hands holding skin care products on purple background

Personal Care Products: 5 Ingredients to Avoid

When it comes to choosing safe personal care products, knowing which products are safe and which ones are not can be completely overwhelming. The good news is once you put in the time and do your research from trusted sources, you are on a path to making healthier choices for you and those you love.

Here are five of the most harmful ingredients to look for:

1. Parabens

Buyer beware as there are many different names for these hormone disruptors. Parabens are a whole family of chemicals (methylparabens, propylparabens, butylparabens, and ethylparabens) that help preserve shelf-life of products. When going through my own products way back when, parabens were the most common offender.

Parabens can be found in nearly every product from face wash, night cream, makeup, masks, body wash and shampoo—they are everywhere. Parabens can mimic estrogen in the body disrupting our delicate hormonal balance.

They’ve been linked to breast cancer, and since they act as a hormone disruptor they can lead to reproductive and fertility issues.

2. Phthalates

Phthalates group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics in cosmetics. This helps products stick to our skin.

Phthalates can be extremely dangerous to children, but it’s best to avoid them all together as they can be serious endocrine disruptors and even cause birth defects. Congress has actually banned several types of phthalates already from children’s product. Clearly, Congress has much more work to do when it comes to protecting American citizens from toxic, harmful chemicals.

Most Commonly Found In: deodorant, lotion, fragrance & hair spray

3. Fragrance

This one doesn’t sound so scary, but “fragrance” is considered a trade secret which means that companies don’t have to disclose what ingredients are inside. This one is, perhaps, the sneakiest one of all because it’s in sooooo many products!

Often, the ingredients include tons of chemicals that can cause allergies, hormone disruption and lead to bigger health problems, reproductive issues and infertility. Again, buyer beware.

Most Commonly Found In: moisturizers, hand creams and hair products

4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

SLS and SLES are known to cause skin irritation and trigger different allergies. Again, this is an ingredient well worth checking for and to eliminate from your personal care products.

Most Commonly Found In: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath

5. BHT

These are synthetic antioxidants that are used to extend shelf life and are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors that may cause liver damage.

Our liver is our bodies’ main form of detoxification and if that’s not functioning at its best, it’s likely that other organs aren’t functioning at their best either. Found in diaper creams? Say what? This is one of those that makes me really angry and it is highly restricted in Europe. Why no ban or restrictions in the USA?

Most Commonly Found In: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics

The conclusion?

  • Do your homework
  • Find products you trust from sources you can trust
  • Spread the word to those you love

Author’s note: From the beginning of the Mrs. Green’s World journey, I have found the Environmental Working Group to be a trusted source. I would love to hear from you about sources you trust including any thoughts you have about EWG.

To your health!

Gina Murphy-DarlingGina Murphy-Darling, AKA Mrs. Green

From about the age of five, Gina has been on the path of being a disruptor for good. A dreamer at heart, Gina is madly and passionately in love with this great planet of ours and is tireless in her efforts to preserve it.