Toxic Beauty Products in your cupboards. Know what you are applying…

Today I am writing about the dangerous toxins in regular everyday beauty products and how they can affect us. I think people need to be more aware of the dangers and so I am going to explain what the worst offenders are and how to spot them. The truth is, most people don’t even look at the ingredients on their fave products and just assume if they have passed the tests they are obviously safe. Unfortunately, there is a massive amount of leniency given to the companies as to what they may use. I recently watched a documentary on just how many chemicals are in our beauty regime and learned the ugly truth about cosmetics in todays market. It was called “Our Chemical Lives”.

A lot of people assume that the small amount of these chemicals will not affect the body as it is in such small quantities that it should do no harm. That is where they are wrong. Our skin absorbs 60% of whatever topical lotion or product you use. When you read on you will be most likely shocked and dismayed by the amount of chemicals in one single product. Some of these ingredients are downright hazardous to your health and I believe people should be made aware and then be presented with the information. At least when you are informed then you are the one who chooses what to apply and not be simply bowled over by clever marketing and even fake organic claims.

According to statistics, the average woman uses 9 products, wearing up to 200 chemicals a day. Do yourself a favour and check the labels, that way you can make an informed decision. You will probably end up binning a lot of products to be honest. Some of these products labelled as skin care with clever marketing ploys can sell pretty much anything once they have the right advertisers to show models and their perfect skin from using so-called wonder products in fancy packaging. You would have to wonder if they care about skin at all with the amount of preservatives, chemicals, parabens and metals some of them are using.

The FDA, to name one, are extremely lenient what is allowed on the market. Some of these products contain additives that are considered to be endocrine disrupters which can lead to hormone related cancers in adults and early onset puberty in girls. Autoimmune diseases and cancer as well as many other illnesses are linked to some of the toxins involved. I have composed a list of the main culprits below here –

Heavy metals (ie) lead, mercury, aluminium and cadmium can be commonly found in deodorants, shampoo and nasal sprays, quickly accumulating in the body

Parabens such as Methyl-, Propyl-, Butyl- and Ethyl-Paraben are found in most products, even baby lotion and these are the endocrine disrupters which affect hormones and may even lead to infertility, among other hormonal problems

VOCs which are common pollutants are present in shampoos, perfume, aftershaves, nail varnish remover, foams, hair products and more are known to cause headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, kidney and liver damage and disrupt the central nervous system

Phthalates are in many products such as perfume, aftershave, hair mousse, hairspray and many more are known to cause allergies including asthma, hay fever, wheezing, itchy rashes and also rhinitis

Synthetic Fragrance is present in scented cosmetics, soaps, shampoo, perfume, aftershave, deodorants and is linked to hormone disruption

Synthetic Colours ( listed as numbers with the prefix CI ) are added to products for the colour alone and add no further effect but are often carcinogenic. Note: There are mineral based colours so not all colours are nasty

Toluene is found in various cosmetics and nail varnish can cause headaches, respiratory problems, nausea and even vomiting

BHA and BHT Preservatives found in cosmetics to extend their shelf-life such as makeup, soaps, body lotion, etc. can cause allergic reaction, are another hormone disrupter and can increase your chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer

Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that absorbs quickly and is found in antiperspirants, cleansers, hand sanitiser and toothpaste. It is another hormone disrupter and is believed to cause resistance to common antibiotics

Isopropanol is a solvent and helps absorption of products into the skin, found in many cosmetics, shampoo, moisturisers, nail varnish and more. Studies show it is neurotoxic, skin drying and irritating and more importantly it is potentially toxic to the liver

Benzoyl Peroxide is a harsh antibacterial agent used to treat acne prone and oily skin. Can cause redness, irritation, itching and swelling. In some cases even blistering

Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives (ie) MDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methanamine, quaternium-15 and sodium hydroxymethlglycinate. Fun times remembering all those badboys! However, not funny. They are artificial preservatives to prolong shelf-life and in low doses can cause eye and skin irritation and trigger allergies. In larger doses the fumes are carcinogenic (cancer causing)

Retinyl Palmitate found in shampoos and body wash is linked to reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity and is a possible carcinogen

Quaternium-15 also found in shampoo and body wash releases carcinogenic formaldehyde

