Ingredients to Avoid in Body & Hair Care Products

Here is my list of questionable, and some not so questionable, Ingredients to Avoid in Body & Hair Care Products and why I avoid them. Be aware that some of these ingredients are used in products labeled “all natural,” so check the ingredient list before you buy.

Ingredients to Avoid in Body
& Hair Care Products

Why I Avoid Them

1, 4 Dioxane, ethoxylated surfactants Carcinogens with long list of negative side effects
Alcohol, isopropyl (SD-40) Drying, dehydrating solvent and derivative of petroleum
Aluminum (also potassium or ammonium alum) Linked to toxin buildup, increased estrogen and neurological disorders
BHA Probable carcinogen
Coal Tar (FD&C Red #6) Known human carcinogen
Diethanolamine (DEA), monoethanolamine (MEA) & triethanolamine (TEA) Endocrine system disruptors and probable carcinogen. Banned in the EU
Fluoride Toxic if enough is ingested and may cause fluorosis
Formaldehyde/formaldehyde releasers (broponol, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl & imidazolidinyl urea & quaternium-15) Known human carcinogens with long list of negative side effects. Banned in the EU
Fragrance (also parfum) Toxins and carcinogens with long lists of negative side effects
Hydroquinone May cause skin disease
Isobutane Toxin and eye, skin & lung irritant
Lead Neurotoxin
Methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone & benzisothiazolinone Possible neurotoxins with negative side effects
Mica Respiratory irritant in powder form
Octinoxate & Oxybenzone Photoallergenic toxins and possible endocrine system disruptors
Parabens (ethyl-, methyl-, propyl-) Possible endocrine system disruptors
Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) (in hair dyes) Toxin and skin irritant
Petroleum (also petrolatum or mineral oil) Possible carcinogen
Phenoxyethanol Irritant and possible endocrine system disruptor
Phthalates Possible carcinogens and endocrine system disruptors
Polyethylene glycol (PEG), ceteareth & polyethylene compounds Possible carcinogens
Propylene (PG) or butylene glycol Toxins that penetrate the skin quickly
Resorcinol Toxin and skin irritant
Sodium laurel/laureth sulfate Skin irritant and possible carcinogen with long list of negative side effects
Synthetic colors (FD&C Red #40, Blue #1, Yellow #5, etc.) Carcinogens that can cause skin sensitivity and irritation
Talc Possible carcinogen
Titanium dioxide Possible carcinogen when inhaled
Toluene (may be hidden in fragrance) Immune and endocrine system disruptor and reproductive toxin with long list of negative side effects
Triclosan & triclocarban Endocrine system disruptors with long list of negative side effects
Vitamin A (also retinyl palmitate/acetate, retinoic acid, & retinol) Human reproductive toxins and possible carcinogens

For more information on ingredient, health and environmental concerns visit Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database or Good Guide. Note: always check the product ingredient list before you buy.


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