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They can make your pores bigger.


Make your skin dehydrated and dull. Your skin becomes less able to shed dead layers and hydrate itself.


Block other ingredients from absorbing. If you are layering products, silicones can prevent them from doing their jobs properly, impeding the absorption of beneficial ingredients in the same product.


Difficult to remove. Dimethicone is extremely heavy and leaves a coating on the skin unless it is carefully removed. 


Can cause acne and congestion. Prolonged exposure to oil, dead skin and bacteria underneath the semi-occlusive seal of silicones can lead to increased breakouts. If you are acne-prone, silicones are the most important ingredient to avoid. Silicones can also be a culprit in under-the-skin clogs (a.k.a. congestion), even if you do not develop full-blown acne.


Interferes with cell renewal. Our skin renews itself every 28 days, whereby old cells are sloughed off and new cells make their way up to the surface. Silicones inhibit this process by slowing down the production of new cells and keeping dead cells stuck longer. Impaired cell renewal could decelerate the improvement of conditions such as pigmentation, redness, fine lines and scarring.

Parabens are widely used as preservatives in many cosmetic and personal care products, from shampoos and cosmetics to body lotions and sunscreens. They are also used as fragrance ingredients, but consumers won’t find that listed on the label. Fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets, so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients.

Parabens easily penetrate the skin. The chemicals have generated increasing health concerns because they mimic estrogens which have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive problems.

Methylparaben, propyl paraben, butylparaben and ethylparaben are the most common parabens used today.
Some combinations of  these synthetic ingredients are in almost every skin and hair product made today.  They are widely known to be highly toxic and causing allergic skin reactions.  Companies use these harmful ingredients because they are extremely cheap and extend the shelf life of cosmetics by inhibiting microbial growth.
If you look at a list of the ingredients of many cosmetic you currently own or almost all supposed "healthy" and expensive skin care products sold in any store, you will find a combination of many harmful chemical and synthetic ingredients. 

Please, keep in mind that when you apply anything to your skin or hair, all the ingredients absorb into your body.  Skin absorption is so powerful that an increasing number of medicines are in patch form.

Applying creams and oils is no different from eating them, because they enter the bloodstream in just 26 seconds regardless if they are ingested in the mouth or absorbed through the skin.



Sulfates act as surfactants and are used for lathering purposes in shampoos, shower gels and facial cleansers. They are also found in household cleaning products, like dish soap.

Sulfates are salts that are formed when sulphuric acid reacts with another chemical. They are also produced from petroleum and plant sources like coconut and palm oil.
This highly toxic synthetic substance causes urinary tracts, bladder and kidney infections, genital disorders, eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff and allergic reactions.


Labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color number such as FD&C Red 6.
Coal tar is a known carcinogen and a by-product from coal processing. It is used in cosmetics containing hair dyes, shampoos, dandruff/scalp treatment and redness/rosacea treatment.

It is associated with cancers of the lung, bladder, kidney and digestive tract.
As well, these colours may be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and some are combined with aluminum substrate. Aluminum compounds and many heavy metals are toxic to the brain.



PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers in lotions, sunscreens and shampoos . PEGs are commonly used in cosmetic cream bases.

They can cause cancer and respiratory disorders, strip off the natural oils (sebum) from your skin and trigger the sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands) to produce more sebum that will make the skin greasy.
DEA (diethanolamine) and DEA compounds are used to make cosmetics creamy or sudsy. DEA also acts as a pH adjuster, counteracting the acidity of other ingredients. DEA is mainly found in moisturisers and sunscreens while cocamide and lauramide DEA are found in soaps, cleansers, and shampoos.

They adjust the pH balance, but are toxic and can cause eye problems, dryness of skin and hair.  DEA has been linked with kidney, liver and other organ damage.



The term fragrance or parfum on a cosmetic ingredients list usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals. Some 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances. Fragrance is an obvious ingredient in perfumes, colognes and deodorants, but its used in nearly every type of personal care product. Even products marketed as fragrance-free or unscented may in fact contain fragrance along with a masking agent that prevents the brain from perceiving odour.

