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12 Toxic Compounds found in Beauty and Skin Care Products

12 Toxic and Carcinogenic Compounds Found in Beauty and Skin Care Products

Benzoyl Peroxide:

Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in acne products. It has been shown to produce DNA damage in human and other mammalian cells. It is toxic by inhalation and is an eye, skin and respiratory irritant. In addition, it may be a tumor promoter.

FD&C Color Pigments:

Coloring agents that have been synthesized from coal tar contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins onto the skin. This can cause irritation and increase skin sensitivity. In animal studies, almost all of these synthetic colors have been shown to be carcinogenic.

Propylene Glycol and Butylene Glycol:

These are plastics made from petroleum. It is a toxic material and the EPA requires full protective gear (gloves, clothing, goggles) before burying in the ground! The EPA also warns against getting the product on your skin to prevent brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.


TEA is used to increase foam in cleansers and to adjust pH in creams. It is a known eye and skin irritant and will also cause contact dermatitis. It is easily absorbed by the skin and accumulates in the organs of the body and the brain.

Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl):

Used as preservatives in creams and lotions. Used in deodorants & other skin care products. Parabens have been found in cancerous breast tissue in both men and women. There is growing suspicion that parabens can contribute to sterility in males, hormone imbalance in females and early puberty in both boys and girls.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

Both of the above are used as foaming agents and degreasers in shampoos. They are also used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. Because of their high foaming ability, they are in more than 90% of all personal care products that foam. They have been linked to eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea and skin irritation.


Dioxin is in antibacterial ingredients like triclosan, emulsifiers, PEGs and ethoxylated cleansers like SLES. Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. They are persistent environmental pollutants and they accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of mammals. It will not be listed individually on the ingredient list but is enclosed in the ingredients listed above.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG):

PEG is the ethyloxated product of Propylene Glycol. It contains dangerous levels of Dioxin. PEGS are used in many skin products including skin care, naby care and sunscreen products.

Sunscreen chemicals:

Sunscreen chemicals are made up of avobenzone, benzophenone and ethoxycinnamate are known to generate free radicals which can then lead to DNA damage and cancer.

DMDM Hydantoin & Urea (Imidazolindinyl):

Both of these are compounds used as preservatives but the release formaldehyde which has a variety of effects on the human body. These include joint pain, skin reactions, cancer, allergies, headaches, chronic fatigue, chest pains, ear infections, depression, dizziness and insomnia.


Phthalates are usually not listed on the label. Phthalates are now forbidden from children’s toys but still included in baby care! They can cause birth defects, damage to liver and kidneys, decreased sperm counts as well as early breast development in children.


Triclosan is listed by the EPA as a pesticide that damages human health and the environment. It is used as an antibacterial agent in in creams and lotions. It is classified as a chlorophenol which are suspected of causing cancer in humans.

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