Seeing more than the attractive beauty package of your cosmetics products is the best you can do for yourself. Many of these products you see on the market contain a lot of harmful cosmetic ingredients that do cause irritations, complications, and other life-threatening diseases.
The goal of this article is to make you see beyond all the marketing ploys that most cosmetics companies use to attract you into buying their products.
Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with buying yourself skin care. But the most important thing is for you to make sure your beauty product doesn’t contain any killer products. Or will you like to spend your money on purchasing more complications for yourself?
Many of these products contain synthetic chemicals that are endocrine disrupters, skin penetrators, and skin irritants that are carcinogenic.
So, below contains a list of some products that are regarded as dangerous to your skin, hair, and your health.
The Top Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients You Should Watch Out For
Just like lead was a terrible skin and hair chemical in the 20th century, Phthalates are the next bad chemicals you need to watch out for. Unfortunately for you and me, this chemical appears in hundreds of skin and hair products.
This chemical is used to increase the softness and flexibility of plastics. Phthalates occur in cosmetics products such as dimethyl phthalates in hair spray, diethyl phthalates in lotions and perfumes, and dibutyl phthalate in nail polish.
Phthalates are endocrine disruptors, causing birth defects in both females and males. They also cause early breast development in girls, and in the worst cases, they can cause breast cancer.
Phthalates are mostly added to the fragrance. So, most of the time cosmetics producers eliminate it from their product list, making it extremely difficult for you to know a phthalates-laced cosmetics product. So, it’s likely that your moisturizer, hair sprays, colognes/perfumes, and deodorants have phthalates in them.
Formaldehyde and other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are used in a lot of hair and skin cosmetic products to prevent the growth of bacteria.
The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) deemed formaldehyde as a human carcinogen. Formaldehyde is dangerous to the immune system and responsible for a lot of allergic skin reactions.
It is found in a lot of nail polish treatments, eye shadows, cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, nail polish, etc.
Propylene glycol, a small conditioning agent, is small organic alcohol. It is deemed a penetrator and skin irritant. With as low as 2%, propylene glycol can cause hives and dermatitis in humans. It can be found in hair sprays, shampoo, conditioners, makeup products, sunscreen, and moisturizers.
They are prevalently used as preservatives to stop the growth of yeast, mold, and bacteria in cosmetics. But this “commando” does more harm to your health in the long run. Parabens, present in methylparaben and propylparaben, possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with causing breast cancer in a human being.
Parabens are available in facial cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, body washes, makeup, etc. The sad part is that parabens can be found in pharmaceutical and food products. No wonder people are switching to organic food!
This category can be convincing and scary because of the way Cosmetics Company has made it. A lot of dangerous products like phthalates and other health-damaging products are hidden under the umbrella of fragrances.
As a consumer that we are, we scan through the product list and say, “there is no paraben; I’m getting it.” Oh! Unfortunately, you’re using your cash to get the same problem you were trying to avoid in the first place.
So, it’s not only about checking the product list; it’s about buying from trusted brands. But who are the trusted brands? That is a tough question to answer.
Even essential oils are not left out of this problem. Some of them can cause irritation to the skin, like lemon, eucalyptus, and peppermint.
Fragrance “combination” can cause potential effects on the reproductive system, respiratory distress, and dermatitis. Fragrance can be found in a lot of cosmetic products like moisturizers, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, cologne, perfume, and other products.
Sunscreen chemicals are necessary because they shield you against the effect of UVA and UVB rays that can cause a lot of skin problems like wrinkles, skin discoloration, tans, and even skin cancer. But some chemicals just don’t fit right for your body.
The best sunscreen chemicals are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. But even those are considered occlusive, blocking your skin pores. And I know you don’t want that, right?
But some chemicals do more than block your skin pores; they can have a detrimental effect on your health; they may cause cellular damage and cancer in the body. Some of them are ethoxycinnmate, homosalate, avobenzone, PABA, and benzophenone.
Synthetic colors are derived from coal tar or petroleum sources. They are noted for causing irritation, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children, and cancer. Even the European Union has banned it.
Derived from coal tar or petroleum source, toluene may appear on the label as methylbenzene, phenylmethane, toluol, benzene, etc. Toluene is used as a paint thinner and a paint dissolver. But unfortunately, many cosmetics companies add toluene to their hair color, nail polish, and treatment products.
