A Pinch Of Thoughts

7 Dangerous Ingredients In Skincare And Makeup Products You Absolutely Want To Avoid

Environmental Working Group highlights that a woman averages using 12 products that have 168 ingredients on a daily basis. Unfortunately, some are carcinogens and some can cause the appearance of birth defects. Some of the ingredients disrupt the endocrine system and this makes your body have problems with naturally balancing hormones.

The reason why I mentioned this is that it highlights that all of us should be really careful with all cosmetic products we use. We have to research them and be fully aware what we use. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some dangerous ingredients that are found in way too many makeup and skincare products, ingredients you absolutely have to avoid.


These are used as preservatives and you can find them in literally anything from makeup to soap. When a product includes water, there is a good possibility a paraben is added to stop the growth of bacteria.

Some examples of parabens are methylparaben, isopropylparaben, and propylparaben. As you can easily notice, when you see the word paraben in an ingredient, the best thing you can do is to avoid it.

The big problem with parabens is that they act as estrogen inside the body. This can easily lead to some serious hormonal imbalances. There are even studies that link them to breast cancer, with methylparaben being the big culprit.

Artificial Fragrances

Unfortunately, artificial fragrances are found in most conventional cosmetic and skincare product on the market. This includes those that are supposed to be unscented.

The manufacturer is not required to discuss the actual ingredients inside fragrances. This is why you see labels like “parfum” or “fragrance” listed as ingredients. Avoid them at all costs since this might mean the product includes several allergens, irritants, endocrine disruptors, and carcinogens.

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Sodium Laureth Sulfate – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Foaming agents SLS/SLES appear in many personal care products. This includes shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics, and skincare products. These surfactants are causing skin irritation and can trigger allergies. Also, nitrosamines, a range of chemical products, appear as byproducts after sulphation. And 90% of all these nitrosamines are carcinogenic.


Most of us know that formaldehyde is dangerous but did you know that you might find it in your cosmetic products? It is often added as a preservative. This known carcinogen was linked to developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and asthma.

The big problem is that you might not know that formaldehyde is present as an ingredient. This is because it is found inside preservatives like DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl, and quaternium-15. This only shows how important it is to always read the labels and then learn all you can about the ingredients you know nothing about. The internet can help you with that.

Oxybenzone – Together With Other Chemical Sunscreens

This is one of the most important things you should know and you have to remember this section. Sunscreen is really important for us since it protects our skin from the harmful effects of sun rays. So, it is completely normal to want to use cosmetics with SPF protection. The problem is that chemical sunscreens are dangerous.

You can find sunscreen in 2 forms:

  • Chemical filters
  • Mineral filters

Most sunscreens use chemical filters. Examples of these include octocrylene, oxybenzone, and avobenzone. To highlight why you should avoid them, oxybenzone is a great example since it was shown to act as an endocrine disruptor. It even alters the function of your thyroid.

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The FDA researched the common chemical UV filters used in cosmetic products in 2019. It was shown that they are linked to negative birth outcomes, possibly cancer, reduced male fertility, and hormone disruption.

The following year, new research showed that 6 of the common chemical UV filters appear inside the blood and on the skin for weeks after being applied. In fact, oxybenzone concentrations were 180 times higher than the level of concern of the FDA for one application. After four days of using products with this filter on a regular basis, the number went up to 500.

All this should clearly show you why it is so important to avoid chemical sunscreens. This is especially the case with children. We can see oxybenzone included in SPF lotions, makeup, lip balm, and sunscreen products. You might even find some of it inside foundations that have SPF and tinted moisturizers.

Since you do need sunscreen protection, the best thing you can do is to use products with mineral filters. The mineral sunscreen works by protecting a strong barrier to protect from sun ray effects right on the skin surface. This is important since it means the filters do not enter the skin.

In order to locate the mineral-only sunscreens, just look at the list of ingredients. But do be careful since some products with “mineral sunscreens” as a label can also include some chemical UV filters beside the mineral UV filters.


This chemical is often found in hair dyes and nail polish. It is very volatile, a petrochemical solvent you have to avoid since it is really toxic for your immune system. It can also cause some birth defects. When you are pregnant, you have to be careful and you need to entirely avoid all nail polish with toluene.

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The phthalate is basically a plasticizer. It is used as an addition to plastic in order to make it strong and stop it from being brittle. In cosmetic products, it is mainly used in fragrances. However, it can appear in other care products, like nail polish and hair sprays.

Some examples of phthalates to avoid include DEP, DEHP, and DBP. Similarly to parabens, the phthalate is an endocrine disruptor. It can lead to reproductive and hormonal problems, with birth defects also being possible.

Final Thoughts

The 7 dangerous chemicals we highlighted above are just some of the most dangerous you absolutely have to stay away from. But, this does not mean they are the only ones you have to be careful with.

Never buy something you do not know much about. We are talking about products you use on your skin so you do not want to end up faced with very bad health effects due to a lack of research. Just use the internet and articles like this one to stay informed. You will then be able to avoid all the dangerous ingredients.