15 Chemicals to Avoid in Bath and Body Products

This product has three ingredients on the no-no list. The others aren't all that great, either.

This product has three ingredients on the no-no list. The others aren’t all that great, either.

Yesterday, in the post “The Harmful Preservative Lurking in Practically Everything” I talked about Methylisothiazolinone. It is just one of the many harsh chemicals that are commonly found in our bath, beauty, and cleaning products.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average woman uses 12 products containing 168 different ingredients daily and a man 6 products with 85 ingredients. Many of these ingredients are neurotoxins, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and irritants. Using Bubble & Bee Organic’s “Chemical of the Day” database and EWG’s “Top Tips for Safer Products,” I identified the most alarming and common ingredients lurking in your shampoo, conditioner, lotions, facial creams, deodorants, and the like.

Boric Acid and Sodium Borate: testicular damage in animalsdecreased sperm count and libido in humans

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA): caused liver damage and stomach cancer in animal studies, interferes with reproductive system development and thyroid levels in humans

Cocamide DEA: blood, liver, kidney, skin, and neurotoxin

Cyclohexylamine: human immune system toxin, adversely effects the brain and respiratory, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and nervous systems

DMDM Hydantoin: eye, lung, and skin irritant

Fragrance: companies not required to disclose what is in their “fragrance;” hidden chemicals could include irritants or hormone disruptors

Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, and Benzisothiazolinone: causes allergic contact dermatitis, neurotoxin

Parabens: endocrine disruptor, reproductive and developmental disorders, breast cancer

PEG-40 Castor Oil: skin irritant, may contain carcinogens

Phthalates: male reproductive system damage

Propylene Glycol: immune system toxin, neurotoxin, reproductive toxin, respiratory toxin, and skin toxin

Selenium Sulfide: specifically in dandruff shampoos; carcinogen, may cause cancer, toxic to respiratory, nervous, and reproductive systems; use tea tree oil shampoos instead

Toluene: impairs fetal development, immune system toxicity, link to malignant lymphoma

Think about the purpose of the products that contain these chemicals – to penetrate the skin. Every day our bodies soak up these toxic chemicals through lotions, creams, and deodorants. Even some of the so-called “organic” bath and body lines use a few of these ingredients. That is why it is so important to read labels. If you are really ambitious, you can make your own soaps, lotions, and shampoos at home. Do you have a homemade beauty product recipe that you would like to recommend to readers? If so, post the link in the comment section.

7 thoughts on “15 Chemicals to Avoid in Bath and Body Products

  1. Pingback: The Importance of an Organic Facial

  2. Leigh Anne

    The husband uses products for scalp issues. I’ve (tried to) read the ingredients and they sound nasty. Despite my concern of and switch over away from chemical laden products, these products never crossed my mind as replaceable. Thanks for suggested the tea tree products, signing into Melaleuca right now!

  3. Dorothy Geyer

    Lisa, you did a lot of reading work for me! Thanks. I bought some great lye free goats milk soap from the vendors at the Williamsburg farmers market. I also got a great salve from one who is in Virginia Beach (can’t remember her name) that has coconut and apricot oils, and calendula., The have really helped some skin problems I have had.

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