Toluene is a strong skin irritant that affects the respiratory system. It also causes nausea, and the vapor can damage the fetus in pregnant women.
Triclosan can be found in deodorants, antibacterial, toothpaste, and most especially in soap. They are known skin irritants, and endocrine disruptors, especially the reproductive and thyroid hormones. And studies have it that they can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Unfortunately, this cancer-causing petrochemical is also found in baby baths. 1-4-Dioxane is considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Check product details for the “eth” like polyethylene glycol, cetearETH, myrETH, Sodium Laureth, and sulfate…they most likely contain the 1-4-Dioxane.
Apart from the baby bath, they are present in almost all cosmetics products, including those with the “organic label.”
There is nothing more disheartening than moving around with a sweaty armpit. But applying an antiperspirant that is formulated with aluminum may do you a whole lot of bad than good in the long run.
All antiperspirants rely on aluminum in the form of aluminum hydrobromide, aluminum chloralhydrate, aluminum zirconium, and aluminum chloride.
The aluminum salt prevents sweat by injecting aluminum ions into the cells that line the sweat ducts. Aluminum is a potent neurotoxin, increasing the risk of developing AD (Alzheimer’s disease), the most common cause of dementia and a neurodegenerative disorder, that affects a lot of women and men in the world. It can also cause plaques in the human brain.
Now The Comprehensive List Of Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients
1. Acrylic Acid:
Respiratory toxin for humans; causes asthma, severe skin burns, and allergic reaction in the skin or lungs; causes renal and kidney damage in animals; causes blood tumors and skin tumors in animals
2. Aluminum (Pure Aluminum Powder):
Strong human neurotoxicant; causes irritation of eyes, skin, and lungs; endocrine disruptor; linked to Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer; causes birth disorders in animals
3 Aluminium Chloride:
Nose and lung irritant; causes liver and bladder abnormalities in animals; causes brain disorders in animals; human endocrine disruptor linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease; aluminum compounds are neurotoxic to humans
4. Aluminium Hydrochloride:
Endocrine disruptor linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease; aluminum compounds are neurotoxic to humans
5. Aluminium Oxide:
Strong nose and lung irritant; causes skin cancer in animals; endocrine disruptor linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease; aluminum compounds are neurotoxic to humans
6. Ammonium Laureth Sulfate: causes skin irritation; water contaminant; may be contaminated with carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane
7. Ammonium Persulfate:
Strong eye, respiratory system, and skin irritant; can trigger asthma; restricted in cosmetics
8. Amyl Acetate:
Neurotoxin; eye and lung irritant; lung allergen
9. Benzalkonium Chloride:
This immune system, lung, and skin toxicant can trigger asthma. It is restricted in Canada and Japan
10. Benzyl Alcohol:
Strong neurotoxicant; can cause an allergic reaction in lungs; causes itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin; causes liver damage, coma, and death in animals
11. Boric Acid:
Strong reproductive toxin; potent endocrine disruptor; unsafe for use on infants and injured or damaged skin; causes death and birth defects in animals; banned in Canada and Japan
12. Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol):
One of the strongest lung and skin toxicants; endocrine disruptor; forms carcinogenic nitrosamine; causes allergic contact dermatitis; environmental contaminant; poisonous to wildlife
13. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA):
Human carcinogen; that causes brain and liver tumors in animals at low doses; endocrine disruptor; causes allergic contact dermatitis and skin depigmentation; banned in European Union; persistent environmental toxin
14. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT):
Endocrine disruptor, skin and lung toxicant at low doses; causes death, liver and stomach cancers, thrombosis, fibrosis, and liver and brain damage in animals; strong skin and eye irritants
15. Butylene Glycol:
Skin, lung, and eye irritants; environmental toxin
Skin and eye irritant; endocrine disruptor linked to breast and ovarian cancer; environmental contaminant
17. Calcium Fluoride:
