10 Toxins in Everyday Products

By: Wendy Wu, R.D., M.Shappy dietitian

The more beauty products I try, the more I learn about all the toxins in the cosmetics I use. Boy is it a headache to stay clear of the long list of harmful chemicals! It’s like reading food ingredients but 10x worse. After much research, I’ve concluded that the following toxins are the most important to avoid.

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1) Fragrance– Allergen; Carcinogen

Where: Detergents, skincare, dryer sheets, air freshener, etc.

2) Parabens– Endocrine disruptor, neurotoxin; possible carcinogen

Where: deodorants, lotions, eye shadows, shampoos, facial cleansers, body washes, facial moisturizers, etc.

3) Coal Tar– Carcinogen

Where: shampoo, skin treatment, anti-redness creams, bath oils, conditioners, bath salts, bath soaks, etc.

4) Triclosan– Endocrine disruptor, allergen; may cause asthma and eczema.

Where: detergents, dish washing fluids, soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, creams, toothpaste, etc.

happy dietitian

5) Sodium lauryl sulphate– May cause skin irritation, eye irritation, rashes and hair loss. Can create nitrosamines which are carcinogenic.

Where: toothpastes, shampoos, facial cleansers, body wash, acne treatment, exfoliants, moisturizers, hair color/bleach, etc.

6) Phthalates– Toxic to the immune, nervous, and reproductive systems ( causes infertility, feminization of baby boys and sperm damage)

Where: “fragrance”, nail polish, nail treatment, etc.

7) Formaldehyde– Toxic to the immune and respiratory systems; carcinogen

Where: nail polish, baby soaps, eye lash adhesives, hair products, sunscreens, etc.

happy dietitian

8) Lead– A neurotoxin that can accumulate in the body over time.

Where: lipsticks, hair dyes, hair care, etc.

9) TEA (Triethanolamine)/ DEA (Diethanolamine)/ MEA (Monoethanolamine)– Endocrine disruptor; forms cancer causing nitrates.

Where: Shampoos and Bubble Baths

10) BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole)- Toxic to the liver, immune and nervous systems; possible carcinogen.

Where: lipsticks, lip glosses, facial creams, eye shadows, mascaras, etc.

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Now that you know what chemicals to avoid, let me suggest some alternatives.

Whole Foods Premium Body Care. They’ve listed 400 ingredients that are UNACCEPTABLE and not allowed on their shelves. So any product you buy will be safe.

-I’m also happy to share that there are 322 companies under “Compact for Safe Cosmetics” who pledge full transparency and to formulate their products with the least amount of harmful ingredients. I was curious as to why brands that I think are safe and “natural” like The Body Shop and Burt’s Bees were not on the list. Using EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, I found out that products from both brands contain harmful toxins. *Tsk Tsk* Not so natural after all.

-Just out of curiosity, I used the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database and searched “Johnson & Johnson Baby”. I was shocked by the results. Check them out here. You’d think the FDA would be all over this right? Wrong. So Wrong. The FDA really has no control over cosmetics that reach our shelves.

Great Video by Storyofstuff.org


Related Articles:

Cleanse Yourself with 8 Delicious Fresh Fruit Juices

(Organic Fruits preferred for Juicing or at least peel the skin off)

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Top Foods for Healthy Skin


12 thoughts on “10 Toxins in Everyday Products

  1. Oh thank you for putting this up. I was happy to see the lotion I use ALBA is on the good list! I’ve been searching for skincare that meets this criteria and am happy to see two different ones I might like to try are in stores near me. I thought Origins would’ve been on the list – but they are NOT! Dang – I like the way they work with my skin but will consider switching now that I’ve read this. I’m bookmarking this website!

      1. The Alba I’ve been using for years – lucky to have stumbled upon it. I’m going to try one either their facial skin care of the Jason one now and see how they work on my skin. I”ll stay in touch. I really was disappointed that Origins wasn’t listed on the list. I’ve turned many family members on to the ALBA it’s great stuff – body lotion.

  2. This is a great list and an excellent set of resources where people can check out their own products. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

    1. Not a problem. You know I’ve always heard that certain products are not good for us like air fresheners, etc but I was never shown alternatives. I’m glad that I can walk into whole foods and be worry free.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Ok can i just say this is brilliant!!! i really need to invest in some new cosmetics but want something natural that won’t upset my skin. Thanks for all the links 🙂 P.S. do you use any of the products yourself???

    1. Thanks! Some of the products I use contain harmful toxins. I’m starting to ween them out. When I used the database, my cosmetics ranged from low to moderate harm. I was shocked that the Johnson & Johnson baby products I use are high allergens. I bought them thinking they would be extra gentle.

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