding: Nail polishes, hair-smoothing products, body wash, and various makeup products. 

Whats the issue: Another one that is a known human carcinogen (cancer causing) chemical. Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and skin, causing symptoms such as burning, itching, and inflammation. Inhaling formaldehyde can also cause respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. It has also been linked to allergic reactions such as hives, rashes and swelling. 


Where are they hiding: Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent found in many skincare products, including soaps and hand sanitizers. 

Whats the issue: Can cause hormone disruptions leading to imbalances in the body. Evidence is suggesting that triclosan may contribute to the development of allergies and asthma.

One of the major environmental concerns associated with triclosan is its potential to disrupt aquatic ecosystems. Studies have shown that triclosan can accumulate in aquatic organisms, such as fish, and can affect their behavior, growth, and reproduction. Triclosan can also harm algae and other aquatic plants, which can disrupt the food chain and ecosystem dynamics. 



These are just some of the top concerning toxic chemicals to look out for in your skincare and cosmetics. Looking at the chemicals in your skincare, makeup and household products before bringing them into your home may just help you and your family to decrease some of the daily toxic load we come into contact with.