Beauty ingredients to avoid

lip gloss

lip glossWhen it comes to our health, we often focus on what we put into our body, but what we put onto our body can be just as important.

Although the range of beauty products available containing natural ingredients has been growing in recent years, there are still many products out there with both natural and synthetic chemicals that may be hazardous to our health. Here are some of the key beauty ingredients to avoid as much as possible.


These chemicals act as a preservative to extend shelf life and can be found in many beauty products, including makeup, haircare products, moisturisers and perfumes. Parabens are easily absorbed into the skin and can mimic estrogen, which may have some impact on the endocrine system. Opt for paraben-free products whenever you can.

Also named: propylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, polyparaben

Cocamide DEA

This is usually found in lathering products (soaps, bubble baths, shampoos and other skin and bodycare), is a chemically modified form of coconut oil used to help produce long lasting bubbles, and has been linked to cancer. It can also cause allergic reactions in some people. Cocamide DEA has been in the news recently as a group in the United States is suing four major companies for failing to warn consumers about the risks of exposure.

Also called: cocamide diethanolamine

Sodium laureth sulfate

Used to make products produce foam, this is commonly found in cleansers and makeup removers, but also in car washes and engine degreasers. Depending on the manufacturing process, it may be contaminated with potentially carcinogenic substances – ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. It can also cause severe skin irritation and allergic reactions.

Also called: sodium lauryl sulfate, SLS

Polyethylene glycol

Is used in many beauty products including baby care and sunscreens, it’s used to help thicken products and make them easier to absorb. It can also help ‘transport’ other chemical nasties into your body by allowing them to be more readily absorbed into the skin.

Also called: PEGs (typically followed by a number, i.e PEG-4, PEG-100)


Found in a number of products from deodorants to perfumes and nail polishes, phthalates have the ability to mimic hormones in our body and may disrupt the endocrine system.

Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Stuart Miles

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