Poisoning Yourself & Your Family: 12 Toxins in Your Personal Care Products

The skin is your largest organ, what you put on it is absorbed into your bloodstream.

The average woman in the United States uses over 15 personal care products daily, the average man about six. Each product containing a dozen or more chemicals! Many of these chemicals are carcinogens, neurotoxins and contain reproductive toxins!

WARNING: As you look for better hygiene care alternatives make sure to ALWAYS READ THE LABELS; because more than half of all the personal care products found on health food shelves have the same toxic offenders listed above… you’ll be surprised. Check it out for yourself.

Gather your make up and personal hygiene products and see if they rate poorly on the SKIN DEEP website, you may be surprised!

“Our skin is not only your largest organ – it’s also the thinnest. Only 1/10th of an inch separates you from all sorts of toxins. Your skin is highly permeable, allowing what you apply to your skin access to your bloodstream (and thereby to the rest of your body)” (Dr. Mercola, Source)

Here’s a list of 12 toxins in personal care products:

1.) PARABENS commonly used preservatives in cosmetics such as moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners, and many types of makeup (source). Parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, which is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive fertility. parabens are linked to is early puberty in children (source) and early menopause in women (source). Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells (source).

2.) PHTHALATES work as softeners in personal care products such as cosmetics and shampoo, as well as flexible plastics like children’s toys (Source). Phthalates are known as endocrine disruptors because they mimic the body’s hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage (source). Phthalates are also in products with “Fragrance” as one of the ingredients.

3.) DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA) is used in personal care, laundry detergent and cleaning products to give that foam lather. DEA by itself is not harmful, however DEA reacts in the cosmetic formula to form an extremely potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA). NDEA is absorbed through the skin and has been linked with stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancers (source).

4.) PETROLATUM (Mineral Oils & Paraffin) used as the base for creams, baby rash ointment and many other personal care products “Petrolatum coast the skin like plastic, clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging. They’re implicated as a suspected cause of cancer. Plus, they can disrupt hormonal activity.” (source)

5.) SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLS) When it’s combined with other chemicals it forms nitrosamines. SLS is found in foaming products (toothpaste, shampoo, laundry, household cleaning, etc.) originally made as a pesticide and a heavy duty chemical cleaner for garage oil stains and in car washes! The biggest problem with SLS, is how is made. The manufacturing of SLS creates ethoxylation which is contaminated with dioxane, a carcinogen (Source).

6.) PROPLENE GLYCOL IS ANTIFREEZE. It’s linked to kidney and liver disease. Enough said. Watch out, you’ll find this in cosmetics, shampoo & conditioners, deodorant, and of all places… ice cream! What?! Yeah I know.

7.) ACRYLAMIDE found in many face creams. You’ll find this in mammary tumors. “Acrylamide is an industrial chemical known to increase infertility and neurological problems”. (Source)

8.) PHENOL (CARBOLIC ACID) found in skin lotion. “Phenol was first extracted from coal tar, but today is produced from petroleum. It is corrosive to the eyes, the skin, and the respiratory tract causing lung edema. It’s harmful to the central nervous systems and heart and cause dysrhythmia, seizures, and coma. The kidneys may be affected as well.” (Source)

9.) DIOXANE is a petrochemical solvent found in cosmetics and products that foam, such as bubble bath, baby shampoo, laundry detergent (Source). Dioxane is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require 1,4-dioxane to be listed as an ingredient on product labels. However, if you look closely you’ll see ingredients such as PEG, polysorbates, laureth, ethoxylated alcohols which are all dioxanes. Dioxane is linked to cancer. (Source)

10.) FRAGRANCE Watch out this is one of the biggest offenders. It’s what makes your lotion, perfume, deodorant and shampoo “smell good”. You’ll see it at the bottom of the ingredients list as “fragrance” or “parfum”. Fragrances can contain neurotoxins and are among the top five allergens in the world. Toluene which is in fragrances is known neurotoxin that causes loss of  muscle control, brain damage, headaches, memory loss, and problems with speech, hearing, and vision. (Source). Better options would be to use “un-scented” or scented with essential oils.

11.) FORMALDEHYDE Is found in nail polish, body lotion, cleansers, shampoo & conditioners, body wash, styling gel, sunscreen and makeup! Formaldehyde a known human carcinogen, it’s toxic to the immune system and respiratory track. (Source)

12.) HEAVY METALS (lead, aluminum, arsenic, nickel, beryllium, mercury, cadmium & nickel) the number one ingredient in most conventional deodorants is aluminumOne or more of these metals is probably in your makeup! Lead is an ingredient so toxic it isn’t allowed in paint or gasoline, but it’s in most lipstick! Chick out this FDA list here to see if your lipstick on the lead list. Watch out for arsenic in eyeliner and cadmium and mercury in mascara! (Source)

My family and friends are always asking … what works and is below a toxic level 3?

I answer this question dozen’s of times.  My Mom still asks me where I get this and that. I’m going to use the last section as a “tell all”. It’s everything we use on our body and face. You have to decide what toxicity level you are comfortable with, is a zero to one? or maybe  a 2 to 3 toxicity. And if you’re fine using a 6-9 toxicity product… well at least you know you’re getting poisoned every time you use it.


Julie: I’ve found that buying these products at our health food stores is usually more expensive than buying them online. My two favorite places are Amazon and Vitacost (you’ll need a minimum order of $49 for free shipping). I probably get 90% of our stuff from Vitacost, because, for most personal care products, they’re much cheaper and for every order I get a discount coupon for future orders. 

Never Put this on Your Face: Dr. Mercola

Top 4 Personal Care Ingredients to Avoid: Underground Wellness

Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?: The New York Times

Make-up ‘triggers early menopause’: News.com.au

Want Babies in Your 30′s or 40′s? Lose the Makeup: Sarah Pope, The Healthy Home Economist

Toxic Heavy Metals Widespread in Cosmetics: Safe Cosmetics

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