Toxic Skincare Ingredients to avoid:

The personal care products, cosmetics, shampoos, and other products we put on our bodies can be just as harmful as anything we put in them. Ingredients found in face washes, sunscreens and more have been linked to everything from hormonal disruptions to cancer, and what’s worse is that they go directly into your bloodstream when applied to the skin or hair. While there are certainly lots of studies with different perspectives on this topic, everyone can agree that using cleaner more natural products is the safest bet for you and the environment.

You can shop with Beauty Warrior safely knowing that all our products are completely free of ingredients on our naughty list.

(Also listed as Methylparabens, Propylparabens, Butylparabens, Ethylparaben)

Parabens are a whole family of chemicals that help preserve shelf-life of products.  Parabens can mimic estrogen in the body disrupting our delicate hormonal balance. They have  been linked to breast cancer, and since they act as a hormone disruptor they can lead to reproductive and fertility issues. Also a possible skin irritant and immune toxicants

(Also known as - (DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP and anything with Phthalate in its name).

Phthalates group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics in cosmetics. This helps products stick to our skin. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and respiratory toxicants. These  may cause birth defects, male infertility and allergies associated with the skin, eyes and lungs  Congress in the US has actually banned several types of phthalates. Phthalates are  banned in the EU and California in children’s toys, but are still  present in many fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, lot


This one doesn’t sound so scary, but “fragrance” is considered a trade secret which means that companies don’t have disclose what ingredients are inside. Often, the ingredients include tons of chemicals that can cause allergies, hormone disruption and lead to bigger health problems such as reproductive issues and infertility.

Federal law doesn’t require companies to list on product labels any of the chemicals in their fragrance mixture. Recent research from Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name-brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label. Fragrances can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world.  Buy fragrance-free wherever possible.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
( Also known as SLS and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate SLES)

SLS and SLES are known to cause skin irritation and trigger different allergies

( Also known as Butylated Hydroxyanisole, Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
These are synthetic antioxidants that are used to extend shelf life and are possible  carcinogens and hormone disruptors.

Retinyl Palmitate
(Also known as  Vitamin A)
It might help soften wrinkles, but it’s got some negative sides too. Often Dr’s will recommend pregnant women stop using any products with retinol and vitamin A. It turns out that it may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used on your skin.

Lead is a heavy metal and is a neurotoxin. It can cause serious behavioral and learning problems. It has already been removed from things like paint and gasoline, but not the things we’re putting on skin. It can still be found in things like lipstick and lip gloss as well as nail polish.  

(Also listed as Diazolidinyl, urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Methylisothiazolinone, Quarternium-15,Benzylhemiformal, Glyoxal,  Methenamine, Polyoxymethylene Urea, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate,  Tosylamide/formaldehyde, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol),  5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3 Dioxane)

Commonly used in cosmetics. It is a known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRP’s) preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth. This chemical was deemed as a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) and has been linked to occupational related cancers: nasal and nasopharyngeal. It is known to cause allergic skin reactions and it may also be harmful to the immune system. It can be found in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments.

Derived from crude oil, the concern around petrolatum is that it can be contaminated with PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) which are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and organ system toxicity. Ingredients to look for and avoid: mineral oil, paraffin wax, liquid paraffin, liquid petrolatum, mineral grease and mineral jelly.

 Found in antibacterial products, hand sanitizers, and deodorants. Triclosan is a preservative and anti-bacterial agent. This is a concern for potential endocrine disruption and can impact thyroid function, organ system toxicity and skin, lung and eye irritants. Regular use can also contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Restricted in Canada and japan

Toluene is a known neurotoxicant, petrochemical solvent and paint thinner. There are concerns about its links to reproductive harm, developmental and immune toxicity, respiratory complications and possible links to blood cancer. Toluene is often found in nail polish and hair dyes.

Also listed as SD alcohol, ethanol, isopropyl, methanol, ethyl alcohol, CETEARETH-30 Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40): This solvent can strip your skin of its natural oils which act as an immune barrier and help to retain moisture. Using products containing this ingredient can dehydrate your skin and make it more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses while also accelerating ageing of the skin. Look out for these terms on your ingredients list:

Ethanolamines These ingredients (including DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA) may be contaminated with chemicals like Nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer.

Ethoxylated Ingredients These ingredients are synthetically produced using Ethylene Oxide, a carcinogen. 1,4-Dioxane, another carcinogen, often contaminates the Ethoxylated ingredients, but 1,4-Dioxane itself doesn’t appear on ingredient labels. To avoid Ethoxylated compounds look for these common ingredients listed on labels (although many more exist too):

Ceteareth-20, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, and most ingredients ending in “-eth”

Emulsifying wax: This is usually a blend of Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60 or Ceteareth-20

PEGS: (Polyethylene Glycol) compounds. There are over 1000 PEG ingredients listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients Database • Polysorbate-20, etc

Polyethylene glycols are petroleum-based compounds used as thickeners, solvents and moisturisers. These are possibly contaminated with known carcinogens ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. PEG’s are often found in shampoo, bubble bath and liquid soap.

This guy is a skin lightening chemical that reduces the production of melanin and hyperpigmentation. It’s a potential carcinogen, linked to organ toxicity and skin irritation. Hydroquinone is often found in nail polish, facial creams and cleansers, skin lighteners and hair conditioner.

Coal Tar
Often found in anti-dandruff and psoriasis shampoo’s. A known carcinogen and skin and organ toxicant.

The Environmental Working Group is a fantastic resource to be able to check safety of ingredients in personal care products.