10 Chemicals in your personal care products you should avoid!

10 Chemicals in your personal care products you should avoid!

27 July , 2016 0 Comments

10 Chemicals in your personal care products you should avoid!

I want you to think about this. What goes on your body, goes in your body……..let that ‘sink in’ for a minute (excuse the pun).


The average woman applies 12 products to their skin daily and absorbs around 168 chemicals (a 2007 study said the average woman absorbed up to 2kg of chemicals a year). Chemicals hidden in products like deodorants, shampoos and cosmetics (like lipstick and mascara), which are lovingly applied with gay abandon over every inch of skin.


Have you ever read the list of ingredients on the back of your shampoo/conditioner bottles? your foaming face wash cleanser? Ever wondered what Sodium Lauryl or Polyethylene Glycol really is? (or how to pronounce them?) And what the heck does DEA, MEA ,TEA and PEG mean? The chemicals listed below are synthetic. Some of them - like Sodium Lauryl and PEG - also moonlight as key ingredients in industrial cleaning agents. YIKES!

Currently, no regulation exists requiring cosmetic companies to prove these ingredients do not cause long term harm, and exposure to these chemicals has been linked with conditions as diverse as cancer, depression, asthma, diabetes and birth defects.

Below is a list of the 10 most common chemical ingredients found in your everyday personal care and makeup products…..go on and give your tongue-twisting pronouncing skills a workout.


  1. Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP). These are commonly found in synthetic fragrance, nail polish and hairspray. Its use, a class of plasticising chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to the skin.
  2. Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate. This chemical is found in your shampoos’, shower gels, bubble bath and face wash. It's used as a foaming agent and can irritate skin, eyes and the respiratory tract
  3. Parabens (METHYL, BUTYL, ETHYL, PROPYL). Found in your lipstick, mascara, foundation and eyeshadow and it's used is a preservative but also possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors.
  4. Mineral Oil (liquid petroleum, paraffin oil, white mineral oil). Found in moisturisers, foundations, lip balm, hair products, baby oil is 100% mineral oil! It lacks any nutrient benefits for your skin and is comedogenic, which means it will clog your pores and aggravate acne. It seals your skin (like plastic wrap) and prevents it from breathing.
  5. Synthetic Fragrances (Parfum). Found in a range of makeup and personal care products. Manufacturers are legally allowed to hide hundreds of chemicals in the ingredient "fragrance" or "parfum" in the products you apply to your skin. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.
  6. Urea and DMDM Hydantoin. Found in antiperspirants, nail polish, mascara, foundation and eyeshadow. These are preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde (in very small amounts) and are a primary cause of contact dermatitis.
  7. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG). Commonly found in cosmetic cream bases, they are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEG’s main functions are to dissolve oil and grease. Thus, on the body, they take the protective oils off the skin and hair, making them more vulnerable to other toxins.
  8. Triclosan. Found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps and deodorants. A synthetic antibacterial ingredient which is a skin and eye irritant. A highly toxic pesticide, It's also classified as a chlorophenol. In other words, it is in a cancer causing chemical class. Triclosan disrupts hormones, can affect sexual function and fertility and may foster birth defects. Triclosan has been linked to paralysis, suppression of the immune system, brain hemorrhages, and heart problems.
  9. Propylene Glycol. Found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays. Propylene Glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent. It’s classified as a skin irritant and penetrator and has been associated with causing dermatitis, as well as hives in humans
  10. DEA, MEA and TEA (Diethanolamine, Monoethanolamine, Triethanolamine). Commonly found in shampoos, soaps, bubble baths and facial cleansers. These ammonia compounds can form harmful nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. Used as foaming agents, synthetic stabilizers and to adjust the pH of cosmetics, they can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dry out your hair and skin.

Now, before you panic and start purging your bathroom of your personal care products and cosmetics there are a couple of things to note:


  • Just because a chemical is present, does not mean that it is harmful in the amount present. It’s the dose that makes the poison.
  • Chemicals (both naturally occurring and synthetic) are everywhere and in everything. It is impossible for personal care products to be chemical free.
  • I am by no means a toxicologist but I believe that knowledge is power. Go out and do your own research and make your own conclusions based on what you think is best for you. Be sure to check out the EWG’s Skin Deep Database to research toxic chemicals that could be in your cosmetic and personal care products. I also found this research review an interesting read, but even more interesting that it was partly funded by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson Pacific…...hmmm

The good news is that there are now so many incredible, natural alternatives on the market that making the switch has never been easier by choosing products with fewer chemical ingredients. Thankfully we're spoilt for choice nowadays when it comes to natural and organic products that are effective, affordable and accessible.


  • Avoid fragrance (parfum) when possible
  • Replace old nasties for new naturals. This can be a little overwhelming so do it a little at a time. So as one product runs out replace it with a healthier alternative. We love and recommend World Organics premium skincare and makeup range and they are BioGro Certified Organic!
  • Shop clean! Think Dirty® app is the easiest way to learn about the potentially toxic ingredients in your cosmetics and personal care products. Just scan the product barcode and Think Dirty will give you easy-to-understand info on the product, its ingredients, and shop cleaner options! Another great one to use is GoodGuide. They rate products on a 0 to 10 scale for their health, environment, and social impact - nice!
  • Use fewer products overall, especially on babies, children and while pregnant (see our makeup free blog)
  • Avoid with a ten-foot barge pole: Skin-lightening products, hair straighteners, dyes and perms - anything that changes the shape and color of hair for an extended period tends to be quite toxic chemistry

This short video on YouTube will also help give you the bigger picture of what this blog post is about.

We proudly boast that our Organic Coffee Body Scrubs use only natural ingredients so you don't have to worry about what nasty chemicals are in them. We list every ingredient used in the scrubs so you trust what you are putting on your body.


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