Neurotoxic to humans; leads to bone weakness; causes birth abnormalities and depression in animals
18. Ceteareth (with any numeral following it):
Unsafe for use on broken skin; eye and lung irritant; may be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane
19. Cetrimonium Chloride:
Skin and eye sensitizer that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering; causes cell mutations and lung cancer in animal studies
20. Cetyl Alcohol:
Skin and eye irritant in humans
Strong skin, eye, and lung irritant; toxic if inhaled; causes paralysis, goiter, and birth defects in animals; banned in Canada
22. Coal Tar:
Known human carcinogen; causes lung and urinary tract cancer; potent skin irritant; causes multiple cancers in animals; banned in most countries including Canada and European Union; still used in anti-dandruff shampoos in the US
23. Cocamide DEA (Ethanolamide of Coconut Acid):
Strong human skin toxicant and suspected carcinogen; causes irritation of skin, eyes, and lungs in humans; causes liver and bladder cancer in animals
24. D&C Red 30 Lake:
Strong nervous system toxicant; such as an aluminum compound, disrupts the endocrine system and is linked to breast and ovarian cancer; persistent wildlife contaminant
25. D&C Violet 2:
Coal tar dye; skin and eye irritant; long-time use of coal tar hair dye is linked to bladder cancer
26. Dibutyl Phthalate:
Neurotoxicant; linked to impaired fertility and urinary abnormalities; linked to breast and ovarian cancers; contaminates wildlife
27. Diethanolamine (DEA):
linked to brain abnormalities in animals; may be contaminated with carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane
28. Dimethicone (Dimethicone):
petroleum derivative; environmental toxicant
29. Direct Black 38:
Diethanolamine-containing dye that is a confirmed human carcinogen; strong evidence of causing bladder cancer; may harm an unborn child; causes liver and kidney cancer in animals; banned in European Union
30. DMDM Hydantoin:
Contains carcinogenic formaldehyde; skin, eye, and lung irritant; environmental toxicant
31. EDTA (Disodium EDTA):
One of the most harmful cosmetic ingredients that is a penetration enhancer linked to brain damage
in animals; caused liver changes and endocrine damage in animals; caused fetal death and birth
abnormalities in animals; made from formaldehyde; approved for use in cosmetics and baby
Skin and eye irritant; endocrine disruptor linked to breast and ovarian cancer; environmental contaminant
Endocrine disruptor; skin, eye, and lung irritant; well-recognized consumer allergen; causes death, coma, insomnia, convulsions, hematuria, pulmonary edema, and liver cancer in animals
34. Ext. D&C Violet 2:
This coal tar dye is a strong skin irritant; long-time use of coal tar dyes is linked to increased risk of bladder cancer; restricted in cosmetics
35. FD&C Blue 1:
Derived from coal tar; linked to allergies and hyperactivity disorders
36. FD&C Green 3:
Causes sarcomas and bone marrow hyperplasia in animals; not studied for safety in humans; prohibited in European Union
37. FD&C Yellow 5 (E104, Tartrazine) :
Causes severe allergic and intolerance reactions, especially among asthmatics and those with an aspirin intolerance; linked to thyroid tumors, chromosomal damage, hives, and hyperactivity in humans
38. FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake:
Aluminum compounds are neuro-toxic to humans
39. FD&C Yellow 6:
Human skin and eye irritants; cause coma, convulsions, testicular damage, and changes in leucocytes in animals; cannot be used in eye cosmetics
40. Fig (Ficus Carica) Extract:
Immune system toxins; cannot be used as a fragrance ingredient due to potential carcinogenicity; banned in European Union; allowed in the US as a fragrance ingredient in shampoos and body washes
Known human carcinogens linked to leukemia, pancreatic, skin, liver, and lung cancer; strong skin, eye, and lung irritant; irritates human liver (causes cirrhosis), stomach, kidneys, and bladder; can cause skin burns; triggers asthma; hazardous air pollutant; environmental toxin; banned in Canada and Japan; determined as safe for use in cosmetics in the US
42. Formaldehyde Resin:
Contains formaldehyde and carries the same risks; can trigger allergic reaction in the skin or lungs
43. Formaldehyde Solution (Formalin):
The neurotoxin in humans and animals; restricted in Canada and European Union; known human carcinogen linked to leukemia, nasal and nasopharyngeal, pancreatic, skin, liver, bladder, and lung cancer; strong skin, eye, and lung irritant; irritate human liver (causes cirrhosis), stomach, kidneys, and bladder; can cause skin burns; triggers asthma; hazardous air pollutant; environmental toxin; banned in Canada and Japan; determined as safe for use in cosmetics in the US
