16 Naughty List Ingredients

One of the first things I did 20 years ago when my health plummeted and I was thrown into a world of natural healing was read labels.  Food, skin care, cosmetics...wow, the junk that's in everything!   There were so so so many ingredients I couldn't pronounce and unfortunately, still can't.

With each cosmetic formula I work on, my goal in the final product is to use the best quality ingredients I can find for the job, leave out any ingredient that's simply a filler and keep the ingredient list short and readable 

So here's a list of 16 toxic ingredients that are commonly found in beauty products and it should be obvious why you won't see them in A'del formulas!  

1.  Diethanolamine (DEA) - An ingredient used to make cosmetics creamy or sudsy.  You'll find it in lotions, soaps and shampoos.  The danger comes in not when it's used alone but in combination with other ingredients.  It can create a carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA).  NDEA can easily be absorbed through the skin and has been linked to stomach, bladder, liver and esophagus cancers.  

2.  Parabens - Parabens are commonly used to help prevent yeast, mold, and bacteria from growing in cosmetic products. While this may sound like a great idea at first, this ingredient has actually been linked with hormonal imbalances, early puberty in females, and an increased risk of breast cancer. Even less fortunate is the fact that parabens can be found in a huge variety of products, including makeup, deodorant, shampoo, body washes, and more. A study from the FDA states that parabens aren’t dangerous at extremely small levels but with thousands and thousands products containing parabens, getting up to a higher level wouldn't be difficult.  This ingredient goes by a number of names, so be sure to avoid anything that uses methylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, and isopropylparaben.

3.  Formaldehyde - Otherwise know as DMDM hydantoin diazolidinyl urea, imidazalidol urea, sodium hydroxmethlglycinate, N-(Hydroxymethyl), glycine, monosodium salt and quaternium-15.  Formaldehyde was categorized as a human carcinogen in the middle of 2004 and is known to cause irritated throats, eyes and noses as well as the cause of cancer and asthma with recurrent usage.  Found in nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos. 

4.  Phthalates – Phthalates have been a hot topic of discussion because they disrupt the endocrine system which can cause reproductive and neurological side effects in men and women. Although most famous for their use in baby teethers and bottles, it is also used in nail polish and a few other cosmetics. It is not very easy to spot this on labels, but look for names such as DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate).  

5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)– A foaming agent widely used in soaps and shampoos, SLS and SLES are skin, lung and eye irritants and have the potential to interact with other chemicals to form a carcinogenic compound called nitrosamines.  Watch out for this ingredient in shampoo, body wash, face wash and acne treatments.

6. Petrolatum – Even though it's been widely used for decades, this jelly like ointment or petroleum jelly is made from crude oil. It is frequently used in the cosmetic industry because basically it's really cheap. Some facts about this oily substance you might not know is that it actually provokes acne in your skin and can cause premature aging. On top of that, its immunity to contamination is low and it can be invaded by harmful substances such as 1,4-dioxane , a suspected toxin to humans.  

7.  Toluene – An industrial solvent used for manufacturing of paints, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and rubber and unfortunately your nail polish. Toluene is poisonous to the nervous system and breathing it in can cause you vertigo and headaches. There is major concern because of its links to birth defects and miscarriage, so salon workers are more at risk.  It's often hidden under fragrance.  Look for Toluene-free brands of nail polishes as a substitute instead.

8. Fragrance – Cosmetic companies can mask a vast range of synthetic chemicals under this label. Fragrance is mostly present in sunscreens, skin and body care, shampoos, and some baby products. Many of the compounds in fragrance are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. Symptoms included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritations. Medical research by physicians has related overexposure of fragrance to affect the central nervous system. There are reports of hyperactivity, changes in behavior, and depression.

9. Triethanolamine (TEA) – TEA is used to balance PH and is a common ingredient in cosmetics that are commonly named as gentle on the skin and are found in eyeliners, eye shadows, blush, mascara, foundation, hair dyes, hair care products, shaving products, and sunscreens. Its negative effects can be dry hair and skin, and red and irritated eyes. TEA is immersed into the body through the skin with regular use, and as a result can become toxic.

10.  Hydroquinone – This is a skin lightening ingredient that is illegal in Japan, Australia, and Europe. This chemical is allowed in personal care products in the U.S. with a concentration maximum of 2 percent. Hydroquinone is used in Asian and African skin-bleaching creams as well as those that claim to fade age spots as well. Because the chemical reduces Melanin, it also increases the penetration of UVA and UVB rays into the skin causing carcinogenic effects.

11. Talc – Everyone knows about this powder but are you aware that it may be infused with asbestos? And asbestos has been linked to cancer and respiratory problems.  Talc is present in everyday cosmetics such as foundation, eyeshadow, blush, along with deodorant and with large controversy, baby powder. The US Department of Health’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been pushing for talc to be classified as a carcinogen but their attempts up to date have been unsuccessful.

12. Nanoparticles – Besides adding it to bronzers, eye shadows and lotions, you can find them hidden in sunscreens as well. These tiny molecules do not have to be listed on product labels even though they can be absorbed into the blood stream. Be aware that powdered sunscreens or sprays can be inhaled easily and aggravate inflammatory responses, oxidative stress, and cell damage.

13.  Mineral Oil - Mineral oil is a very common ingredient in skincare, hair care and baby products.  You will find it in anything from moisturizers to foundation, lip balm to baby oil and in hair conditioners.  It is a cheap oil that is used as a filler and “moisturizer” in most products.  It's cheap to manufacture so that's why it's so widely used.  While Mineral Oil may appear to have a moisturizing effect, it actually seals the skin and prevents it from breathing.  It contains no nutrients whatsoever.

14.  Synthetic Colors - Used in all most cosmetics, lotions, soaps, shampoos, baby products and a host of other things, these colorants aren't pretty at all!    They are often linked to cancer causing agents.   You can spot them with names like FD&C or D&C followed by a number.  

15.  PEGs - PEGs (short for polyethylene glycols) are used in a variety of different cosmetics as thickeners. The reason this compound is worrisome is because its manufacturing process may contaminate it with ethylene oxide or 1, 4-dioxane, which are both carcinogenic compounds. Ethylene oxide can also cause harm to the nervous system and may interfere with human development. PEGs are most commonly found in cosmetic cream bases, but you’ll also find them in sunscreens and baby care items.

16.  Propylene Glycol & Butylene Glycol -  Propylene Glycol and Butylene Glycol are two more ingredients found in skin care products that can put you at risk of skin irritation and allergic reaction. Even very small concentrations have been found to cause dermatitis and hives. You’ll find these two ingredients in moisturizers, conditioners, shampoos, sunscreens, and hair sprays.

Of course, unfortunately,  I could go on and on.  The problem with these ingredients is not one or two in tiny amounts, it's the accumulated effect that is the cause for real concern.  Everywhere we look in our homes and businesses we are exposed to toxic chemicals.  

So the take home on this topic?..... read, read, read and learn as much as you can about the ingredients in your beauty products.   A good website to check out is ewg.org, if you haven't already!  It is packed with info on many ingredients and their toxicity ratings.     

Pretty bottles and packaging are great and we work hard at this, but remember....always measure a product by what's INSIDE....not the outside!  


(The A'del Blog and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The A'del Blog is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.)