5 Dangerous Common Chemicals in Skin Care Products

posted in: Ingredient Spotlight

Have you ever questioned what kinds of dangerous chemicals may be lurking in your skin care products? Me neither. The truth is, for many of us, what we put on our skin is much less worrisome than what we put in our bodies.


We know the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works to regulate the nasty ingredients in food and drugs. But, what about the chemicals and ingredients in skin care products like lotions, serums and makeup? You would be surprised as to how common it is for dangerous chemicals to be present in the everyday skin care products we use. Here are the top five.


Parabens are the most common preservatives used in the cosmetic industry. This includes products like makeup, lotion, serums, sprays and more! It’s job is to prevent mold, parasites and fungus from taking over your products. Research done by Cornell University shows that parabens actually mimic estrogen, which may increase the chance of breast cancer.


In a 2004 study, traces of paraben were found in the breast cancer tissue of 19 out of 20 patients. There are also different forms of parabens that you should be aware of including: benzylparaben, butyiparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, and isobutylparaben.


Phthalates are compounds of phthalic acid, and are commonly used in cosmetics and plastics. This chemical helps to increase flexibility and resilience, as well as soften many products. Unfortunately, phthalates are found in just about everything, including in your own body.


A study completed by the United States Center for Disease and Control (CDC), found phthalates to be present in every single person they analyzed. Phthalates are considered to be a dangerous chemical because it acts as a hormone disruptor, which can significantly obstruct the way your hormones metabolize.

Synthetic colors and Artificial dyes

Lots of different colors look pretty, but are they good for our skin? Many companies make our skin care products in several different colors because they know of the effect it has on us. When we see bright colors like yellow, orange or red, it makes us feel energetic and happy. In turn, we buy more product from them. But, how dangerous can synthetic colors and artificial dyes actually be for our skin? Turns out, extremely dangerous.


It takes up to 25 synthetic chemicals to create a single artificial dye. That’s how many chemicals you are potentially putting onto your skin, which are then being absorbed into your body. Synthetic colors and artificial dyes can cause skin irritation and sensitivity due to the heavy metals they deposit into your skin when you use them.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)

SLS is a synthetic surfactant which can be found in several cleaning and personal care products. It comes in the form of a white powder and is commonly used as a cheap cleaning agent. You can specifically find SLS in shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, shower gels and more.


This dangerous chemical can cause skin and eye irritation, and can increase allergic reactions and sensitivity. SLS can also cause dry or flaking skin, and can aggravate your mucous membranes and respiratory tract. Large amounts of SLS can lead to vomiting, emesis, burning sensations in your throat and mouth, coughing, poor immune system, and difficulties with breathing.


Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical that produces very toxic hormonal effects known as the endocrine disruption. These chemicals disrupt the development of your thyroid glands and reproductive hormones. Triclosan can be found in skin care products such as face wash, liquid soaps, and deodorants. It is designed to kill bacteria and prevent those germs from growing in your skincare products and eventually onto your skin.

Read the Label

What can you do to prevent yourself from purchasing skin care products with dangerous chemicals in them? Read the label. If you take a minute to skim through the product ingredients, you could be doing your body a huge favor by minimizing the use of these toxic chemicals.