Toxic Bad Guys

What is in your kids’ skin care products?pink-germ

What is it? Why is it used? Why is it bad?


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS):

  • can be found in many toothpastes, shampoos and facial cleansers
  • causes products to lather and foam
  • eye and skin irritant; environmental toxin


  • can be found in many sunscreens
  • acts as an ultraviolet light absorber
  • associated with mammalian cell mutation (potentially cancerous)

PABA and PABA Esters:

  • can be found in lipstick, products with SPF, lip balm, skin fading/lightener, conditioner, facial moisturizer/treatment, moisturizer, styling gel/lotion
  • acts as an ultraviolet light absorber and filter
  • releases reactive oxygen radicals that can damage DNA, potentially leading to cancer and/or cardiovascular disease, causes allergic reactions in some people, associated with weak endocrine disruption; suspected to be an environmental toxin

Cinnamates, also seen as Octyl Methoxycinnamate (OMC):

  • can be found in sunscreens and lip balms
  • acts as an ultraviolet light absorber, reduces the appearance of scars
  • disrupts endocrine activity (especially reproductive glands)

Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine:

  • can be found in foundation, sunscreen SPF 15 and above, hair color and bleaching, moisturizer, anti-itch cream, anti-fungal treatment
  • acts as a pH adjuster
  • known to be a human respiratory and immune system toxicant; skin irritant

Paraben Preservatives (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Isobutyl):

  • can be found in facial moisturizer/treatment, anti-aging moisturizer, facial cleanser, sunscreen SPF 15 and above, conditioner, eye shadow, hair color and bleaching, foundation, shampoo
  • acts as a preservative and a fragrance ingredient
  • can interfere with gene expression (cellular level changes), strong evidence for causing endocrine disruption and skin irritation

Polyethylene Glycol (also listed as PEG):

  • can be found in facial moisturizer/treatment, hair color and bleaching, anti-aging moisturizer, facial cleanser, conditioner, shampoo, styling gel/lotion, body wash/cleanser, antiperspirant/deodorant, toothpastes
  • used as a lubricant, solvent, dispersant (binds to water and keeps gums uniformly distributed), and humectant (helps to retain moisture)
  • potentially toxic to some organ systems (non-reproductive); not safe for use on injured or damaged skin

Phthalates (listed under fragrance, if not named):

  • can be found in nail polish, nail treatment, cuticle treatment
  • used as plasticizers to increase product’s flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity, used as lubricants and gelling agents
  • potentially cause endocrine disruption, cumulative effects have been associated with breast cancer; biodegradation of phthalates cause high concentrations of isomers to be released into the environment

Benzophone, more commonly known as Oxybenzone:

  • can be found in many sunscreens
  • acts as an ultraviolet light absorber and filter
  • can cause significant photoallergenic effects, can interfere with cellular signaling to cause mutations and cell death (implicated in cardiovascular disease), toxic to wildlife and the environment

Formaldehyde Derivatives:

  • can be found in nail polishes and treatments, styling gels and lotions
  • used as a disinfectant and preservative
  • known human immune and respiratory system toxicant and skin toxicant, known human carcinogen, possible cardiovascular toxicant; suspected to be an environmental toxin

Note: Did you know with all of the personal care products you use every day, you could be putting toxins into your body up to 25 times a day.

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