There are more than 82,000 chemicals in common cosmetics and personal care products. The skin is the body’s largest detox organ.  Using chemicals on your skin can hamper natural detoxification through the skin and increase the body’s toxic load.  

This is a list of the twelve worst toxins to avoid in your skin and body care products:

Artificial dyes and coal tar—these numbered dyes have names like yellow dye #5 or red dye #4 and are found in most cosmetics, body care products. Derived from coal tar, they also sometimes appear on the label as “CI” followed by 5 numbers such as “CI 75000.” They are potentially cancer-causing and contain heavy metals that are toxic to the brain.

Benzoates—Also known as  benzyl- or sodium benzoate

BHA and BHT— butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene. Both are potential carcinogens and hormone disruptors.

DEA, MEA, and TEA— these make products sudsy or creamy.  Diethanolamine, monoethanolamide, and ethanolamine react to form nitrosamines that are cancer-causing.

Dibutyl phthalate— Also found in baby care products phthalates have been linked to ashtha, birth defects, and cancer.

Fragrance— “fragrance” or “parfum” can actually contain up to 500 other ingredients, many of which are petroleum byproducts and have been linked to cancer, asthma, allergies, and nerve damage.

Lead—rarely listed but frequently found in cosmetics, especially lipsticks.  Check lipstick labels to ensure they say “lead-free.”  Lead harms the brain and nervous system and is difficult to eliminate once absorbed. 

Parabens—used to extend the shelf-life of products. Butyl-, ethyl-, isobutyl-, methyl-, and propyl- parabens ens have been identified to be hormone disruptors and a contributing cause of hormonally-linked cancer, and reproductive disorders. 

Petrolatum—found in many products including “petroleum jelly” 

Sodium lauryl sulphate—acts as a foaming agent and is frequently found in shampoo, body wash. Potential carcinogen.

Stearalkonium chloride—A cheaper ingredient commonly found in many conditioners and creams, caused allergic reactions..  

Toluene—an extremely toxic ingredient in nail polish that can damage the nervous system, blood, eye, liver, kidney, and respiratory system.  It may also affect a developing fetus.

Triclosan— an antibacterial additive that contributes to superbugs and antibiotic resistance