Paraffinum Liquidum AKA Mineral Oil sounds like a good choice, however it has recently been discovered to interfere with the body’s own natural moisturising mechanism and over time can lead to dryness and chapping. Found in moisturisers, makeup, baby oils and more due to its ease of use and water loss prevention. It is abundantly cheap to buy so companies use it a lot

Propylene Glycol, PEG and PPG. These synthetic petrochemicals are added to many cosmetics to keep the product moist and make other components absorb better. Studies have linked them to eczema, hives and other allergic reactions. PEG compounds may be contaminated with carcinogen 1,4 dioxane

Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethenol and Cocamidopropyl Betaine found in shampoo and body wash are linked to skin and organ system toxicity as well as allergies

Petrolatum AKA Petroleum Jelly is used for its emollient properties and found in lipsticks, balms, moisturisers, haircare products and deodorants. It can interfere with the skins natural moisturising abilities and eventually cause dryness and chapping

Sodium Lauryl or Sodium Laureth Sulfate Detergents are foaming agents found in mousses, shampoo, body wash and even toothpaste and can cause irritation of the skin, dandruff, rashes and eye irritation. Sodium Laureth sulphate may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane

Parfum is in 95% of fragrances used in toiletries and cosmetics and are petrochemically made with dozens of separate ingredients. They are neurotoxic and can cause headaches, mood swings, depression, dizziness and skin irritation. Can even trigger asthma attacks. Perfume used to make me vomit when pregnant! Goes to show why.

MIT (Methylisochlorothiazolinone) is probably the longest word i have ever written in my life and is a preservative found in most cosmetics. It has caused an epidemic of skin reactions so that dermatologists have demanded it be removed from the production of cosmetics. It is also a neurotoxin and potential carcinogen

Siloxanes such as cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane and cyclomethicaone are silicone based compounds found in lotions and creams that form a film and temporarily make skin feel smoother. Some can disrupt hormones and this means they are potential carcinogens and reproductive toxins

Dibutyl Phthalate is a solvent found in nailvarnish and perfumes. Studies show it can cause developmental and reproductive abnormalities. It is toxic to the liver and kidneys. As a nail biter and nail varnish wearer I am stunned and horrified. My liver and kidneys get enough abuse from my drinking habits thanks!!

PVP/VA Copolymer is a substance that helps the product stick to the skin or hold hair in place. Found in hairspray, tanning products, styling aids, makeup, skin creams and toothpastes. If inhaled can cause plastic like particles to damage the lungs and prevents the skin to breathe.

I am quite sure there are a lot more to add to the list but frankly I don’t have the time or resources and I’m sure you aren’t about to go memorising them all. I am confident you get the idea. Those are just a few fine examples of what to expect.

I hope this list will be of some use, firstly because you deserve to know the level of toxicity in everyday cosmetics and secondly since it took me ages to write! Years ago before all these chemicals were to be found, cancer was practically unheard of. It is worth keeping in mind that there are chemicals in almost everything and on pretty much every surface you touch, therefore cannot be completely avoided. However, you do have a choice of what you directly apply to your skin.

Don’t be fooled by the lotions and potions that claim everything bar everlasting youth. Be sure to check the label or else opt for the safe bet which is certified organic products. Granted not all products can be 100% organic since that level is extremely hard to achieve but choose wisely and beware of products that claim to be organic yet use other toxins and fool customers into a false sense of safety. The long term effects of these toxins are not yet known but cosmetic companies are not required to warn you.

A certified organic stamp is the only way to be sure you are getting real organic products.  There is a huge range of genuinely natural skincare and cosmetics available. You can also make your own products with natural ingredients to be sure of what you are putting on your body. There is no excuse for the use of toxic components when there are perfectly good natural alternatives. You do not have to compromise your health in order to have beautiful skin, hair and nails or in order to smell great and stay looking young.

I hope this is an eye-opener for people and that you will take care and remember that its important to look after your skin the right way. I am using as many organic products i can find in order to replace ‘my once toxic waste ground’ of a bathroom cupboard and I’m feeling much better about my detoxed life. Im going to write a post soon on how I detoxed my life and the steps to achieve it so stay tuned!

Please feel free to comment if you have anything you would like to add to this. I myself was amazed by the contents of my seemingly good skincare and hair products. Thats why i chose to go down the route of genuine natural and organic products.

