List of chemicals to avoid

Do you know what is contained in the personal care products which we use day in day out on ourself and on our loved ones? If you do not, it’s not too late to start noticing. Let’s start reading the labels and identify the ingredients.

Following is a list of the chemicals to avoid that are contained in many cosmetic, skin care and toiletries ingredients that you should stop applying to your skin from today.


It’s also known as PPD and it’s a chemical substance that is widely used as a permanent hair dye.

Why it is harmful?

PPD allergy reactions include redness, rashes, sores, burning sensations, itching and headaches.


It’s a synthetic chemical with antimicrobial properties which destroy bacteria or fungi.

Why it is harmful?

Triclosan is known as an endocrine disruptor and a suspected carcinogen. It’s being washed down our drains daily and affecting water life.

Vitamin A Palmitate- Retinyl Palmitate

Most found in skin creams, skin lotions and sunscreens. It belongs to the class of chemical compounds called retinoids.

Why it is harmful?

It could be making us susceptible to cancer. It may speed the growth of cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight and can spur excess skin growth, known as hyperplasia.


It’s primarily used in shampoos and lotions to provide lather which can also be found in brake fluid, degreasers and antifreeze.

Why it is harmful?

DEA and its compounds cause mild to moderate skin and eye irritation. High doses of it can cause liver cancer and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid.

It’s a solvent used in the printing industry as a thinner for paints, inks, and adhesives. In the cosmetics industry it is used as a fragrance ingredient and solvent.

Why it is harmful?

Exposure to xylene can occur via inhalation, ingestion, eye or skin contact. It is slowly absorbed through intact skin, but percutaneous absorption may contribute to total body burden.


It’s used as a preservative in cosmetic products. It prevents mold and bacteria from growing in these products.

Why it is harmful?

Formaldehyde is considered a known human carcinogen. It can also create an allergic reaction in the skin.


Parabens are a group of synthetic compounds commonly used as preservatives in a wide range of health, beauty and personal care products.

Why it is harmful?

It’s a potential endocrine disruptor due to their ability to mimic estrogen and because of this, it’s effective in disrupting our hormones system.


It’s used to soften PVC plastic and as solvents in cosmetics and other consumer products. Mostly found in deodorants, perfumes/colognes, hair sprays and moisturizers.

Why it is harmful?

They are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and are reproductive disruptors.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)

It’s used as a foaming agent and detergent in many skin care products.

Why it is harmful?

SLS is known to be skin, lung, and eye irritant. It also has the potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen.

Sodium Laureth Ether Sulphate (SLES)

SLES acts as a detergent and surfactant, creating the 'lather' in many personal care products, including shampoos and toothpastes.

Why it is harmful?

SLES dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. With this, it allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin.

Naturally found in crude oil, It is used in cosmetics, nail polish, hair color/bleaching products and personal care products.

Why it is harmful?

It’s known to disrupt the immune and endocrine systems and fetal development. More serious effects of it are reproductive damage and respiratory complications.


It is a mineral in your bones and teeth. It’s also found naturally in the following such as air, rocks, water, plants and soil.

Why it is harmful?

It has benefits to keep our bones and teeth healthy. However, ingestion of fluoride more than the recommended limit leads to toxicity and adverse effects. Dental fluorosis is the most common disorder caused by fluoride.

Alcohol includes ethanol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and SD alcohol used to as quick-drying finish agent and instant de-grease on skin.

Why it is harmful?

It can lead to an increase in bumps, increased oiliness and enlarged pores. It’s also drying and irritating to the skin, but may be cytotoxic.

Mineral Oil

It’s a derivative of petroleum. It can be found in lotions, creams, ointments, and cosmetics.

Why it is harmful?

Mineral oil is carcinogen and because of the barrier effect it has on skin, mineral oil can also clog pores. It damages the skin barrier and increases water loss.

It is used to absorb moisture, smooth or soften products, prevent caking, and make makeup opaque.

Why it is harmful?

Deposits of talc are commonly contaminated with asbestos and it’s carcinogenic. Talc is also associated with other cancers in addition to mesothelioma, including ovarian cancer and lung cancer.

Perfume/ Parfum

Synthetic fragrances are chemicals used in personal care product fragrances. It gives out pleasant smells to perfumes, scented soaps and many more.

Why it is harmful?

Fragrance ingredients may be derived from petroleum or natural raw materials. Synthetic fragrances have been detected in human breast milk, body fat, blood, and umbilical cords. It can disrupt cell functioning and hormone systems.


It’s also known as benzonephenone-3, and can be found in commercial chemical sunscreens, lip balm and nail polish. It used to protect the products from UV light.

Why it is harmful?

It has been linked to hormone disruption and has the potential to damage cells that may lead to skin cancer.


This ingredient is commonly used as a bleaching product.

Why it is harmful?

It has been found to be toxic to the immune system and can also disrupt hormones.


Methylisothiazolinone, known as MIT, is commonly found in skin care products like lotions and sunscreens.

Why it is harmful?

Lab rats showed serious toxicity problems when exposed to high concentrations of MIT, such as swollen intestines and reddened lungs. Some rats died. Factory workers who are exposed to MIT are the highest concern, but consumers who use products containing MIT are also encouraged to discontinue use.


Used in hair straightening products.

Why it is harmful?

Chronic exposure to formaldehyde can cause issues with the nervous system. In high concentrations, it can also affect a person’s likelihood of contracting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS,) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Can be found in cosmetics as a skin lightening agent and preservative.

Why it is harmful?

Mercury is prohibited in cosmetics products because it can be harmful to health. It can be absorbed into the body and cause damage to the kidneys and nervous system, disrupt brain development of young or unborn children and causes rashes, irritation and other changes to the skin. Other effects include anxiety, depression, psychosis and nerve damage that can result in pain or numbness in the hands, arms, legs and feet.

Many personal care products contain a form of ammonia - most commonly ammonium chloride. It’s added to shampoos, hair colours, liquid hand soap, and body wash in order to create a thicker lather and make the products themselves thicker and more viscous.

Why it is harmful?

Long-term exposure to ammonia fumes can cause obesity, depression, and social anxiety disorder. Daily exposure to ammonia can cause high blood pressure, pulmonary oedema, and bronchitis. Continued contact with ammonia hydroxide will dry the skin and damage skin cells and eventually cause serious skin complications. Exposure to ammonia fumes can damage the eyes, liver, kidneys, and lungs. Even brief exposure to ammonia fumes can trigger asthma and irritate or amplify allergies.

With the ability to create grip and smoothness for the skin, lead has been added to the composition of cosmetics.

Why it is harmful?

Science indicates there is no safe level of lead exposure. Lead is a neurotoxin and can be dangerous at small doses. Medical experts are clear that any level of lead exposure is unhealthy.