10 Common Skincare Ingredients Everyone Should Avoid

We're all aware that harmful chemicals are abundant in our food, skincare products, household cleaners, and other household products. Companies are getting better at hiding these products through "greenwashing"--which is just a term to describe the marketing techniques used to promote a product as "healthy and clean".

I've created a quick list of just a few of the thousands of products to be aware of and avoid:

1. Fragrance: fragrance is a completely unregulated term for a variety of "scents". It's arguably the most common toxin in a wide range of products. 

Because the ingredient "fragrance" is unregulated, it allows for companies to hide additives such as neurotoxins, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and other harmful additives. 

Products that include: fragrance, natural scents, perfume, essential oil blend, aroma, eau de toilette should all be avoided. 

2. Seed oils: seed oils have been set on a pedestal due to their "unsaturated" nature. The reality of unsaturated fatty acids is that they are highly unstable. Unstable oils will oxidize quickly; oxidized products will lead to free radical damage (wrinkles) over time.

Seed oils include: canola, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, rosehip, grapeseed, soybean, almond, corn, rapeseed, flaxseed oils. These oils are extracted from the seed through a complex industrial process. I'll share more on this later in another post.

3. Formaldehyde: used to prolong shelf life. Some products will contain formaldehyde, and some products will contain ingredients that release formaldehyde. Yikes. 

Other names for formaldehyde include:

  • Formalin
  • Formic aldehyde
  • Methanediol
  • Methanal
  • Methyl aldehyde
  • Methylene glycol
  • Methylene oxide

And preservatives that can release formaldehyde:

  • Benzylhemiformal
  • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol
  • 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • 1,3-dimethylol-5,5-dimethylhydantoin (or DMDM hydantoin)
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  • Quaternium-15

Lists came from cancer.org and more on formaldehyde can be found there. 

4. Petroleum Jelly: Petroleum jelly has made a huge comeback with "slugging" (you can find more info on slugging in my IG story highlights @alaskatallowco). 

Petroleum jelly is an ingredient added to increase moisture in a product. Unfortunately, it's derived from crude oil and contains polyciclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a known carcinogen. PAHs have been linked with decreased lung function, asthma, and cardiovascular diseases. (Read more here from the World Health Organization.)

5. Parabens: an extremely common preservative that is also an endocrine disruptor. "Endocrine" referring to hormones. 

Some parabens include: polyparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, polyparaben. 

6. Oxybenzone: found in sunscreens and NOT something I'd ever put on my skin, let alone my child's skin. Hawaii has banned this ingredient because of its harm to coral reefs. Imagine its harm to your body? Oxybenzone is found to be an endocrine-disruptor.  

7. Phthalates: phthalates are a group of chemicals that keep plastic flexible. Diethyl Phthalate (DEP) is commonly used is cosmetics/skincare products and has been linked to endocrine disruption and is disruptive to development and reproductive health.

8. BTH & BHA: Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BTH) and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) are used to prevent free radical formation from products that oxidize...remember that info about seed oils? These both are known skin irritants and carcinogens.

9. Talc: talc is found in many powders. Not only does it clog pores, it can also contain asbestos--which has been linked to lung cancer. 

10. Aluminum: most known for being indeodorants, aluminum is a known nervous system toxin. Aluminum is prone to be absorbed by the skin and may be linked to Alzheimer's disease. 

I've got good news and bad news: the bad news is that this list of "ingredients to avoid" could go on forever. The good news is that Alaska Tallow Co's products are completely organic, whole, real, and most importantly safe for your skin. Your skin absorbs everything you put on it, so make sure your products are the best they can be! 

If you're new to tallow products, I recommend starting with Alpenglow :)



PS: One of my favorite sources for all things clean beauty is ewg.com -- a company committed to educating consumers on legislation that impacts our toxic load consumption. You can head over to their website for further information on many of these ingredients on this list!

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