What To Avoid In Drugstore Skincare Aisles


Skincare products contain dangerous chemicals that every consumer needs to avoid. As published in the article, Dangerous Ingredients in Skin Care Products on Natural Health Source’s website, upwards of more than 10,000 dangerous ingredients are used to manufacture beauty products. Considering these staggering statistics, consumers should be careful when selecting the items they use on their skin. 

What consumers may not realize is that any product that is rubbed on the skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. In other words, if you rub a lotion or cream on your skin, it is the same as eating it. In this industry that is largely unregulated for practical purposes, consumers are forced to fend for themselves. 

The best way shoppers can protect themselves is to read the ingredients list and then make an informed purchasing decision. Unfortunately, deceptive labeling practices make it almost impossible to simply scan the main label since positive words like “natural” are indiscriminately used to bolster a product’s image, meaning nothing to the consumer. 

Even when a product is labeled organic, shoppers still run the risk of toxin exposure since the requirement for using the word organic is that the item must have at least 70 percent organic ingredients. What that means is that, effectively, 30 percent of the product is “not organic.” 

When you consider how arbitrarily these words are used, the only recourse a consumer has to protect themself and their family is to read every ingredient and decide if it is safe based on those facts. 

Listed below are some of the worst offenders.

  1. Antibacterial Soaps and Cleansers

Specifically, triclosan and triclocarban are two dangerous ingredients to avoid in antibacterial soaps. Health-conscious consumers might be well advised to elect to skip antibacterial cleaners altogether since the benefits of using them over soap and water are negligible at best and not worth the added risks. Hot water or simple hand soap is the recommended alternative.

  1. Parabens

Parabens are used because they add to the shelf life of products, acting as a preservative by preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi. It is noteworthy that research has found parabens present in breast cancer tissue. Skin allergies are also common. When trying to identify parabens, the prefixes propyl, methyl and butyl are tip-offs. To be on the safe side, it is always a good idea to look for and buy paraben-free products. 

  1. Propylene Glycol

This ingredient is tied to liver and kidney health problems. Additionally, it is considered an allergen. It is no surprise that this chemical compound is dangerous when you consider its other use as a plane de-icing agent.

  1. PEG Compounds

These compounds are often present in skin creams. The dioxane in this compound is believed to cause cancer. Consumers should steer clear of ingredients with “eth” in the name to avoid exposure. 

  1. BHT and BHI

These two chemicals have been found to be harmful to wildlife and humans. Often present in moisturizers, they are tied to cancer and should always be avoided.

  1. Fragrances

Consumers should shop for fragrance-free products to avoid some of the nasty symptoms commonly connected to these (parfum) additives. Headaches and rashes are two frequent unpleasant side effects. Vomiting and dizziness have also been reported and associated with those manufactured smells the chemists work so hard to add to beauty products.

  1. Phthalates

When purchasing lotion, this chemical is often one of the ingredients you’ll find. If you see phthalates as an ingredient, beware. They are tied to serious health issues that include liver and kidney damage. Phthalates are also linked to cancer and lung damage. 

  1. DEA and TEA

These two compounds are particularly dangerous and should be avoided whenever possible. Found in body wash and soaps, a few of the more minor problems consumers can expect include dry skin and hair. Eye irritations have also been reported. The problems only get more serious from there. Commonly used in moisturizers, these ingredients are believed to cause organ damage, specifically in the liver and kidneys. 

The use of these chemicals is also believed to contribute to an increased risk of cancer. Not surprisingly, the negative impact of DEA and TEA is not limited to humans and has also been linked to wildlife and fish contamination.

  1. Formaldehyde-Related Preservatives

Consumers need to be on the alert for these preservatives. Recognized as carcinogens, DMDM and methenamine must be added to the list of dangerous additives to avoid. Hydantoin and quaternion-15 are also believed to increase cancer levels and are commonly found in popular cosmetic brands. 

  1. Mineral Oil

This may be one of the least likely to make a list of toxins, but it definitely deserves to be avoided. This petroleum by-product is found in many moisturizers and clogs the skin. Since the skin is charged with the important function of releasing toxins, clogged skin inhibits its ability to do so.

  1. Petrolatum

As the name suggests, this is a petroleum product. It is found in many moisturizers. The problem with this chemical is that it is linked to a higher risk of cancer, so avoid it.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it represents the most frequently used chemicals that health-conscious consumers need to eliminate from their skincare products. 

Since beauty and health-related products are not as highly regulated as is necessary to truly protect the public, the burden of keeping families safe rests largely on the consumer’s shoulders when selecting skincare products. 

The more ingredients listed, the more likely the exposure to one of these toxic chemicals is. Considering the sheer number of chemicals the average person is exposed to on a daily basis, anything a consumer can do to eliminate toxins that enter the body makes sense. 

Armed with knowledge, consumers are positioned to proactively purchase skincare products that will enhance their life and health with no associated risks.

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