More Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in Your Beauty Products

Hello friends! I’m back from Labor Day weekend with a follow-up post from the new clean beauty series I kicked off a couple weeks ago. I shared 14 toxic ingredients worth avoiding in beauty products and gave you all the scoop on the first seven ingredients. Today, it’s time to focus on the second half.

If you missed the explanation of clean beauty, take a look at my previous post before you keep reading. After all, understanding clean beauty and the toxic ingredients to avoid are key to taking good care of our skin. Unfortunately, we live in a country where brands easily add “natural” or “clean” to their product labels without any truth in what they are telling consumers. But that aside, the good news is there is information out there about what toxic beauty ingredients to avoid. Here’s the full list, so you can see it again.

Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate

Why it’s toxic: When applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, retinol and retinyl palmitate, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions and make you more susceptible to skin cancer.

Where it’s used: Anti-aging creams and lotions, moisturizers, and foundation

TIP: I know retinol is a very popular ingredient in beauty routines. So, if you don’t want to give it up, apply it at night and wash your face in the morning.


Why it’s toxic: Oxybenzone is a chemical that can disrupt our endocrine system. That means it can mess up our hormones; and research shows it can cause cancer.

Where it’s used: sunscreen

TIP: For a safer sunscreen option, look for Titanium Dioxide and or Zinc Oxide in the list of ingredients.

Note: There’s a lot of conflicting information about oxybenzone. It’s technically still FDA-approved, and many say it is “safe”. But, because oxybenzone is a chemical that has been connected to major health problems, I recommend avoiding it!





Why it’s toxic: Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent and carcinogen that decreases the production of melanin on the skin. This makes a person prone to skin cancer and other skin conditions. Because of its toxic makeup, hydroquinone increases your skin’s sensitivity to direct sunlight.

Where it’s used: facial creams, toners, skin-lightening beauty products


Why it’s toxic: Triclosan and triclocarban are antibacterial agents that can impact your hormone and harm your reproductive system. Triclosan can also disrupt thyroid functions.

Where it’s used: toothpaste, antiperspirant, deodorant, antibacterial soap, body wash and shaving cream.


Why it’s toxic: Exposure to lead has been linked to health concerns including organ system toxicity, reduced fertility in men and women, hormonal changes and irregularities with menstruation.

Where it’s used: Lip products, whitening toothpaste, eyeliner, nail color, foundations, sunscreens, eye shadows, blush, concealer, moisturizers, eye drops

Of these seven toxic ingredients, I know lead seems like a no-brainer. But, what’s scary is that lead can be in our beauty products and not listed in the ingredients because it’s in them as a color additive.

From researching clean beauty and toxic ingredients, I found that companies can easily find ways to incorporate toxic ingredients, while still making their products seem clean. Often, companies make their products for a lot cheaper when toxic ingredients are involved. In some cases, I think companies simply don’t want to invest in finding safe or safer formulas for their products. It’s unfortunate that this is how it is, but there is definitely a lot more transparency with toxic ingredients in beauty products than there was 10 years ago. So, hopefully that progress will continue!

If you’re new to clean beauty and/or looking for more clean beauty products, it’s so important to find a beauty brand or brands you can trust. That’s something that I am on the hunt for, and I am excited to share my experiences as I try out a handful of clean beauty brands.

TIP: When you find a beauty ingredient your’e unsure about, search for it on the Environmental Working Group’s site to get an idea of how toxic it is.

If you have clean beauty products you’re trying, I would love to hear all about them. I’m also curious if there are certain toxic ingredients you’re adamant about avoiding. Let’s chat in the comments!




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