Of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances, most have not been tested for toxicity, alone or in combination. Many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines and asthma symptoms.

Some fragrance ingredients are not perfuming agents themselves but enhance the performance of perfuming agents. For example, diethyl phthalate or DEP, is widely used in cosmetic fragrances to make the scent linger.
Phthalates are choice ingredients in cosmetics because they are cheap and versatile. Phthalates have been linked to early puberty in girls, reduced sperm count in men and reproductive defects in the developing male fetus.

Fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients. Laboratory analysis of top-selling colognes and perfumes identified an average of 14 chemicals per product not listed on the label, including multiple chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions or interfere with hormone function. The TGA only assesses cosmetic products that make therapeutic claims.
Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea are used as preservatives, but a primary cause of contact is dermatitis.  You might see these toxic chemicals under the names Germall II and Germall 115, which release formaldehyde at just over 10°.

These ingredients are a concern because they slowly and continuously release small amounts of formaldehyde, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies as a known human carcinogen.
Formaldehyde may off-gas from cosmetics containing these ingredients and be inhaled (most of the cancer research on formaldehyde has focused on risks from inhalation).
Laboratory studies suggest that formaldehyde in cosmetics can also be absorbed through the skin.


Mineral oils are derived from crude oil, and mildly refined mineral oils always contain significant amounts of PAHs. Mineral oils are common in a wide array of personal care products, including eye shadow, moisturiser, lip gloss, lipstick, conditioner, hair coluor and bleaching, facial treatment, styling gel/lotion, blush and concealer.

Epidemiological studies have shown that PAHs are associated with reduced lung function, exacerbation of asthma and increased rates of obstructive lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases.


Heavy metals like hexavalent chromium and cadmium serve as colorants in eye shadow and lip gloss.  Other metals such as arsenic are impurities in cosmetic ingredients including facial lotions, shampoos and foundations as a result of arsenic contamination in ingredients  such as D&C Red 6, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, hydeogenated cottonseed oil, and polyvinyl acetate.

Cadmium and its compounds, arsenic and chromium are classified as human carcinogens; in addition, chromium can also lead to developmental problems in both females and males.


Triclosan is used mainly in antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitisers as a preservative and an anti-bacterial agent.

Triclosan can pass through skin and is suspected of interfering with hormone function (endocrine disruption). As a xenoestrogen, triclosan can displace estradiol from its receptors and potentially increase exposure to estradiol, which has been a risk factor identified for the development of breast cancer. This mechanism also has been shown to play a role in the development of ovarian cancer in invitro studies.



Silicones are a group of semi-liquid substances derived from silica. Silica is the main component of sand, but that does not mean that silicones fall under the natural umbrella. Silica has to go through a significant chemical process to become silicone.

They are mainly used in serums and moisturisers as they make for easy application, lend a velvety texture, and often leave skin looking plump and smooth, thanks to their filmy coating.
Silicones smooth over any rough patches and lock in moisture. So, while silicone-filled serums and moisturisers might make your face look and feel nice in the moment, they do not contribute to the long-term health and improvement of your skin.
Other common names for silicone in cosmetics include: dimethicone, cyclomethicone, cyclohexasiloxane, cetearyl methicone, cyclopentasiloxane.


Sodium hydroxide is a common ingredient in skin care products like soap, face wash, body cream and lotion. The chemical compound is also known as lye or caustic soda. Sodium hydroxide is used to balance and maintain the pH levels of skin care products.

It can produce an unexpected reaction in sensitive skin. Some symptoms of an unsafe reaction include hives, flaky skin, inflammation, redness and irritation.
7 February, 2023
This is just a shortlist of a few toxic chemicals regularly found in personal care products which supposed to add to our health.

It is wise to be mindful and check the labels before you buy.
As a rule of thumb, any ingredient that is hard to pronounce and remember signifies it should not be there in the first place.
Dirty dozen in cosmetics


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