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Toxic ingredients in our everyday products

Toxic ingredients in our everyday products

Talking about this issue is difficult because it can become overwhelming and scary.

Did you know that your cosmetics can be contaminated with heavy metals?

Did you know that the average American woman applies 168 chemicals to her body every single day?

The truth is that the cosmetic and beauty industries are not regulated. Under U.S. law, cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market. Cosmetics must be safe for consumers when used according to directions on the label, or in the customary. But cosmetic companies do not have to share their safety data or file their product formulations with FDA.

If they are not safe for humans, nobody can do nothing unless you get an irreversible illness or die. Until then, the FDA can ask for a voluntary recall for products.

In fact, beauty companies are not required to disclose all the ingredients on products. For example, a product can be labeled as natural and have more than 30% of synthetic ingredients. The name “fragrance” can contain more than a hundred chemicals that are not required to be listed. Actually, the word fragrance is considered a trade secret.

Basically is so hard to know what we are putting in our skin everyday.

These are the toxic ingredients contained in our everyday products:

Parabens (Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben)

Linked to breast cancer development.

Preservatives used in a wide variety of personal care products. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be absorbed through skin, blood and the digestive system.


Banned from cosmetics in the European Union. Phthalates are widely used in color cosmetics, fragranced lotions, body washes and other products sold in the United States. According to The Guardian, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Irritant to skin, can produce carcinogens when mixed with other ingredients.

Also labeled as SLS or SLES, this ingredient is what makes your shampoo or soap lather. According to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology report it “had a degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties.” It is also the first ingredient included on the “Dirty Dozen Chemicals” list compiled by the Marin County Cancer Project.

1,4 Dioxane

1,4-dioxane is generated through a process called ethoxylation, in which ethylene oxide, a known breast carcinogen, is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh. According to The Environmental Working Group 1,4-dioxane was found in 57% of baby washes in the US (although as a by-product it never appears on any labels). 

Diethanolamine/Triethanolamine/Monoethanolamine (D.E.A/T.E.A/M.E.A)


All of the above are ethanolamines: ammonia-based compounds used as emulsifiers and foaming agents in shampoo, soap, body washes, cosmetics, etc. According to The International Agency for Research on Cancer, D.E.A can react with nitrites in other products to form a carcinogenic combination; as a result, the European Commission restricts its use. T.E.A and M.E.A are also believed to pose the same danger.


Triclosan and triclocarban are commonly used antimicrobial agents found in many soaps and detergents. Triclosan, which has been linked to hormone disruption and antibiotic resistance, can be found in soaps, detergents, toothpastes, deodorants, and more.

Scary, right?

Knowing all this can make you feel depressed and probably you will want to throw away all your cosmetics and beauty products right now. Please breathe, stay calm and finish your products, or discard them as harmful ingredients if your community has a facility. Do not throw them on the sink or toilet because you will contaminate the water and we don´t want that.

I will go more in-depth with some ingredients on my future posts and I will introduce you to the brands that have healthier alternatives.

You have now the power, before buying something, please read carefully the ingredients' list and avoid all the above compounds.

Don't risk your health!

We are in this together. Let´s start your journey to a healthier life!

See you around the sea…

-Your Green Mermaid


Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Environmental Working Group

The Guardian

True Botanicals