Chemicals in Skin Care: Here's What to Watch Out For - Lifestyle Markets

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Chemicals in Skin Care: Here's What to Watch Out For

The skin is the largest, and one of the most important organs of our body. It is a metabolically active tissue that has direct links to our immune system. It just makes sense to be extremely mindful of what we are putting on our skin!

Here’s Why:

At least 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed. That means that the products we put onto our bodies affect our health, both negatively and positively. Because skin care products are not closely regulated, almost any ingredient can be incorporated into formulas, and some of them are harmful to your health.

A lot of ingredients found in traditional skincare products (face washes, lotions, sunscreen) have now been linked to health issues such as allergies, eczema, hormonal disruption, and reproductive problems.

“The Toxic 12” ingredients to Avoid In Your Skincare:

Read your labels and do your best to avoid these:


Toxic metals can have estrogen-like effects in our systems, disrupting the healthy functioning of the endocrine (hormonal) system.

Aluminum can be found in almost every personal care product, especially antiperspirant deodorants.

  1. DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine)

Clear, colorless, viscous liquids with ammonia-like odors, these are

usually found in products that foam like facial cleansers and soaps. They are also found in eye makeup, fragrances, hair products, and sunscreens.

  1. DMDM HYDANTOIN & UREA (Imidazolidinyl)

Used as preservatives that often release formaldehyde, these ingredients may cause joint pain, skin allergies, headaches, and interfere with sleep.

These are found in skincare products, cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners, and detergents.


Mineral oil is a petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging its pores. This is harmful because it interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, therefore increasing likelihood of acne and other disorders.

It can be found in creams, lotions, ointments, and oily cosmetics.

  1. PARABENS (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl)

Parabens are a group of chemicals used as preservatives for skincare products, to prolong their shelf lives. They do this by hindering the growth of mold and microorganisms, such as bacteria, in the products.

Parabens are popularly used in makeup products and moisturizers. Research shows that parabens can easily pass through your skin, and into your body. Parabens have been found in the breast tissue of people with breast cancer, though no conclusive studies have definitively linked it to an increased risk of developing cancer.

Parabens may interfere with hormone production by mimicking estrogen, a hormone that plays a vital role in maintaining the reproductive system in women.

  1. PEG (Polyethylene glycol)

This ingredient can alter and reduce the skin’s natural moisture. It adjusts the melting point and thickness of some skin care products. It is used to dissolve oil and grease and is found in skin cleansers - and other household cleaning products!


Phthalates are chemicals used to increase flexibility and strength of plastics (yes, the same as in plastic bottles!), and are often not even listed among the ingredients on many products. They are usually found in cosmetics such as fragrance oils and may be listed under the term “fragrance" or “parfum”. In cosmetic products, they are used as softeners, and are included in scented products to make the scents linger. 

According to the FDA, phthalates contained in skincare products don't pose any significant health risks, even at the highest levels. However, phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors. This means that in our bodies, they may interfere with our ability to synthesize and utilize our sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.


These hydrocarbons are used as surfactants, to break down oils and coat the skin. They penetrate the skin quickly and can weaken the protein and cellular structure of your skin.


Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Siloxanes are used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. They are suspected endocrine disrupters and are harmful to fish and other wildlife.


These are detergents that make products foam, lather, and bubble.

They are found in 90% of personal-care products that foam, including most shampoos. For many of us, using shampoo without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate takes some adjustment, because these shampoos do not create the lather we are accustomed to when we wash our hair.

  1. SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES a.k.a. “parfum”

Anything that is synthetic or artificial should always raise a red flag. These are made up of hundreds to thousands of different ingredients not listed on the label, so you are never sure what you are actually being exposed to.

These are not only found in cosmetic and skincare products, but also many household products such as candles, air fresheners, laundry products and even scented trash bags.


Triclosan is a synthetic antibacterial agent that may disrupt thyroid function and can degrade into a form of dioxin, a class of chemicals linked to a broad range of toxic effects.

It may be found in soaps, mouthwash, shaving cream, deodorants, and even toothpaste. 

Now What?

Do a quick read of the labels of all your favorite products in your bathroom. It may be time to swap some of them for less toxic alternatives. Take all of these factors into consideration the next time you are shopping for skincare products. It is important to read the ingredient lists thoroughly and not skim over words, especially the ones you can’t pronounce! Choose skincare products made with pure, organic ingredients, that do not contain any toxins that could add to your body’s toxic burden.

Visit Shine Health Project for more information