44. Glyceryl Stearate:
Weak skin, eye, and lung irritant
Eye, lung, and nervous system toxins; can cause itching, burning, scaling,
hives, and blistering of skin; suspected liver and stomach carcinogen; causes liver cancer, and DNA and ovary mutations in animals; restricted in Canada46. Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate: contains Diethanolamine; can affect thyroid function; gastrointestinal and liver toxicant; cannot be used in aerosols; causes allergic contact dermatitis; restricted in Japan
47. Imidazolidinyl Urea (Uric Acid):
Can cause itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of the skin
Skin and eye irritant; endocrine disruptor linked to breast and ovarian cancer; environmental contaminant
Petroleum derivative; environmental toxin; mildly irritating; produces kidney damage in animals; not carcinogenic in humans
50. Isopropyl Alcohol (SD-40):
Human neurotoxin; skin, eye, and lung irritant; vapors cause drowsiness and dizziness; causes skin dehydration; may promote brown spots and premature aging of the skin; petroleum derivative
51. Lactic acid:
Strong skin and eye irritant; can cause skin burns; causes changes in liver, brain, and blood in animals; causes mutations and birth defects in animals; restricted in Canada
Strong skin irritants and toxicants; can cause an allergic reaction in the lungs **
53. Laureth-7 (Polyethylene Glycol Ether of Lauryl Alcohol):
May be contaminated with carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane
54. Lead Acetate:
Possible human carcinogen and neurotoxin; skin and eye irritant; environmental toxin; banned in the European Union
Can irritate lungs in aerosol form; a potent asthma trigger; forms carcinogenic
nitrosamine compounds if mixed with nitrosating agents
56. Manganese Sulfate:
Strong human neurotoxin; harmful during prolonged exposure or inhalation; causes convulsions, DNA mutations, and protein loss in animals; toxic to wildlife
Strong skin, eye, nose, and lung irritants; can cause itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin; may be contaminated with carcinogenic 1,4-Dioxane; cannot be used in aerosol cosmetics
58. Methyl Methacrylate:
Strong neurotoxin; strong eye and lung irritant; causes asthma and skin burns; causes cancer and stomach bleeding in animals; hazardous air pollutant; banned in Canada and recently in the US
60. Mineral Oil (Liquid Petrolatum):
Causes blood and skin cancer formations in animals; eye and skin irritant; derived from petroleum; non-biodegradable environmental toxin
61. Monoethanolamine (MEA):
Skin and eye irritants at low doses; can be irritating to the respiratory tract
62. Nonoxynol (ethoxylated alkyl phenol):
Endocrine disruptor; skin and lung irritant; causes liver damage in animals; may be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane
63. Octoxynol (10, 11, 13, 40):
Strong skin and eye toxin that can cause itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin; may contain carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane; causes cancer of reproductive organs in animals
64. Oxybenzone (Benzophenone–4):
Strong photoallergy; endocrine disruptor; produces free radicals that can increase skin aging; environmental toxicant
65. Padimate O (Octyl Dimethyl PABA/PABA Ester):
Has estrogenic activity; releases free radicals that damage DNA when exposed to sunlight; causes allergic reactions and photoallergic dermatitis; restricted in Japan
66. Para Amino Benzoic Acid (PABA):
Causes allergic dermatitis and photosensitivity; produces free radicals that cause mutations, lead to cell death, and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease; causes changes in blood components and muscle weakness in animals; banned in Canada
67. Paraffin (Paraffinum Liquidum, Paraffin Petrolatum):
Petrochemical bleached with carcinogen acrolyn; releases carcinogens benzene and toluene upon heating; causes kidney or renal system tumor in animals; environmental toxin
68. PEG-100 Stearate:
Polyethylene glycols are often contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane suspected endocrine disruptor; linked to cancer in animals; skin and eye irritant
69. Petrolatum (Soft Paraffin, White Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly):
Lung irritant upon inhalation; derived from petroleum; non-biodegradable environmental toxin
