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6 Toxic Ingredients To Avoid In Skincare Products

More often than not, we tend to pay more attention to watching what we eat over what we apply on our bodies when in fact, we should be giving them the same level of attention.

Just as the body consumes food through the mouth, the body also absorbs the active ingredients in skincare products through the skin.


This is what allows these ingredients to function effectively. In the same way, if these products were made of harmful toxins and chemicals, they would also be absorbed by the body which could, in the long run, lead to skin problems. As a guide, here are six (6) toxic ingredients to look out for in your skincare and beauty products:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Also known as SLS, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is one ingredient that can be found in shampoo, body wash, foundation, toothpaste and other skin/beauty care products. It is one of the most irritating cleansing agents used in skin care products and holds a place as the standard ingredient used in labs to test for skin irritation.

SLS is a well-known cause of skin irritation, canker sores, acne, disruption of the skin’s natural oil and other skin problems. This is why it is best advised to opt for chemical-free and natural skincare products or check to confirm that the products you already use do not contain SLS.


Also found in scrubs, body wash, makeup and toothpaste, polyethene is another ingredient to look out for when choosing skin and beauty products. The tiny plastic beads in the face or lip scrubs, as well as exfoliating washes, are made from polyethene which may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1, 4-dioxane a likely human carcinogen.

Polyethene is a well-known skin irritant and is even more harmful on injured skin. They have been linked to hormonal imbalances, early puberty, male sterility and have also been found in breast cancer tissues.
Synthetic Fragrances

The term “fragrance” is a legal loophole that allows manufacturers to use whatever chemicals they want. Often an unmentioned mixture of petrochemicals, allergens, irritants as well as a cocktail of carcinogens synthetic fragrances could dry up and irritate the skin. Also, they might contain phthalates used in stabilising them, which are possible carcinogens (causes of cancer) in both humans and animals.

Hence, opt for products with natural fragrance and essential oil blends which are obtained from plants without affecting their chemical structures.


Most liquid soaps are antibacterial and often contain Triclosan. People have, however, developed the tendency to link antibacterial and healthy together. There is no scientific evidence which proves that antibacterial soaps are more effective at illness prevention than washing with plain soap and water.

Studies have also shown that Triclosan may contribute to the problem of antibacterial resistance. While it is understandable that frequent washing with soap could lead to skin dryness. As an alternative, consider washing with mild soaps this would keep your skin moisturised while still carrying out its functions.


These are preservatives found in most skincare products including soaps, lotions and makeup. Most products made with water usually have Parabens which act as a preservative to stop bacteria from growing. These Parabens include Propylparaben, Isopropylparaben and Isobutylparaben.

It is advised that you avoid products with Parabens as they are well known endocrine disruptors mimicking estrogen which often leads to hormonal imbalances and, in some cases, breast cancer. Steer clear of any and all products with Parabens as the harmful effects may be irreversible.


A foaming agent, Diethanolamine is a well-known foaming agent which also doubles as a carcinogen and respiratory toxin. This is why it has been restricted for use in personal care products. These chemicals are hormone-disrupting and can be absorbed by the body through the skin. They are also a common cause of allergic reactions that dry up the skin and hair and also irritate the eye.

Harmful ingredients are unfortunately common in skincare products. This is, however, not to say that they must be used. Instead, while keeping an eye out for these ingredients in skincare products you might want to use, you can opt for an alternative option. That is, you can choose natural, organic skincare products to care for your skin as it should.

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