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  • Writer's pictureVooqo

30 synthetic chemicals that could possibly affect you

Have you ever taken a really good look at that long list of ingredients on the well-known cosmetics and beauty products you bought?

Like a REALLY good look?


We believe is important to be aware of just a few of them and we made it simple, we’ve compiled a list of the common potentially harmful chemicals in beauty products, its uses, and how it could possibly affect you.

30 synthetic chemicals it could possibly affect you
30 synthetic chemicals that could possibly affect you

1. Alcohol

*Benzyl, ethyl, isopropyl [SD-40], methyl, SD alcohols

Found in hand sanitizers and alcoholic toners.

  1. Very drying for the skin. Bad for all skin types

  2. Erodes the skin surface and makes you more susceptible to bacteria

  3. Prevents skin from replenishing, renewing and rejuvenating itself

2. Aluminium/Alum

Used in deodorants, antiperspirants and sunscreens

  1. Linked to brain disorders and Alzheimer’s

  2. A possible factor in breast cancer

  3. A neurotoxin that binds and sticks to our red and white blood cells

  4. Aluminum in sunscreen might contribute to oxidative damage in the skin, increasing the risk of cancer

3. Benzalkomium Chloride

Added to products to kill germs

  1. Skin and eye irritant

  2. A suspected respiratory and gastrointestinal toxicant

4. Benzoyl peroxide

Commonly used in acne-removal creams.

  1. Possible tumour promoter, mutagen, produces DNA damage

  2. Causes redness, irritation, itchiness and a burning sensation for some skin types*

*I’ve gotten a massive breakout and skin irritation once when I applied to an ingrown pimple. My skin was red and was burning for a couple of hours, and it spread to my entire cheek area. Different people are different, but I have sensitive skin and I’d never use this to cure my acne.

5. Bisphenol-A (BPA), BPS

Used in hand sanitizers, soaps, sunscreens, lotions – expedites the delivery of active ingredients they contain. Handling receipts (especially after using hand sanitizer) quickens the BPA transfer into the body.

  1. PCOS, infertility, premature delivery, miscarriage, and other reproductive effects in women

  2. Reduced libido and sperm quality, and altered sex hormone concentrations in men

  3. Altered thyroid function

  4. Obesity and diabetes

  5. Cardiovascular disease

  6. Impaired liver and kidney function

  7. Impaired immune function

  8. Inflammation

  9. Neurobehavioral deficits such as aggressiveness, hyperactivity, and impaired learning

6. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), Toluene, BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

The preservative in many lipsticks and moisturizers

  1. Endocrine disruptor interferes with hormone function

  2. Causes allergies

  3. BHA: possible carcinogen

7. Carbon Black

Found in eyeliners

  1. Linked to cancer and organ toxicity

8. Coal Tar Dye, P-Phenylenediamine

*Colours listed as “CI”, “FD&C,” (Synthetic dyes, colour pigments) or “D&C.”

Gives hair dye its colour

  1. Potentially causes cancer

  2. Contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain

  3. Often used as part of hair dyes. Extensive usage may cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

9. Dibutyl Phthalate, Phthalates, DHP, DBP5, DEHP

Used mainly in nail products to prevent it from becoming brittle

  1. Can enhance the capacity of other chemicals to cause genetic mutations

  2. Endocrine disruptor, toxicant

  3. Affects reproductive systems – harm unborn child, impair fertility

  4. Asthma

  5. Damage immune and nervous systems

  6. Causes liver and kidney failure in young children after long exposure

  7. * Choose pure essential oils instead of fragrances

10. Dioxins

Found in many products, including sprays, tampons and shampoo

  1. Extremely toxic, has a score of 10 on the EWG database

  2. Won’t appear in ingredients. Often in antibacterial things, cleansers etc

  3. Causes cancer reduced immunity, nervous systems disorders, miscarriage, birth deformity

  4. Endocrine disruptor

11. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives

*DMDM Hydantoin (Quanternium-15), Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methenamine

Found in many products – lotions, nail polishes, eyelash glue, hair gels, shampoos, deodorants etc.

  1. Weakens immune system

  2. Human carcinogen

  3. Can cause irritation of the eyes and difficulty breathing

12. Gluten, Hydrolized wheat protein, Wheatgerm

*Some gluten ingredients are hidden

Toothpaste, lipstick, facial cleansers and many more.

  1. Causes allergic reactions and even asthma in some cases

13. Heavy Metals (Nickel, Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, Mercury etc)

Used in various cosmetic products – lipstick, mascara, foundation, concealers, eye shadow, eyeliner etc

  1. Builds up in the body over time and produces symptoms that are mistaken for other illnesses (ie: headaches, dizziness, numbness, chronic pain etc)

14. Hydroquinone

Used for skin lightening

  1. Rated the most toxic on EWG’s database

  2. Linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity

15. Octinoxate

Found in foundations

  1. An unstable chemical linked with endocrine disruption and thyroid disorders.

16. Para-Aminobenzoic acid, PABA, Sunscreen chemicals, Benzophenone, Avobenzone, Ethoxycinnamate

Found in all types of cosmetics but most common in sunscreen

  1. Free radical generators -> damage DNA

  2. Causes cancer

17. Parabens (ethyl, butyl, methyl, propyl, isobutyl, methyl)

*Also used as fragrance ingredients

Widely used as a preservative in many cosmetic products.

  1. Suspected of interfering with hormone functions (endocrine disruption)

  2. Imitates estrogen -> causes breast cancer

  3. Found in many products

  4. Studies indicate that methylparaben applied on skin combines with UVB which leads to skin ageing and DNA damage

18. Paraphenylenediamine (PPD)

Used in hair products and dyes

  1. Toxic to the skin and human immune system

19. PEG (Polyethylene glycol). Dioxane; 1,4 Dioxane

Ingredients ending with eth/oxynol)

Acts as a solvent, thickener, softener, moisture-carrier

  1. PEGs are usually contaminated with Dioxane and 1,4 Dioxane

  2. Possible carcinogen to humans

  3. Development Toxicant. Interferes with humans’ development

  4. Readily absorbed through the skin

  5. Found in hair products, face lotions, hand creams, anti-aging products

  6. All glycols: weaken protein and cellular structures

20. Petroleum, Petrolatum, Mineral oil, Petrochemicals

*Paraffins, Terms ending in “anol”, like isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol, methyl alcohol or methanol, butyl alcohol or butanol, ethyl alcohol or ethanol

Enables products to give your hair/skin/lips shine

  1. Absorbed through the skin; toxic to brain, kidney, respiratory system

  2. May be contaminated with PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAH). Extensive use may cause skin cancer

21. Phenoxyethanol

Used as a preservative in beauty and personal care products

  1. Suspected to be a carcinogen

  2. Causes skin irritation

  3. *Said to be a better preservative than parabens

22. Propylene glycol (PEG), Butylene glycol

Used as a skin-conditioning agent. Found in sunscreen, moisturizer, conditioners, shampoo, hair spray

  1. Skin irritant and penetrant. Causes hives and dermatitis

23. Silicone