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Top 10 Bad Skincare Ingredients You Should Avoid


Who doesn’t want to avoid bad skincare ingredients?

But, unfortunately very few of us go through the ingredients written on the bottles before buying them. Ignoring to read them may harm your skin.

Every day the skincare and makeup brands are using many ingredients in your personal care and makeup products. Evidences showed that some of these chemicals can disrupt your hormones. And. what’s more shocking is that many of these can be carcinogenic too.

If you’re thinking FDA is going to take care of it, hit the brake. Till date, FDA hasn’t done any subpar duty to put its restriction on the use of bad skincare ingredients. Therefore, the brands have the cart blanche to put any ingredient they want. No government approval is required to do so. However, a short process is done where all the ingredients labelled as ‘Over-the-counter drugs’ are qualified.

Listing all the bad skincare ingredients isn’t possible for me. For your safety, I’ve listed only 10 ingredients that you should avoid while buying.

Bad Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

1. Lead

Why Lead is Dangerous?

Lead is well-known for disrupting hormones. Plus, it’s carcinogenic. Your skin absorbs it thoroughly. It, then mixes with the blood. Rarely, it goes inside the bones too.  Penetrating into your blood, it causes issues like:

a) Miscarriages

b) Aggressive

c) Low birth weights

d) Menstrual irregularities

e) Reduced fertility in men and women

Products Where Lead is Extensively Used

a) Hair colors

b) Lip glosses

c) Eyeliners

d) Lipstick

As lead is a contaminant, it is mostly not listed under the ‘Ingredients’ tag.

Solution: FDA has reported that the brands shouldn’t use more than 10 ppm (parts-per-million). As per FDA, the brands using more than the required quantity are L’Oreal and Revlon.

2. Petroleum Distillates

Why Petroleum Distillates is Dangerous?

According to an EPA report, petroleum distillates is very harmful for health. Some of the problems it leads to are:

a) Pulmonary damage

b) Chemical pneumonia

c) Shortness of breath

d) Damages liver and kidney

In rare cases, breathing it can even lead to death.

Products in Which Petroleum Distillates are Used

a) Skin and nail care products

b) Eyeliner

Solution: Cosmetics containing 29.2-55% of Petroleum Distillates are absolutely safe for you, as per CIR reports.

3. Parabens

Why Parabens are Dangerous?

Use of small amounts of parabens doesn’t cause any skin or health problems. However, if its level in the cosmetics rises, it can affect you in the following ways.

a) Chronic diseases

b) Developmental disorders

c) Fertility issues

d) Breast cancer

With that in mind, go for products labelled as ‘Paraben-free’.

Products in Which Parabens are Used

a) Lotions

b) Shower gels

c) Facial scrubs and cleansers

d) Conditioners

Solution: Use products having no more than 0.4% of paraben (if used alone). However, for paraben mixes, the recommended amount is 0.8%. Click here to know more about the safe use of paraben.

4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Why Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is Dangerous?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS is a common skincare ingredient. This ingredient is mostly used in cleansing products to create foam. If any product is using it above 1%, it may pose a serious threat to your skin. Among the many problems SLS causes, some are:

a) Eyes, mouth, skin, and lung irritation

b) Acne

c) Clog pores

Products in Which SLS is Used

a) Shampoos

b) Liquid soap

c) Bath bombs

Solution: Choose oil-based shampoos and soaps rather than liquid ones. Keep it in mind that foam isn’t essential to clean your hair and skin.

5. Coal Tar

Why Coal Tar is Dangerous?

Manufacturers use coal tar to make the lipstick colors more vibrant. Derived from burning coal, it is also a carcinogen. Major health concerns related with its use are:

a) Allergic breakouts

b) Acne

c) Loss of coordination

d) Emotional disturbances

e) Skin tumors

f) Cancer of kidney and digestive tract

Products in Which Coal Tar is Used

a) Lipstick

b) Shampoos

c) Lotions

d) Hair dyes

Apart from the ingredients showing coal tar, naphtha, estar, and petroleum benzin, all indicate the same. So, look for these names too if you want to avoid products having coal tar.

