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Are you shopping to replenish your skincare arsenal? The skin is the largest organ in the body. It protects you from a world of unimaginable dangers, so it only makes sense that you’d want to protect it. Part of that is making sure that the skin care products you use are free of all those nasty and toxic ingredients. And the only way to do that is to be aware of what ingredients it is you’re supposed to avoid. 

In this article is a list of the top ingredients to avoid when shopping for holistic skincare. Read each entry carefully and keep an eye out for them on your skin care product labels. 

Parabens (Butyl, Ethyl, Methyl, and Propyl)

Parabens are found in various food products and pharmaceuticals. They’re also a common ingredient in skin care products like moisturizers and deodorants. Due to their bacteria, fungus, and yeast-fighting properties, parabens can significantly increase a product’s shelf life. This saves manufacturers thousands, even millions of dollars, in the long run. Thus, it’s no wonder that most people think it’s harmless. Unfortunately, this belief couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

The chemical structure of parabens closely resembles the estrogen hormone. When ingested, parabens can cause hormonal disruptions in the body, resulting in reproductive health issues, fertility problems, and pregnancy or birth defects. Some studies also show that parabens can lead to increased growth of breast cancer cells.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This ingredient is often found in facial cleansers and is generally seen as an effective agent in removing dirt and debris from the face. Unfortunately, this ingredient does come with a few downsides. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate can strip the skin of its natural oils, causing dry skin and irritation. Some people even develop eczema and dermatitis. 

If you’re someone with particularly sensitive skiing, you may want to look into a personalized face cleanser made with all-natural ingredients. This ensures that your cleanser is tailored to suit your skin. No more itchy redness and annoying inflammations! 


Although the FDA has banned the use of mercury in cosmetics, some shady manufacturers still use the ingredient in cosmetics as a skin-lightening agent. Mercury is a highly toxic metal that can cause all sorts of harmful side effects, including skin rashes, scarring, skin discoloration, and — in more severe cases — kidney damage. There have even been studies linking the use of mercury to mental and emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression. 

Mercury in cosmetics won’t only affect the people using the products. This heavy metal can contaminate the air and can easily make its way to your pets and other family members. This puts them at risk of developing health conditions that are permanent and fatal. Unfortunately, not all cosmetic companies disclose product ingredients on labels. And since mercury doesn’t have a distinct smell, it can be tricky to identify which products are safe and which are not. 

Avoiding products containing anti-aging or skin-whitening properties can help ensure you don’t expose yourself to mercury in cosmetics. You might also want to shift to cruelty-free and vegan makeup brands to avoid using toxic ingredients that can harm your skin. 

Synthetic Fragrances (Parfum)

It’s not uncommon for cosmetic manufacturers to use perfume to make their products more attractive to consumers. To cut back on costs, some manufacturers use synthetic fragrances or “parfum.” It’s a mixture of chemicals that are sometimes harmful to the skin. Thus, some people experience side effects like redness, irritation, swelling, and even burning sensations after coming into contact with synthetic fragrances. 

Natural fragrances are preferred because they don’t cause nearly as much irritation. Essential oils are added to products such as moisturizers and creams, giving products aromatic properties that make them irresistible to clients. 


In skincare, siloxanes are used to smoothen and lubricate the skin. It can also reduce hair frizziness and dryness. You can find siloxanes in most moisturizers, foundations, and shampoos. However, while it’s effective at its job of lubrication, it has significantly dangerous side effects on the body. 

Studies show that persistent use of siloxanes can cause fertility issues and uterine tumors to develop in women. It can also disrupt the endocrine system’s functions and can also influence the neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Not just that — siloxanes have also been found to negatively impact marine life and other wildlife. 

Final Thoughts

There are over a thousand different skincare products on the market today. Choosing one that’s safe and healthy for your skin can be tricky. Checking the labels and researching products before you finalize purchases is key to protecting your skin and overall wellbeing. Additionally, switching to all-natural products can ensure that you aren’t exposed to any harmful chemicals or toxins. It will decrease your risk of allergic reactions and skin irritation —  not to mention other health conditions that result from being exposed to chemicals in cosmetics.

Blog Contributor
– Kat Sarmiento


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