Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare - The Seven Offenders

Ingredient lists on skin care products are mind-boggling to the average (i.e., non-chemist) person, which makes the ever-growing list of ‘ingredients to avoid’, also hieroglyphics to most of us. How can we avoid what we can’t pronounce? Add to that the alarming reasons they’re being removed from products (hello infertility and cancer?) and it's enough to make your skin crawl.

The good news is, amid the growing research that is bringing forward all the alarming consequences of impossible-to-pronounce chemicals, there’s a general movement away from the bad stuff, from even the biggest manufacturers and retailers.

We have our own miles-long ‘Never-Ever’ list (see below) but we’ve highlighted our big seven offenders, along with their sometimes-frightening consequences. 

PFASs and PFCs  are a class of fluorinated chemicals that includes Teflon and they’re used in skin care to increase a product’s durability, spreadability, and wear and for negative reasons, nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they never break down, remaining present in the human body.  They’re linked to cancer and thyroid disease. When scanning labels, look for ingredients with “flouro” in the name.

Phthalates (DEP, DBP, DEHP) are considered to be potential endocrine disruptors and pose reproductive and carcinogenic risks. DEP is used in fragranced products but often missed because it is given cover under the umbrella of the term ‘fragrance’. Phthalates have been banned from cosmetics in the EU, but still remain prevalent in U.S. products. 

LINKS TO CANCER

Parabens are a group of chemical preservatives used to prolong their shelf lives by hindering the growth of mold and microorganisms. Common parabens (used in skincare products) include:

  • Butylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Ethylparaben

Not only are there links to breast cancer, but they are known endocrine disruptors, meaning they mimic estrogen in the body, which can lead to hormonal imbalances and infertility. 

Polyethylene glycols or PEGs are used in skincare as emulsifiers, surfactants, cleansing agents, and skin conditioners. PEG’s can cause skin irritation however they are not necessarily, inherently dangerous. Their potential to be harmful depends on their manufacturing processes and the fact that they can be contaminated with measurable amounts of two suspected carcinogens: ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. 

Formaldehyde is sometimes used as a chemical preservative to prevent bacterial growth and should definitely be avoided in skincare. Reactions have the potential to range from rashes (or at high levels or with prolonged exposure) to cancer. 

COMMON ALLERGENS / BAD FOR SENSITIVE SKIN

Synthetic Fragrances are included on our list because they are so often a source of skin irritation. Add to that, the lack of transparency in artificial fragrance sources. Manufacturers use thousands of fragrance components without regulation mandating visibility. 

Sodium laureth sulfate, or SLS is a foaming agent and can cause irritations to the skin and eyes and is known to contain toxic ingredients.  Those of us who color our hair generally avoid sulfates because they fade the color faster. So while not considered dangerous, it can be an irritant and like synthetic fragrance, problematic for those of us with sensitive skin.

At Clark’s Botanicals, we conform our products to the highest industry standards and to several clean lists including Credo, Follain and Sephora as well as Prop 65 in California. Our products are thoughtfully formulated and in addition to being clean, they're made with a conscience. We are:

  • Not tested on animals 
  • Not harmful to the environment
  • Gluten free
  • Naturally derived and formulated in a Glycerin base
  • Fragranced naturally

Our Never-Ever List  (As of March, 2022)

1,4 Dioxane

2-Methoxyethanol

Acrylamide

Acrylates

Aluminum Chlorohydrate

Aluminum Compounds

Aluminum Powder

Aluminum Salts

Aminomethyl Propanol

Ammonium Laureth Sulfate

Animal Derived Ingredients

Animal Fat and Musk

Animal Oils/Musks/Fats

Benzalkonium Chloride

Benzophenone

Benzophenone Related Compounds

BHA

Bromostyrene

Butoxyethanol

Butyl methacrylate

Butylparaben

Calcium Disodium EDTA

Carbon Black

Ceteareth-20

Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical UV Blocks

Coal Tar

Cyclic Silicones

Cyclohexasiloxane (D6)

Cyclomethicone

Cyclopentasiloxane (D5)

Cyclotetrasiloxane (D4)

DEA

Deastyrene/acrylates/dvbcopolymer

Diazolidinyl Urea

DMDM Hydantoin

EDTA

Emulsifying wax

ETA

Ethanolamines

Ethoxylated Ingredients

Ethyl acrylate

Ethyl methacrylate

Ethylene Oxide

Formaldehyde

Hydroquinone

Hydroxypropyl methacrylate

Insoluble Plastic Microbeads

Isopropylparaben

Lead

Lead Acetate

Liquid Paraffin

MEA

Mercury compounds

Methoxyethanol

Methyl Cellosolve

Methyl methacrylate

Methylchloroisothiazolinone

Methylisothiazolinone

Methylparaben

Mineral Oil

Nanoparticles

Nitromusks

Octinoxate

Oxybenzone

Parabens

Paraffin

Paraffin Wax

PEGs

Perfluorinated compound

Petrolatum

PFAS

PFC

Phenoxyethanol

Phthalates

Placenta Extract 

Polyacrylamide

Polycyclic Musks

Polysorbate-20

Polysorbates

Propanol 

Quaternium-15

Resorcinol

Retinyl Palmitate

SLES

SLS

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate

Sodium styrene/divinylbenzene copolymer

Styrene

Styrene oxide

Synthetic Fragrance

Talc

TEA

Tetrahydrofurfuryl methacrylate

Tetrasodium EDTA

Thimerisol

Toluene

Triclocarban

Triclosan

Trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate

Trisodium EDTA

Undisclosed Synthetic Fragrances



Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published