As a beauty editor who is constantly testing product, I have cabinets and cabinets full of product. I’ve got sunscreen, Vitamin C serums, curly hair products, moisturizers, toners, acne-specific creams, and so much more. Over the years that I’ve been in this profession, I’ve been fortunate enough to decipher what is good and what is bad. Because of all the chemicals that can often be found in skincare products, it is paramount to highly vet out ingredients that are not good for you.
I’d like to share that knowledge with you with a crash course on six ingredients you should toss now and absolutely never buy again. Of course, this is entirely up to you in how you go about it, but the below are some of the worst six ingredients you can put on your skin.
Added to products to produce a specific aroma or scent, synthetic fragrances have been linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. And like many things in the skincare industry, there are no formal regulations set up to control what can be placed inside a fragrance. Therefore, companies don’t feel compelled to reveal the chemicals used to create it.
Mainly in nail polish, deodorant and scented lip balm, phthalates have been linked to early puberty, reduction of sperm count and increased risk of cancer. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to help perfume stick to the skin, but disrupt the endocrine system, the system responsible for hormone production. Also, they are harmful for the environment. The pesky ingredient can often be disguised as, DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate).
Petrochemicals and their by-products (mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, triclosan and polyethylene) can disrupt the skin’s natural breathing, clogging pores, thus leading to acne and blackheads. The biggest one here being triclosan, the antimicrobial ingredient (often in hand sanitizers and antibacterial soap) that can have a large impact on thyroid and reproductive hormones. In fact, it’s been banned in several countries.
Triclosan can be found in deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste and shaving creams so make sure you avoid this one.
Parabens are known to cause skin irritation, sensitivities, and hormone disruption. Which is why you’ll see many products labeled, “paraben-free”.
Used a lot in face creams and sunscreen, nanoparticles help ingredients penetrate the skin and have been linked to liver damage and can even affect your immune system.
Lead, found in whitening toothpaste and hair dye, is another known carcinogen.
Below is a quick list of other ingredients you might see on a label that could potentially wreak havoc on your skin.
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Phenylenediamine (PPD)
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Carbon black
- Tetrasodium (EDTA)
- Synthetic colors
- Propylene glycol
- Sunscreen chemicals
- Triethanolamine (TEA)
Because knowledge is power, this information shouldn’t scare you away from using skincare products, but instead, inform you of all the details to make better choices.
To learn more, check out the following skincare articles:
What is isoparaffin and should you worry about it in your skincare products?
Learn about succinic acid, the acne-fighting skincare ingredient.
Learn about chebula in skincare.
And the 411 on “clean” skincare.