A strong respiratory irritant; toxic by skin contact; causes skin burns; causes kidney damage and cyanosis in humans; causes skin cancer, birth defects, and brain and nervous system damage in animals at very low doses; environmental contaminant; banned in Canada, restricted in Japan, permitted in the US
Endocrine disruptor and carcinogen in animals; linked to allergic contact uritica and dermatitis
72. Picric Acid:
Human immune system toxicant; toxic by inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion; causes an allergic reaction in the skin or lungs; causes coma, convulsions, and body temperature increase in animals; banned in Canada and European Union
73. Placental Extract:
Endocrine disruptor containing estradiol and progesterone; banned in Canada
74. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG):
Often contaminated with carcinogenic 1,4-Dioxane; suspected endocrine disruptor; linked to cancer in animals; skin and eye irritant
75. Polyethylene Terephthalate:
Causes cancer in animals; not studied for safety in humans
76. Polysorbate 80:
May be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane; a suspected endocrine disruptor; linked to cancer in animals; skin and eye irritants
77. Potassium Persulfate:
Strong irritant to eyes, lungs, respiratory system, and skin; restricted for use in cosmetics
Linked to bladder and prostate cancer; human neurotoxin; skin and lung irritant; causes liver cancer and birth defects in animals; very strong environmental toxin
79. Propyl Acetate:
Skin, eye, nose, and lung irritant
80. Propylene Glycol (PG):
Can cause eye irritation and conjunctivitis, as well as upper respiratory tract irritation
82. Quaternium–7, 15, 31, 60:
Formaldehyde release; can cause skin and eye irritation; linked to several cancers (see Formaldehyde)
83. Resorcinol (m-Hydroquinone, Euresol, 1,3-Benzenediol):
Strong skin irritant; linked to adenomas in animals; suspected to trigger skin cancer in humans; environmental toxin
Suspected human carcinogen; causes liver, kidney, and bladder damage in animals, as well as reproductive damage and birth abnormalities
Linked to esophageal cancer, renal disease, pulmonary fibrosis, mesothelioma, sarcoma, rheumatoid arthritis, and bronchitis; strong nasal and lung irritant; wildlife toxicants;
accumulates in the human body.
86. Sodium Laureth Sulfate:
Skin irritant; water contaminant; may be contaminated with carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane
87. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate:
Skin and eye irritants; in toothpaste may cause canker sores
88. Sodium Metabisulfite:
Immune system toxicant; eye and skin irritant; emits toxic gas when in contact with acids; dangerous for asthmatics; causes stillbirth, muscle weakness, and brain degeneration in animals
89. Sodium Methylparaben:
Endocrine disruptor; causes mild brain damage in animals; skin irritant causing itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering; causes depigmentation of skin; banned for use in European Union
90. Sodium Monofluorophosphate:
Nervous system toxin; harmful if swallowed during teeth bleaching; causes convulsions, proteinuria, osteoporosis, and changes in DNA in animals; restricted in Canada
Even when it contains no asbestos, was proven fibrogenic (causes tissue injury and
fibrosis); skin and lung irritation
Causes toxic pneumonitis and skin cancer in animals; not studied for safety in humans
93. Tetrasodium EDTA:
Contains formaldehyde; cytotoxic and genotoxic in animals; strong skin and lung irritant in humans; most widespread poison to waterways
94. Thimerosal (Thiomersal, Merthiolate):
Strong toxin to skin, nervous, and immune system; mercury is linked to autism; causes cancer in animals; environmental toxin
95. Thioglycolic Acid:
Strong human skin irritant; causes itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin; lung allergen; restricted in cosmetics; banned in Canada
96. Toluene (Methylbenzene):
Skin and lung toxicant; accumulates in fat tissue; soil contaminant
Endocrine disruptor affects thyroid hormone–associated gene expression, caused
fetal death in animals; strong skin irritant; environmental toxicant
98. Triethanolamine (TEA):
Causes lymphoid, kidney; and renal tumors in animals; may be contaminated with carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane; skin and eye irritant even when used in low doses
99. Triphenyl Phosphate:
Human neurotoxin; skin, eye, and lung irritant; causes tremors, depression, and diarrhea in animals
100. Xanthene (AKA106, CI 45100):
Found unsafe for use in cosmetics in the US; causes cancer and various organ mutations in animals.