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10 Ingredients That Your Skincare Product Should Not Contain


You may not be aware of your skincare product’s ingredients, even though they promise clear, healthy skin. These ingredients may directly harm your skin, cause allergic reactions, and increase your risk of organ toxicity and cancer. So, you must look out and read the ingredients before applying them.

However, there are the best skincare brands Australia has to offer different beauty products that are safe and gentle on your skin.

Ingredients To Avoid On Your Skincare Product

Each skincare product has many ingredients on them. So look out for the following ingredients on your current skincare products or those you’re looking forward to buying. This will help you see which skincare products can cause more harm than good for your skin.

1. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde, or formalin, is usually found in nail polish, eyelash glue, and hair serums. Higher concentrations can cause breathing difficulties and trigger asthma attacks. You may have also known that formalin was used as a preservative for human corpses, mostly in funeral parlors.

This compound is now classified as carcinogenic for humans and animals, which can increase cancer and disrupt hormone balance.

2. Parabens


You may have encountered parabens (butyl parabens, isobutyl parabens, methylparaben, propylparaben, and more) on some shampoo products, body washes, and makeup back in the day. Parabens are used to provide longer shelf life since they prevent bacterial growth.

There has been a strong link from research that it can disrupt hormones and fertility. This is due to parabens acting like estrogens or having estrogenic activity, producing less estrogen, which can affect the reproductive system or even lead to congenital disabilities.

Therefore, you can see other skincare products on their packaging that says it’s paraben-free and they’re safer options, whereas most are organic.

3. Alcohol

Alcohols such as ethanol, isopropanol, and propanol are the commonly denatured type of alcohol used in skin care products like perfumes, shampoos, lotions, and astringents. They help to tighten skin and pore-minimizing function yet can cause dryness to the skin and may cause damage.

Another factor in causing dryness is that it will stimulate the skin for oil production to maintain moisture. Excess oil production can increase the risk of accumulating dirt and lead to acne breakouts.

There’s research where you can use fatty alcohols (cetearyl, cetyl, stearyl), which are safer since they contain emulsifiers that keep the oil and liquid in the products.

4. Oxybenzone

Despite oxybenzone being a used ingredient in sunscreens and moisturizers, it can cause allergic reactions and may disrupt your hormonal levels. So if you have sunscreen or moisturizers that contain such, it’s time to switch to better alternatives that should rather contain mineral sunscreens, particularly zinc oxide. Generally, it helps deflect sun rays and decrease exposure to harmful UV rays.

5. Heavy Metals


Heavy metal ingredients such as zinc, lead, and mercury usually provides metallic sheen or radiance to makeup products like eyeliner, compact powder, eye shadows, blushes, and lipsticks. Although being exposed to these ingredients may cause developmental delays, neurologic deficits, and endocrine disorders.

Lead has been tried to be monitored by the FDA in cosmetic products as certain unsafe levels can cause lead poisoning. As lead is a readily absorbed metal, it can disrupt calcium metabolism, affecting parts of your body that need calcium (bones, brain, kidneys, stomach, intestine, and blood) and causing toxicity.

At 10 µg/mL, lead can already cause developmental toxicity (decreased IQ or growth), especially in pregnant women during the fetus’ development.

6. Phthalates

Phthalates work on skincare products to make fragrances stick and last on your skin or use them in cosmetics as softeners. This ingredient is used in shampoos, soaps, lotions, perfumes, and hairsprays. Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is more commonly used to penetrate the skin in lotions and moisturizers and to make the scent longer.

Unlike lead, phthalates don’t have a significant health risk but are known to disrupt normal endocrine function. Yet some research links phthalates to cause congenital disabilities.

Also, phthalates are sometimes components of fragrance ingredients, so they may not be the ones listed but rather the fragrance ingredients stated on the skincare products’ packaging.

7. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is commonly used in skincare products as a moisture carrier and thickener and is found in sunscreens and shampoos. The PEG compounds are considered carcinogens, as once these compounds get contaminated with ethylene oxide, the ethoxylation process can cause multiple kinds of cancer.

8. Toluene


Toluene is seen in nail polish ingredients or even in paint thinners. It’s a petrochemical solvent associated with non-reproductive organ toxicity, congenital disabilities, and lung irritants. To have toxic-free nails, you can switch to vegan nail polishes to avoid exposure to toluene.

9. Octinoxate

Octinoxate or Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) is a common sunscreen ingredient because it can filter out UVB rays but not UVA rays from the sun. However, they can cause endocrine disruption and toxicity in reproductive organs.

It increases the risk of breast cancer since it exposes your body to estrogen. Also, it can impact female reproductive organs, where it can lower estradiol and progesterone levels and may cause infertility and miscarriages.

Moreover, females may be more at risk when exposed to octinoxate, especially in teenagers already having their periods, pregnant women, and their children. In cosmetics, FDA has recommended a certain level of 7.5%

10. Talc

Talc is used in blushes and eyeshadows, but they may contain asbestos, and if you get exposed by inhaling these talc powders, it can lead to lung cancer. More organic ingredient alternatives include corn, baking soda, or tapioca.


Watch Out For These Harmful Ingredients

Skincare regimens shouldn’t lead you to get more risk due to harmful ingredients. Your skin should be healthy without affecting your other body systems. Also, your skincare products should be there to cleanse your body and not intoxicate it further. Watch out for allergic reactions like skin redness or itchiness, bumps, swollen face or tongue, and breathlessness.

Written by Kan Dail