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A list of chemicals and nasties to avoid in your beauty products.
We recommend keeping this handy guide close by when shopping and cleaning out your beauty cabinet.
You may have heard that our skin absorbs everything we put onto it – the good and the bad. There’s so much information available now about what you should and shouldn’t put on your skin that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused.
To make it easier to use clean products, we compiled this list of top chemicals and nasty ingredients that we believe our skin is better off without. These guys – we call them ‘Bond’s Baddies’ – can damage your skin, your insides and your wellbeing. We think they’re best avoided for beautiful skin and a healthy life. We look out for them when we’re buying beauty products and ensure they’re never on our shelves or our skin.
This guy is a byproduct of ethylated compounds and a known carcinogen, linked to organ toxicity and birth defects. It’s generally unlisted on products as it’s a contaminant to other ingredients.
BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene)
These guys are synthetic antioxidants used as a preservative in cosmetics. They’re likely carcinogens and endocrine disruptors and may cause damage to your liver, thyroid and kidneys. They can also affect lung function and blood coagulation.
BHA and BHT are often found in cosmetics, sunscreens, deodorants, hair products, skincare and fragrance.
These are synthetically produced ingredients, using Ethylene Oxide, a known carcinogen. They’re produced using the process of ethoxylation and as a result, are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. To avoid ethoxylated compounds look for these ingredients listed on labels:
· Butoxyethanol: Synonyms: Butyl cellosolve; Ethylene glycol mono-n-butyl ether; Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether; EGBE; Dowanol EB; Butyl oxitol; jeffersol EB; ektsolve EB
· Emulsifying Wax NF
· Ethanolamines: (DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA)
· ALL PEG (polyethylene & Polypropylene glycol) compounds, like PEG-20, 40, 60.
· Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Laureth Sulfate and most ingredients ending in eth
· Sorbitan Monostearate and other sorbitan based ingredients are also synonyms with PEGs (polysorbates)
· Any ingredient known to actually contain 1,4-dioxane
Formaldehyde (resin and releasing)
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in many products but is a known carcinogen, neurotoxin and is linked to allergies of the skin, eyes & lungs and immunotoxicity. To avoid formaldehyde, look for these ingredients on labels:
· Diazolidinyl Urea
· DMDM hydantoin
· Imidazolidinyl urea
· Polyoxymethylene Urea
· Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
· 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol)
· 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3 Dioxane
Formaldehyde is often found in nail polish, nail and eyelash glue, hair gel, hair smoothing products, baby shampoo, body wash and cosmetics.
This guy is a skin-lightening chemical that reduces the production of melanin and hyperpigmentation. It’s a potential carcinogen, linked to organ toxicity and skin irritation.
Hydroquinone is often found in nail polish, facial creams and cleansers, skin lighteners and hair conditioner.
Parabens are a preservative or anti-bacterial agent. They’re known endocrine disruptors that can mimic estrogen and may be linked to breast cancer. Parabens can also trigger skin allergies.
Parabens are found in shampoos and conditioners, facial and body creams/lotions/cleansers and scrubs.
Polyethene glycols are petroleum-based compounds used as thickeners, solvents and moisturisers. These guys are possibly contaminated with known carcinogens ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.
PEG’s are often found in shampoo, bubble bath and liquid soap.
Derived from crude oil, the concern around petrolatum is that it can be contaminated with PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) which are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and organ system toxicity.
Ingredients to look for and avoid: mineral oil, paraffin wax, liquid paraffin, liquid petrolatum, mineral grease and mineral jelly.
Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP and anything with Phthalate in its name).
Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and respiratory toxicants. These guys may cause birth defects, male infertility and allergies associated with the skin, eyes and lungs.
Phthalates can appear as an alcohol denaturant, as a solvent in personal care products, perfumes, cosmetics and nail polishes, or as a plasticiser to make other substances softer or more pliable.
The use of synthetic fragrance does not require the individual ingredients to be listed, as they’re considered trade secrets. However, synthetic fragrances can contain Phthalates, a chemical that disrupts the endocrine system, may cause birth defects and male infertility. Some individual fragrance ingredients have also been linked to neurotoxicity and cancer.
Toluene is a known neurotoxicant, petrochemical solvent and paint thinner. There are concerns about its links to reproductive harm, developmental and immune toxicity, respiratory complications and possible links to blood cancer.
Toluene is often found in nail polish and hair dyes.
Triclosan is a preservative and anti-bacterial agent. This guy is a concern for potential endocrine disruption and impacts thyroid function, organ system toxicity and skin, lung and eye irritants. Regular use can also contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Triclosan is often found in deodorants, toothpaste, antibacterial soaps and cosmetics.