Solution: Any product having coal tar within the range of 0.5-5% is deemed as safe.

6. Formaldehyde

Why Formaldehyde is Dangerous?

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has categorized formaldehyde as carcinogen. It works as preservatives in skincare and makeup products. Europe has banned its use. Health problems it triggers are:

a) Headaches

b) Asthma

c) Joint pains

d) Dermatitis

e) Liver disorders

f) Nausea

g) Difficulty in breathing

Products in Which Formaldehyde is Used

a) Keratin hair treatment

b) Hair dyes

c) Nail products

d) Bubble bath

Look for ingredients like Cormalin, bronopol, methenamine, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate, and Diazolidinyl urea to avoid buying products containing formaldehyde.

Solution: Skin sensitivity caused by formaldehyde has compelled CIR Expert Panel to limit the use of Formaldehyde to less than 0.074%. However, Brazilian Gloss, R & L, and KeraGreen are some of the brands using formaldehyde more than the recommended percentage. So, stay away from these brands while shopping.

7. Acrylates

Why Acrylates is Dangerous?

Acrylates are found mostly in artificial nail products. Skin contact and inhalation are the two main ways of getting affected by this ingredient. Health hazards caused by it are:

a) Neurological and cellular damage

b) Reproductive toxicity

c) Cancer

d) Organ system toxicity

Products in Which Acrylates is Used

a) Nail enhancing polishes

b) Acrylic nails

Solution: Stop buying artificial nails unless you’re sure that it is acrylate-free. Nail technicians should wear protective gloves and safety masks and use manicure tables that are well-ventilated.

8. Alcohol

Why Alcohol is Dangerous?

A group of liquids collectively called alcohol. It is commonly called ethanol. Depending upon the alcohol type and its concentration in the cosmetics, the extent of damage is determined. Excess use of alcohol may affect you in the following ways.

a) Makes skin dry and cracked

b) Diabetes

c) Infertility

Products in Which Alcohol is Used

a) Astringent toners

b) Moisturizers

c) Liquid foundations

Solution: Most of the moisturizers meant for sensitive skin don’t have alcohols. Read the labels. If alcohol is appearing sooner, the concentration is higher. Higher concentration means more adverse effects on your skin.

9. 1, 4-Dioxane

Why 1, 4-Dioxane is Dangerous?

1, 4-Dioxane is mainly used to lessen the harshness of certain chemicals. Being a well-known carcinogen, it is one of the bad skincare ingredients. That being said, Canada has already banned its use in skincare and makeup products. Some of the health concerns it leads to are:

a) Irritation

b) Organ system toxicity

c) Cancer

Products in Which 1, 4-Dioxane is Used

a) Hair relaxers

b) Shampoo

c) Bubble bath

d) Liquid soap

Solution: Brands use this ingredient without labeling. Therefore, consumers find it difficult to identify the chemical in their beauty products. Therefore, it’s better to look for PEG compounds, Sodium laureth sulfate, and chemicals containing xynol, and oleth.

10. Polyethylene Glycol

Why Polyethylene Glycol is Dangerous?

Polyethylene glycol or PEG is mixed with impurities to be used as stabilizers, binding agent, and emollient in various cosmetics. Though FDA has approved its use, yet if used on sensitive skin, it may trigger:

a) Kidney toxicity

b) Skin rash and inflammation

c) Increases the risk of different cancers

However, use of products containing this ingredient is not likely to cause any damage on intact skin (as per the reports of Cosmeticsinfo.org).

Products in Which Polyethylene Glycol is Used

a) Moisturizers

b) Sunscreens

c) Cleansers

Solution: Skincare products having PEG is absolutely safe to use on intact skin. But, if you’ve any skin problem, stay away from this.

The Bottom Line

Are you confused about what to do? How to buy products that are “Safe”? Here’s the answer.

Go to Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database. They give grade to array of products depending on how safe they are for your skin.

I know finding trustworthy brands isn’t easy. Moreover, many brands deceive us by labeling their products as “natural”. Just look for products having both natural and safe artificial ingredients. Do your homework to find brands that emphasize on the need of testing the ingredients before using them.

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