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Top Ten Ingredients to Avoid in Toiletry Products

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope you are having a great summer so far. We've had some pretty hot days here on the coast already, and some much needed rain. My little veggie garden is doing great and I've already picked peas, radish, zucchini, lettuce and spinach. Soon there will be ripe heirloom tomatoes to enjoy in salads and BLT's.

As I sit here on the porch this morning, sipping on my smoothie drink, I decided today’s topic would be healthy skin products. If you remember in my first blog post, I mentioned that our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs everything we put on it. So, it’s important that we not only eat healthy but we need to pay attention to what ingredients are in our toiletry products.

Sadly, there is little to no regulation in the cosmetic industry. There is no mandatory safety testing, labeling is a free for all (the word ‘natural’ really doesn’t mean much), and too many products are still tested on helpless animals. Many of the ingredients used by large manufacturers are sourced from petroleum products or they are synthetic chemicals.

These ingredients are used mainly because they are less expensive then the healthier options. They are cheap fillers and often are used to extend shelf life of their products. Here in the U.S., the FDA only bans about a dozen different items unlike our neighbors across the pond; Europe bans approximately 1300.

Here is a list I compiled of the top ten ingredients to avoid in your personal care and toiletry products. I hope this encourages you to become a label reader.

1. Parabens – Derived from petroleum. Used as a preservative in anything made with water such as body lotions to keep bacteria from growing.

2. Phthalates – Synthetic chemicals used in the perfume and candle making industries; they make the scents last longer. Also used in plastics to keep it less brittle. They are known endocrine disruptors.

3. Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates (SLS) – These are foaming agents used in everything from shampoo to toothpaste. They have been linked to causing skin cancer.

4. PEG (polyethylene Glycol) – This is used as a thickener in lotions. It is a petroleum based compound that enhances the lotion to absorb faster into your skin; it contains carcinogens and the FDA even suggests not using it on broken or already irritated skin.

5. Formaldehyde – A colorless gas used as a preservative in many cosmetics to keep bacteria and fungi from growing and to extend shelf life.

6. Diethanolamine (DEA) – A respiratory toxin used as a foaming agent in products such as shampoo

7. Triclosan – This chemical was highly used in antibacterial soaps until it was banned in 2016. However, it is still used in cosmetics. Studies on mice show gut inflammation and tumor growth.

8. Mineral Oil – A petroleum by product that can contain carcinogenic chemicals from processing. It is inexpensive, colorless and odorless, and virtually lasts forever. It is highly used in lotions, especially eye creams.

9. BHA & BHT – Synthetic antioxidants used in the making of lipsticks and moisturizers to extend shelf life. They can cause allergic skin reactions.

10. Lead – Often used in coloring for lipsticks. This trace mineral can be deadly if enough of it builds up in your system; it ends up stored in your organs, bones and teeth as our bodies cannot rid itself of lead. Even fluoride toothpastes contain small amounts of lead.

Now, not all additives or ingredients are necessarily bad for you; take retinol, peptides, and hyaluronic acid you’ve no doubt seen advertised on television a lot lately. These can actually help your skin. But if possible, I would start reading labels and avoid the ones listed above for sure. Another good practice is to toss old jars and bottles of products, as well as makeup you have had for a while; no matter the ingredients, things do have a limited shelf life.

I’d like to toot my own horn for a moment now. In case you missed the Facebook post a while back, Earthly Suds Co. is now Leaping Bunny certified. This ensures the ingredients used in our products are NEVER tested on animals.

You can click on the photo above to visit their website and learn more about their mission. There is also a compassionate shopping guide which lists over 2000 companies who, like us, have taken the pledge to keep from using ingredients which have been tested on animals. Please take a moment to check it out.

I am already working on my next blog post which will be all about the comedogenic scale of oils and how they react on different skin types. Not familiar with the term? Stay tuned to learn more, and as always if you have a question or a topic for me just sent me a message!


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Excellent information. and again congrats on the Leaping Bunny Certification .



Brandi Yancy
Brandi Yancy
Jul 18, 2021

Thank you for this list and the information along with each.


Great information! Europe is so far ahead of us when it comes to keeping these ingredients out of their products, just as they are with food items also,

Jul 18, 2021
Replying to

Yes I agree!


Very informative and full of things I did not know. Thank you for the education.

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