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Ingredients to Avoid for Healthy Beauty

by Sandy Taylor

Just as many people monitor the ingredients in food to ensure that they are putting wholesome nutrients into their body, they should also pay attention to the ingredients in their beauty routine. It might seem less necessary to monitor your topical beauty products as they are not going directly into your body, but face washes, cosmetics, shampoos, and anything else you put on your body can actually soak in through your skin and have an effect on your body’s composition and overall health.

Sadly, many harmful ingredients in beauty products slip through the cracks, as the FDA does not have the authority to approve cosmetics before they are released to consumers. Therefore, it’s up to you to pay attention to labels and weed out the bad beauty product ingredients from the good. If you’re ready to start your journey towards natural and wholesome beauty, read below for five ingredients you should avoid for healthy beauty.



Parabens are used to stop the growth of fungus and bacteria in a variety of beauty products, including toothpastes, shampoos, conditioners, and makeup. While acting as a preservative might sound like a good thing, parabens can actually mimic the properties of estrogen inside the body, disrupting hormone function and leading to an increased risk of breast cancer. Although the amount of parabens in most beauty products is very low, constant exposure to these harmful chemicals over time can have disastrous effects on your body.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate, more commonly known as SLS, is the ingredient that is used to help cleansers and washers create foam. While SLS is derived from coconuts, it becomes toxic when it is exposed to contaminants during the manufacturing process. Beyond the fact that it can cause skin and eye irritation, SLS can also build up in your body over time, as you lack the needed enzymes to break down these chemicals and flush them out.

Sulfates have been tied to skin irritation, neurotoxicity, cancer, and organ toxicity. While the cumulative long-term effects have not been fully studied, it’s safer to look for products that are SLS-free and minimize the risks that are associated with this common chemical.



Much like parabens, formaldehyde is also added to beauty products to stop bacteria growth. Because of its preserving qualities, formaldehyde can be found in all kinds of beauty products, including body washes, conditioners, nail polish, shampoo, makeup, and cleansers.

Not only does formaldehyde cause skin irritation, it is also a skin sensitizer, so constant exposure to formaldehyde over time can cause lead to an outbreak of dermatitis and other harmful skin reactions. If red, swollen, and sore skin isn’t enough to scare you away, exposure to formaldehyde has also been linked to the increased risk of cancer.



Phthalates are key components in plastics that often appear in nail polish, perfume, lotions, and hair sprays. Phthalates have been known to disrupt the endocrine system, and have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive defects in both men and women. While there has not been comprehensive research on the harmful effects of phthalates, there is also very little evidence to prove that these chemicals are safe for human exposure. Since the presence of phthalates is often not noted on beauty labels, it’s best to stick to natural and organic beauty products if you’re trying to avoid these harmful chemicals.



Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical that was first introduced as a surgical scrub in hospitals. Today, it is most commonly found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps, and deodorants, as it is assumed to inhibit the growth of bacteria or fungi. However, triclosan has also been linked to endocrine disruption, and has long been thought to be a carcinogenTriclosan has also been known to cause bacterial resistance, making it much more difficult to eliminate bacteria and fungi the longer it is used. There is also no evidence to suggest that washing with an antibacterial soap is more effective than regular soap and water.


Healthy Beauty & Skincare

When it comes to healthy beauty, it’s best to steer clear of these and other harmful chemicals. Examining the labels of your beauty products and weeding out harmful ingredients is a semi-effective way to enhance your natural beauty routine, but it also runs the risk that you miss an ingredient or two that can have disastrous effects on your body over time. The best way to embrace a healthy routine is to look for natural products that will deliver worry-free beauty.


Author Bio:

Beverly Goldberg is a freelance writer and skincare enthusiast based in Los Angeles, CA. She loves experimenting with new products and ingredients, and frequently writes review about upcoming brands — like YUNI Beauty. In her free time, she enjoys gardening.

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