6 Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare (A Simplified List) – Toups and Co Organics
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Make an Educated Choice for Your Skin: 6 Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare and Makeup

Make an Educated Choice for Your Skin: 6 Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare and Makeup

We’ve all experienced the uncomfortable sensation of a meal that doesn’t settle right.

Most of us are familiar with eating whole foods versus processed foods—and the difference we experience in our guts, brains, skin, and hormones.

It’s common knowledge that what we put in our bodies directly impacts how we feel.

But do we ever stop and think about what we put on our bodies?

There are rising concerns about the ingredients allowed in makeup and skincare products, especially in the United States. Here are some things you should know:

  • Many of the ingredients found in body products are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors. Possible side effects include weight gain, anxiety, mood swings, skin issues, hormone imbalance, and insomnia.

  • The European Union has banned over 1,300 different toxic chemicals in body products. Out of this number, the United States has only banned 11.

  • With more toxins than ever in our environment, it’s crucial that we protect our liver health and detox pathways by finding natural skincare alternatives.

While it’s becoming more difficult to trust grocery store products, we still have the power to take matters into our own hands. It’s up to us to reconsider the ingredients we use and take charge of our skin health.

6 Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare and Makeup

1. Parabens

Essentially, parabens are a group of chemical preservatives. They’re used to prevent bacterial growth and mold in products that contain water and other perishable ingredients.

Found in everything from shampoo and soap to makeup and skincare, parabens can disrupt hormone levels. Parabens mimic estrogen, dominating the body and putting extra stress on the liver (which processes estrogen).

Alarmingly, young girls today are reaching puberty much earlier than previous generations (around 8 or 9). Studies suggest that paraben exposure could have something to do with this since they mimic estrogen.

Other concerns related to parabens include things like fertility issues, estrogen dominance (leading to blood sugar imbalance), skin irritation, and altered gene expression.

Read the Fine Print: To avoid parabens, look for anything that has “paraben” in the name. Methylparaben, propylparaben, isopropylparaben, and isobutylparaben are all part of the paraben family.

2. Artificial Fragrance (Or Parfum)

While it sounds harmless, the word “fragrance” hides a cocktail of up to 3,000 different harmful ingredients. These ingredients don’t have to be disclosed on the label because they’re protected as trade secrets. But they can include hormone disruptors, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and allergens, just to name a few.

In recent years, companies have used the term “fragrance” to greenwash products. For example, something could be advertised as paraben-free but actually include parabens under the “fragrance” label. Especially when fragrance is one of the first ingredients on a product label, this should raise questions about whether the product is really natural.

Read the Fine Print: Avoid anything that includes “fragrance” or “parfum” on the label, especially if it’s one of the first ingredients listed.

3. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (Or Sulfates)

These are foaming agents used to create the illusion of cleanliness. You’ll typically find them in shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, and anything that foams unnaturally. Sulfates are common allergy triggers, especially for children. They may irritate the eyes or throat (especially if sprayed).

One of the biggest reasons to avoid sulfates is because of a byproduct called nitrosamines. About 90% of nitrosamines are considered carcinogenic.

Read the Fine Print: Try to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate and any products that foam unnaturally.

4. Phthalates

In a word, phthalates are preservatives. They’re used to increase the longevity and durability of a product (anything from makeup and nail polish to plastic dishware). They’re most well-known for their ability to disrupt hormones, which can have a domino effect on the rest of the body. Phthalates are connected to low sperm counts, poor thyroid health, birth defects, weight gain, increased blood pressure, and asthma.

Phthalates also have a concerning environmental impact, since they may pollute our drinking water and can take up to three years to break down. Many of them are banned by the European Union.

Read the Fine Print: Check for these phthalates on ingredient labels: BBP (benzyl butyl phthalate), DBP (dibutyl phthalate), DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), DIDP (diisodecyl phthalate), DINP (diisononyl phthalate), DMP (dimethyl phthalate), and DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate).

5. Oxybenzone

Even the FDA is raising the alarm about the dangers of chemical sunscreens. Oxybenzone is a chemical ingredient used to protect our skin against UV rays. However, it isn’t especially safe.

Studies show it’s detectable on the skin and in the bloodstream for weeks after use. Not only that but oxybenzone levels in the bloodstream soared 180 times higher than the amount recommended by the FDA. The use of oxybenzone and other chemical UV filters is totally unnecessary since mineral-based sunscreens work just as well.

Read the Fine Print: We recommend choosing a mineral-based sunscreen over a chemical one. Also, avoid sunscreen products that spray and opt for the lotion instead.

6. Phenoxyethanol

This chemical is particularly sneaky since it’s used by natural skincare brands as a “clean” alternative to parabens. Products that are labeled as “paraben-free” may contain phenoxyethanol. The Material Data Safety Sheet for phenoxyethanol names it as an irritant that may be harmful if swallowed or inhaled. It’s thought to cause reproductive issues and endocrine disruption.

Fast Skin Facts

Why should we protect our skin from toxic chemicals?

  • Skincare products can be absorbed into the bloodstream. While different sources will debate this (or argue how much we absorb), the evidence is clear: chemicals used in skincare have been found throughout the human body.

  • Despite claims that skincare products moisturize, refresh, and restore—these products can only do so much against the onslaught of toxic chemicals they include.

  • The skin is our body’s largest organ! Its job is to act as a barrier against toxins and pollutants—while keeping essential nutrients inside the body.

  • If nicotine patches and magnesium salts absorb into the skin, why do we assume chemicals can’t? One interesting study explains that magnesium absorbs through hair follicles rather than the skin barrier.

  • Even without considering the effects of chemicals on the whole body, we should understand that toxic chemicals disrupt our skin barrier. This can lead to breakouts, rashes, acne, redness, and more.

You Create Your Standards for Skincare

It’s up to us to change the face of natural skincare and makeup. And we’re doing it one ingredient at a time.

The truth is, we don’t have to turn to chemicals in order to properly clean and care for our bodies. Our ancestors left us with resources and remedies that revive and refresh the skin—without the use of synthetic chemicals or toxins.

It’s time to go back to our roots, using things like vitamin-rich ancestral fats, fewer seed oils, naturally-occurring fruit acids, and recognizable ingredients for the benefit of ourselves and future generations.

These are some of our favorites:

Tallow Balm

Emu Oil

Raw Honey and Fruit Acids

Herb Infusions