*All of the substances below have all been banned or restricted in Europe and other countries, but are still totally legal in the U.S.
(anything that ends with “paraben,” like butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, etc.)
Popular preservatives that mimic the hormone estrogen and are linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation. They may increase our risk of breast cancer.
Found in shampoos and other bath products, lotions, and lots of cosmetics.
(& FORMALDEHYDE-RELEASING PRESERVATIVES DMDM HYDANTOIN, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA, IMIDAZolidinyl urea, methenamine, 1,4 Dioxane & Quarternium-15)
Considered a known human carcinogen, this preservative was made famous by the “Brazilian Blowout.” It can also cause asthma if inhaled, neurotoxicity and developmental toxicity.
Found in the Brazilian Blowout, other hair treatments and some nail polishes.
(So anything that says "fragrance" or "parfum" on the label)
This word on a label could mean between 10 and 300 different chemicals, but companies are not required to list anything in their “fragrance” mixture. Common synthetic fragrances contain hormone disruptors such as phthalates, which have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive problems like early puberty, and the feminization of baby boys.
Found in everything from face cream to perfume to soap…any product with a scent.
The only way to avoid "fragrance" is to buy products that are scented with organic essential oils.
4. PROPYLENE GLYCOL
(a fancy word for anti-freeze)
Essentially antifreeze, this chemical alters our skin structure so other chemicals can penetrate deeper, and it causes reproductive, brain and nervous system harm in animal studies.
Found in many cosmetics and food products.
5. COAL TAR DYES
(LOOK FOR "CI" FOLLOWED BY A 5 DIGIT NUMBER)
Used extensively in cosmetics, coal tar dyes are a mixture of many chemicals that are derived from petroleum and cause cancer and neurotoxicity.
Banned in food products, but found in many hair dyes, lipsticks & other cosmetic products.
(SIMILAR TO ASBESTOS)
This absorbent and anti-caking agent is known to be toxic and is linked to cancer. Asbestos-containing talc particles have been known to cause tumors in human ovaries and lungs.
Found in powder products, such as eyeshadow, baby powder, face powder, deodorants, & other loose-mineral cosmetics.
7. MINERAL OIL
(OR ANYTHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE WORD "PETROLEUM")
This is a crude oil derived from the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It is a known human carcinogen, and it also causes skin problems.
Found in baby lotions, creams, lip balms, & skin ointments, as well as cosmetics.
8. ALUMINUM ZIRCONIUM
(OR ANY ALUMINUM COMPOUND)
Used as the antiperspirant in deodorants, this heavy metal has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease and has been found in breast cancer tumors. It is also a respiratory, neurological, & developmental toxin.
Found in antiperspirant products.
9. SODIUM LAURETH
(OR SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE)
One of the most dangerous ingredients used in products, this chemical is linked to skin damage, eye damage, and liver toxicity. It is also toxic to the environment.
Found in most skincare and cosmetics, as well as household and car cleaners, and engine degreasers.
10. BHA & BHT
(aka Butylated Hydroxyanisole & Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
Considered “a reasonable anticipated human carcinogen,” this chemical preservative interferes with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels. It can also cause skin depigmentation, liver damage, and stomach cancer in animal studies.
Found in moisturizers and makeup.