Thanks for reading and if you would like to know more about award-winning organic and natural products, do email me through here. I’ll be more than happy to help and give you my product knowledge based on what you need. Find me here at uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/ciaradoran

Laters x

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24 Comments

    1. Thanks for your comment Ashley, i agree it is really scary! And not only the FDA it seems to be the case everywhere. Being aware of it is most important. At least you have choice once you know what you’re applying…

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Who would have known that all those chemicals would be in beauty products? I have been using all natural products for a while now and everyone needs to consider it!

    1. Mindy i totally agree, i started using all natural products a few years back and noticed my skin improving immediately. I suffered from acne in my teens and well into my 20s and tried tonnes of products over the years. I believe it was only when i finally decided to try organic and natural skincare that it was all my skin needed! I never looked back

  2. Yes! It is CRAZY what is in our products! Over the last 4 years I’ve been switching out as many of our household and personal care products as possible to try to get the toxic chemicals out and off of us.

    1. You are right to Caitlin, that documentary My Chemical Life was a big eye opener for me. I had no idea there are chemicals on almost every surface and even in our food, so why would you want to add any more?!

  3. Good post. I’ve switched to all natural products long time ago. I really try my best to avoid any of these toxic chemicals. I’ll bookmark this for future reference as it’s hard to remember all the names 🙂

    1. Same here Kasia, they are hard to avoid but when you really think about it its quite worrying. Its hard to remember the names so thats a good idea!

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I’ve switched to 100% natural products with ingredients I can pronounce and recognize 🙂 It has made a huge difference to my skin. I barely have any rosacea flare ups now. Thanks for sharing this list as more people need to be made aware

    1. Glad to hear it Isabelle, i was a bit sceptical about how effective natural products would actually work in improving my skin. Needless to say i was over the moon when i realised how much better my skin was without all the harsh chemicals. Especially when u read how detrimental they can be to your health. I really feel better having detoxed my body from all the pollutants – and it shows.

  5. Yes totally agree. We have so strick laws over here for food etc. But makeup and skincare isa different story. I’m trying to use natural products only now for skincare

    1. Hi Tash, very true, people are a lot more aware of chemicals in food production and the organic food is tested vigorously in order to obtain organic status.Unfortunately organic branded cosmetics are often deceiving to people as they’re not regulated enough. Check out my Facebook page Ciara Doran NYR Organic Independent Consultant@NYROrg for more info on the labelling of certified organic tested products as i just posted an article there. You will know what labels to trust and look out for

  6. Thank you for sharing ! This is so useful, I feel as if people really don’t pay attention to what is in their product and they need to !

    1. Hi Ell, thanks for your comment. That is so true, i think people just don’t realise since cosmetic companies are under no obligation to disclose, other than in the ingredients list. Its not something they want us to know, which is a worry. I find myself reading the labels in horror when I’m shopping now!

  7. It’s scary how much junk they put into our products. I’ve been trying to make smarter decisions but it can be so hard! Thanks for such in depth and informative post.

    1. Thanks Kimberley, I was really shocked to find out myself so thought i would spread the word. It is an eye-opener for sure

  8. I actually watched a show recently showing harmful products that women were using before (unaware of the fact that they were harmful of course) so I was wondering if the same is happening today. Thanks for sharing this article, it’s really useful.

    1. Yeah its still happening today and looks likely to continue Andrea, be careful when choosing your products. Thanks for the comment

  9. I have started to learn a little about organic and safe products for skin care but I feel like I need to go home and clean out my bathroom of all of these bad products.

    1. Thats exactly how i felt Kaylee, i wanted to bin most of my products and so i did! Talk about a detox, it felt great afterwards. It was hard to do considering most of them were expensive but when u really think about it its an easy choice. Always look out for organic certified products or make your own if you want to be sure. Check out my blog for DIY skincare or my online shop in the link. You will see the certification and know what to look for aswell. Cheers

  10. A very interesting post that I truly enjoyed reading. It is so important to know what we are putting on our faces. I always try to look for products that are organic but it isn’t always that easy to do.

    1. Hi Tessa, glad you like the article and thanks. You’re right about that, its very hard to find natural and organic products in shops. Thats why i make my own or else use certified organic products from Neal’s Yard. If you want to see more check out my blog, I’m always on the lookout for similar products and i love trying out homemade stuff. Im currently working on a little ebook so stay tuned or if you want to subscribe, even better. Organic and natural skincare doesn’t have to cost a fortune, in fact, it can save you money! Good luck in transitioning to organic skincare!