Harmful Ingredients In Beauty Products To Avoid

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A lot of people don't realise that some beauty products actually contain harmful chemicals and ingredients. It's definitely worth being aware of this and staying away from them whenever possible, as a number of the ingredients listed below are linked to medical conditions or illnesses. I thought I would bring you this blog post to raise awareness of their usage and hopefully help you to make more informed choices when using beauty products.

Parabens are chemical preservatives that are most often found in makeup and toiletries such as shower gels, deodorants, and cleansers. They are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mould in these items, making them last longer and more hygienic to use. However, parabens also have estrogen-mimicking elements that are linked to breast cancer. Although it is uncertain whether these two are directly connected, it's enough to cause concern with makeup lovers. There is also evidence that parabens might affect the nervous system and immune system, so it's safe to say that you should probably avoid them.

Mineral oil
Mineral oil is an ingredient commonly used in moisturisers and other cosmetics. It is used as a cheaper alternative to using plant oils, but it doesn't have any benefits for the skin. It's a by-product of making petroleum that acts as a barrier on the skin, meaning it commonly leads to breakouts and causes problems to occur.

Silicones are a group of synthetic ingredients that can be used for a variety of different purposes, usually those related to hair. This involves waterproofing, retaining water, making the hair smooth and protecting the hair shaft. Although these can sound like good properties, they can weigh the hair down if used regularly and can build up in the environment, which is a cause for concern for environmentalists.

Phthalates help to hold a scent or a colour in a product, so they are often found in perfumes, hairspray and nail varnishes. They are known to disrupt your endocrine system by mimicking hormones and have been linked to some different health problems, with cancer being the main one. Their effects can lead to developmental and neurological damage, but are unfortunately hard to spot in an ingredients list.


Formaldehyde is used in many different cosmetics, whether that's for preventing the growth of bacteria, preservation or hardening. It is known to cause cancer, skin reactions and can be harmful to the immune system. These chemicals are often found in nail varnishes, body washes, shampoos, conditioners, cleaners and eyeshadows, with formaldehyde-free formulas being expensive and hard to find. Although they aren't extremely likely to make you ill, as they release small amounts of formaldehyde over time, it's definitely worth staying away from them.

Triclosan prevents bacteria from growing in your cosmetics, specifically those that could be found on your hands. This antimicrobial chemical is often found in bars of soap and deodorants, but not many people know that it can actually disrupt your hormones and irritate your skin. Although this is a cause for concern, there isn't enough evidence to prove that washing your hands with soaps containing triclosan is worse than using products without.

Sulphates are commonly found in shampoos, body washes and cleansers and are essentially foaming agents. Not only have they been linked to skin irritation and dryness, but they are thought to release very low levels of carcinogenic by-products. This isn't a huge concern, as they release such small amounts, but large amounts of the same by-products can lead to kidney and respiratory damage. They also provide an environmental concern as they are produced from a non-renewable source.

Toluene is a solvent that is used in nail varnishes and helps to break down other components, making application smooth and even. It also helps to make your nails look glossy. However, it can affect your respiratory system, make you feel nauseous and irritate the skin. Long-term exposure to high doses of it have been proved to cause cancer, so it's definitely one to stay clear of if possible.

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