10 Chemicals to Avoid in Your Products

In the U.S. there are 12,500 chemicals approved as cosmetic ingredients. Each of your products contain anywhere from 15-50 ingredients on average. So, if you use shampoo, conditioner, body wash and face wash….that’s 200 chemicals you are exposing yourself to. And that’s before breakfast! 

Since we don’t have time, nor I the finger power, to discuss all 12,500 of those chemicals, I am going to lay out ten things to watch out for in your personal products.


Parabens are preservatives. They prevent growth of bacteria, molds, and yeasts in the cosmetic industry. Sounds legit, right? Wrong. They also have estrogen mimicking properties and have been associated with increased risks of breast cancer. They have even been identified in biopsy samples of breast tumors. 


What even is fragrance? You don’t know? Well neither does anyone else. The term was coined to protect a company’s “secret formula” of scent. Fragrances have been linked to numerous issues such as allergies, dermatitis, headaches, and asthma attacks. It might smell nice, but it could be causing a whole mess of other issues.


Phthalates are added to products to increase flexibility of plastics. Yep, plastics. They are used in nail polish, flooring, lotions, wall coverings, varnishes, perfumes and hair sprays. You’re putting the same chemical they use to make vinyl flooring flexible onto your skin. Many times this chemical won’t be on the ingredients list since it is often added to the “secret formula” of fragrance.


An antimicrobial and endocrine disruptor. What does that mean? They disrupt the body’s endocrine system. This includes the thyroid and reproductive system. On top of attacking your body, triclosan also can make bacteria antibiotic resistant. So, your hand soap, sanitizers, deodorants, etc. are all becoming less effective. 


Specifically, sodium lauryl/sodium laureth sulfates. Found in more than 90% of personal hygiene products. The scariest thing about these sulfates is that they can react with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, which is a carcinogen. Not to mention that it also causes skin irritation. 

Propylene Glycol

While it is an organic alcohol, it is also a skin irritant. It has been known to cause hives and dermatitis. It is found it moisturizers, makeup, conditioners, and shampoos. While not as harmful as some of the others, its common use makes it one to watch out for.


Flammable, strong-smelling, and used in the mortuaries. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? It has been labeled as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. Typically it is used for industrial products such as insulation materials. However, it can be found in nail polish, body washes, cleansers and eyeshadows.  

Synthetic Colors

Just about all products have artificial coloring. It makes the product more appealing to the consumer. Synthetic colors are made from petroleum and coal sources. They are considered human carcinogens, skin irritants, and linked to ADHD in children. Even the European Union has banned the use


A petrochemical derived from petroleum and coal sources. It’s often on labels at benzene, phenyl methane, or methylbenzene. It is so potent that is can dissolve paint and paint thinners. Not only does it affect your respiratory system, cause nausea and irritate the skin, it may cause developmental damage in fetuses.  


Aluminum is commonly found the deodorants, feminine hygiene products, and body sprays. It has been found to be a contributing factor to both Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. Essentially, aluminum clogs the pores for a short time. Because the pores are plugged up, your body can’t remove toxins from the body through sweat and oils. Thus, it causes your body to reabsorb the toxin into the bloodstream.
Scared now? Yeah me too. Reading articles and doing research like this is exactly why I decided to switch to a natural lifestyle. We are already so susceptible to contracting disease and conditions, I sure didn’t want to help in that aspect. I started making my own products and even sell them in my Etsy store now. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it is a good start! Read the labels when you go to a store and try to look for “all-natural” products.  If you can start by cutting out these 10, then there’s a good chance you will cut others out as well!