Toxic Chemicals To Avoid In Cosmetics And Skincare

 Are you aware of what's going inside the products that you put on your face? Are the chemical ingredients safe for your skin? After researching the top 11 harmful ingredients in cosmetics and skincare, we wanted to brief it down for you. Here you go!


1. Sulfates

Sulfates are salts that are formed when sulphuric acid (H2SO4) reacts with another chemical. They are also produced from petroleum and plant sources like coconut and palm oil. They act as surfactants and are used for lathering purposes.

2. Parabens

Parabens are the preservatives used to keep your skincare and makeup fresh and germ-free. They are found in a variety of products, from soaps to lotions and makeup. Research shows that they cause increased production of the hormone estrogen (female sex hormone) and interfere with reproductive and brain function.

Some studies explain that parabens enter your skin and mimic estrogen that triggers excessive cell division in the breast. This eventually leads to breast cancer.

3. Synthetic colors

Synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar. Coal tar is made of hydrocarbons, carbon and water. It is a thick, dark and viscous liquid with a characteristic smell. Have you been looking for deeply pigmented lipsticks? Now is the time to think about what goes into these pigments. The heavier the pigment, the higher the chances of increased coal tar percentages.

Coal tar is also present in many of the commercially available eyeshadows. Synthetic colors can cause skin irritations, cancers, acne breakouts and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

4. Fragrance

Fragrances are found in skincare products like perfumes, moisturizers, shampoos, cleansers and conditioners. They are made with chemicals that are associated with respiratory disorders, skin allergies, dermatitis and side effects in the reproductive system.

5. Chemicals In Sunscreens

Chemicals like PABA, benzophenone, oxybenzone, ethoxycinnmate and homosalate are used in sunscreens. They are believed to absorb light, but they cause more damage to the body instead of protecting. These sunscreen chemicals are endocrine disruptors.

6. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

PEG is used as a thickening agent in skincare products like lotions, sunscreen and shampoos. It can cause cancer and respiratory disorders. It can also strip off the natural oils (sebum) from your skin and trigger the sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands) to make more sebum that can make the skin greasy.

7. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is often used as a preservative in skincare. It is a colorless gas and is used to prevent the growth of bacteria. Formaldehyde can be found in nail polishes, hair straightening treatments, hair gels, nail hardeners, shampoos, deodorants, lotions and makeup. It is associated with developmental toxins, hair loss, scalp burns, asthma and neurotoxicity.  When inhaled, formaldehyde can cause dizziness and suffocation.

8. Diethanolamine

We love the foaming cleansers, body washes and shampoos. Don't we? But are you aware of the ingredient that helps in foaming. It is diethanolamine. It is a foaming agent that is commonly found in body washes, shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. It is a cancer-causing agent and a respiratory toxin.

9. Alcohol

Alcohol is a common solvent in skincare products. It is helpful in absorbing the products better and hence, a great fit for certain creams and lotions. But alcohol is a toxic skincare ingredient.  Alcohol (drying alcohol) in skincare can leave the skin dry and flaky. It disrupts the skin renewal process. However, not all alcohols are bad for your skin. Fatty alcohols are derived from natural fats and oils and are great moisturizing agents. 

10. Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is used in skincare for skin lightening. It is used to treat pigmentation related to acne scars, freckles, melasma, age spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone functions by reducing the melanin pigment-producing cells (melanocytes).

However, hydroquinone is a known carcinogen. Prolonged use can lead to whitening of the skin, as it reduces melanocytes to a great extent.

11. Petrolatum

Petrolatum has a softening effect and is recommended for dry skin. Lip balms and moisturizers contain petrolatum. While it creates a barrier to prevent water from escaping, it also prevents absorption of moisture from the air. Your skin drys out eventually and this is the reason why you are tempted to reapply your lip balm. Also, if not refined well, harmful chemicals like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be retained in it.