Chemicals to avoid in cosmetics

Our skin is the largest organ on our body which protects,regulates and gives us sensation. It also has the function of detoxing – excreting toxin through sweat. Hence, this makes it even more important that we are aware of the things that we apply on on our skin. The cosmetics and skincare industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. The decision to purchase certain product is usually driven very much by the brand name, the advertisement and promotions. People often do not question on the ingredients of the products. Do you know what is in your cosmetics? What are the chemicals to avoid in cosmetics?

It is sometimes difficult to totally avoid chemicals in our cosmetics and skincare. However, some chemicals are more toxic than others and are carcinogenic.We should really try to avoid them when choosing which cosmetics to buy. Here is a list of toxic ingredients in cosmetics

ChemicalsHarmful effects
Coal Tar- Derived from processing of coal. It is a complex chemical itself made up of carbons, phenols and heterocyclic compounds-Carcinogen
-Can cause skin sensitivities and allergies
Mineral Oil- By product of refining crude oil-Carcinogen
-Untreated/mildly treated mineral oil has been classified by World Health Organisation to be carcinogenic. No conclusive study on whether the highly treated ones are harmful to human
Crystalline silica - found in stone, soil and sand-Carcinogen
-it is harmful to health when we inhale them hence it mainly affects the respiratory system increasing risk of diseases like lung cancer
Formaldehyde- Product of catalytic oxidation of methanol-Carcinogen
-Highly toxic and can cause allergies as well
-Studies have shown that inhaling formaldehyde can affect the immune system, irritating the eyes and respiratory system
Hexavalent chromium- a type of heavy metal-Carcinogen
-Chronic inhalation leads to lung cancer and those of the respiratory system
Cadmium- a type of heavy metal-Carcinogen
-Ingested or inhaled harm the kidneys, repiratory system, reproductive system, heart and the brain
Lead- a form of heavy metal-Carcinogen
-Highly toxic, lead poisoning can leads to death via severe damage to kidney and brain. It can affects all the systems in the body

Most of those listed in the table have been banned by the European Commission for use in cosmetics and skincare. However, the industry is still highly unregulated and we consumers have to be aware of the toxic ingredients and what harm they can do to us. It is always better to go for one with simpler and lesser ingredients. Think of how much chemicals you are piling on your skin, absorbing them and inhaling them on a daily basis, coupled with the environment and food, it is no wonder cancer and diseases are rising despite advancement in medicals.

With the increasing awareness of safety of products, I am delighted that in recent years we are able to find more natural cosmetic and skincare products. With knowledge, we are able to make better choices for ourselves. Stay pretty and stay healthy!

2 thoughts on “Chemicals to avoid in cosmetics

  1. I love this post, thank you!! Being aware is the first step in taking action against these chemicals that we truly should avoid.
    I was born and raised in Europe but now live in the US and it is crazy to me how many things are banned in Europe but allowed here in the US. Sad when it’s the money that controls things and not the health of the customer…


    1. Hi Vicky, yes sadly its true but with increasing awareness and knowledge, we can make better choices. Due to increase awareness, I also noticed over the years, more companies are dishing out natural products claiming their products are all natural/organic. That we have to be skeptical as well as not all things are created equally.

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