Toxic Skincare Ingredients To Avoid

Toxic Skincare Ingredients To Avoid




Products that we buy thinking that they will bring out the best in our skin can have the most toxic skincare ingredients out there. We always want the best for our skin, but do skin care companies care about it? They trick us by using the words “organic” and “natural” and at the same time use toxic skincare ingredients that are extremely harmful to our skin and our body!

On top of that, some products only mention 5-20% of their ingredients on their label and the rest of them are concealed under the name of “base QS” OR “Excipient”, and that’s how we know they have some nasty business to hide!




This so-called Ayurvedic Product only shows 20% of its ingredients. No additional list of products has been given and the rest of its ingredients are hidden under the name of Aqua QS. 



Whereas this product provides a list of all the ingredients in it without using the term “base” or “excipient”.


After realising how companies are deceiving us and making us buy toxic products, I decided to jot down all the toxic skincare ingredients that are commonly present in the items that we use in day to day life. 


Liquid Paraffin

  • Helps in retaining hydration. 
  •  It may cause breakouts in some individuals by clogging pores.

Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate

  • Protects skin from harmful effects of the sun. 
  • According to the EWG  it can cause mutations, and lead to cell death which can cause cardiovascular diseases and can cause allergic reactions (source).


  • Acts as a preservative and has antibacterial and anti-fungal effects. 
  • It can cause chemical burns and irritate the skin. It is used in concentrations of up to 15% in rinse-off products and 8% in other cosmetics (SOURCE).


  • It is used as a preservative at low concentrations.
  • The EWG lists it as a sensitizer and irritant. In 2016, the Canadian government and European Union banned MIT from leave-on products.

Propylene Glycol

  • It is responsible for the consistent texture of lipsticks, the viscosity of lotions & reatins the moisture content of skin.
  • It can cause cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and organ system toxicity, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption. It is classified as an irritant by the National Library of Medicine and the Material Safety Data Sheet . 

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

  • In cosmetics, it’s is used as a preservative.
  • It can cause serious damage to the lungs, liver and kidneys and may act as carcinogens. It is safe to use in low concentrations ranging from .01-.1%.


  • It is used as a buffering agent, fragrance ingredient, and surfactant. 
  • According to Cosmetic Ingredient Review, Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it is a human skin, immune system and respiratory toxicant  & can cause mutations, bladder and liver cancer.


  • They are used as preservatives as they prevent the growth of mould, fungus and parasites. They can be absorbed through the skin, and have often been found in breast cancer tumours. They may give rise to testicular cancer in men.

Polyethylene Glycol

  • It functions as a moisturizer, solvents and stabilizers. They encourage skin penetration which also leads to penetration of chemicals that PEGs contain.
  • According to the CIR committee, PEGs counteracts the skins defence mechanisms against antimicrobials. It can create skin rashes and contact dermatitis. Contaminants often found in PEGs are known carcinogens.

Cetyl Alcohol

  • It keeps the oil and water parts of an emulsion inseparable and gives good spreadability.
  • Patch test should be performed as it can cause irritation.


  • It works as surfactant and emulsifier.
  • According to International Journal of Toxicology, PEGs (including Trideceth-6) can cause uterine, breast, leukaemia and brain cancer (Source). Such products should not be used on broken or irritated skin.

Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid

  • It is a used in sunscreens and other products because of its ability to block UVB rays. 
  • It can interfere with cellular signalling. It can be used in concentrations up to 4% in the United States, and 8% in Europe (Source).

Benzoyl Peroxide

  • It is used in skin care products to clear pores and act as an anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agent (Medscape).It is widely used as an acne treatment with concentrations varying from 2.5% up to 10% (PubMed) above which can cause sensitization, redness and dry skin.


  • Triclosan is found in a large number of anti-bacterial products.
  • It may cause cancer, reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity, and can cause irritation, endocrine disruption, and organ system toxicity. (source) 


  • It is a skin whitening agent added to many brightening creams. 
  • The FDA proposed a ban from being sold in the US, following suit with Japan, Australia and the European Union. It is carcinogenic and may cause abnormal functioning of the adrenal glands and high levels of mercury. It may also cause ochronosis.


  • It functions as a photostabilizer and sunscreen. 
  • EWG  states that it can lead to increase in the production of harmful free radicals and an ability to attack DNA cells; which can lead to Melanoma. It may cause breast cancer, eczema and allergies.

Artificial Colours

  • They are made from coal tar which is carcinogenic and can cause skin sensitivity. Anything listed beginning with FD&C or D&C is not safe to buy.

Artificial Fragrances

  • They contain Phthalates which act as a hormone disruptor linked to reproductive defects, insulin resistance and developmental problems in children. Stick to products that are scented with essential oils instead.


Avoid these toxic skincare ingredients at all costs as their claims are just false! Invest in organic products but make sure you check out the ingredients!

Thank you! xo 🙂 

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