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The 5 Worst Chemicals in Beauty Products

5 dangerous beauty chemicals

You wouldn't eat something that is known to cause breast cancer, so why would you apply directly on your skin? Every person who cares about the health of their skin should be aware of the dirty chemicals that end up in everyday cosmetic products, because they are directly absorbed into the skin. Check all of your labels - here is our list of the top 5 most dangerous chemicals to avoid.


Parabens are used as preservatives in a range of cosmetics, and are suspected to disrupt endocrine and other hormones that affect reproductive functions. While they prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in beauty products, they also promote breast cancer by mimicking estrogen. They can be found in makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers.


Just like parabens, phthalates are linked to increased risk of breast cancer, premature development of breasts in young girls, and reproductive birth defects in both women and men. One big issue for the public is that a major loophole in the law can let companies disguise this ingredient as a "secret formula" as part of its fragrance of the product. Phthalates are used to increase the softness and suppleness of plastics, and go by a few different names. In nail polish, it goes by dibutyl phthalate. In hair spray, it goes by dimethyl phthalate. When reviewing a product's label, be weary of any variation of this chemical, and research whether it may be included in any secret formulations.


Sulfates are found in an alarming 90 per cent of personal care and beauty products, from cleansers to shampoos and even mascara. They are one of the main "foaming" ingredients we often associate with cleanliness, but are known to be eye, lung and skin irritants. When they come into contact with other chemicals in other products, they can form carcinogens. Just say no to sulfates!


Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), and Triethanolmine (TEA) are hormone-disrupting chemicals that are present in almost every beauty product that foams up when wet. While we might think that having a sudsy product makes us cleaner, it can actually be very detrimental to our health. It is an ingredient found in hundreds of cosmetic products from shampoos, to cleansers and creams. There are many studies linking DEA and its related ingredients to increased risk of liver and kidney cancers.


This well-known cancer-causing chemical also goes by a variety of names, and can also be an ingredient in a preservative that slowly releases formaldehyde. Used in body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers and more, this chemical is a preservative that kills bacteria in beauty products. Avoid formaldehyde at all costs – it is linked to nasal cancers and is known to cause skin reactions and can harm the immune system. It is recognized as a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC).

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