Dirty 30: How to Avoid Toxic Ingredients and Choose Safer Products

From our friends at MyChelle Dermaceuticals

Every day, millions of us reach for products that help keep our skin clean, hair shiny, teeth white and body smelling lovely. From moisturizer and lipstick to sunscreen and shampoo, these products are indispensable in today’s busy world.

Skin care ingredient lists use scientific names and it’s hard to know which of these are bad and which just “sound” bad. We’ve made it easier for you by creating the Dirty 30, which lists the most toxic chemicals used in skin care today. Sure, it’s cheaper and easier to buy a synthetic, toxic ingredient, but that’s not MyChelle’s style. MyChelle does not use the chemical preservatives, petroleum derivatives or toxic byproducts found in most skin care.

Now that you know what to avoid, the next step is learning how to recognize safe and effective ingredients. MyChelle uses a variety of natural alternatives, so you don’t have to choose between a great complexion or good health.

Ingredient Common Uses Affects
Amylcinnamaldehyde Scent masking agent in face, skin care products Synthetic scent masking agent and
known carcinogen.
Artificial Colors

(FD&C or D&C followed by color and/or number)

Skin care, make-up, food, drinks Petroleum based; linked to allergies,
cancer, and ADHD.
Benzalkonium Chloride Antibacterial agent used in wipes, gels, contact
solution, soap, skin antiseptics, spermicides
Antibacterial agent linked to allergies
and organ toxicity.
Benzoyl Peroxide Acne care, bleaching agent Eye, skin, and respiratory irritant.
Bisphenol-A (BPA)
(#7 plastics may contain BPA, #1-6 are unlikely)
Hard plastic packaging, bottles, make-up,
nail polish
Hormone disruptor.
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), Butylated
Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Preservative or fragrance masking agent in skin
care and food products
Petroleum derived preservatives linked
to endocrine disruption.
Butylphenyl Methlyproprional (Lilial) Body and hair care, moisturizers Allergen and immune toxicant.
Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA),
Monoethanolamine (MEA)
Emulsifier, pH adjuster, and foaming agent in
shampoo, soaps, cosmetics
Foaming agent that causes carcinogenic
EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic), Tetrasodium
EDTA, Disodium EDTA
Binders in skin, hair and body care A potential formaldehyde (carcinogen)
Fragrances (synthetic) Nearly everything: personal care, laundry and
cleaning products, candles, air freshener
Contain thousands of chemicals; linked
to cancer and allergies.
Hydroquinone Antioxidant, fragrance ingredient, bleaching
agent and colorant in body, skin and hair care
Causes photosensitivity and skin
Imidazolidinyl, Diazolidinyl, DMDM Ureas used as antimicrobial preservatives in
personal care products
Preservatives that release formaldehyde,
a carcinogen.
Preservatives in body, skin and hair care,
Skin irritant and possible neurotoxin.
Mineral Oil or Mineral Spirits Conditioning agent and solvent in make-up and
skin, body, and hair care
Petroleum based; clogs pores and
inhibits cell renewal.
Octyl dimethyl PABA
(padimate-0 or p-aminobenzoic acid)
Sunscreen, lipstick, lip balm, and skin care to
block UV light
Linked to allergenic dermatitis and
Oxybenzone Sunscreen to absorb UV light Linked to hormone disruption and
cellular damage.
(methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-, isobutyl-,
isopropyl-, poly-, benzyl-, phenyl-, calcium-,
potassium-, icodecyl-, sodium-)
The most commonly used synthetic
preservatives in skin, hair and body care
Mimics estrogen and disrupts
hormones. Easily absorbs in skin and
bioaccumulates. Linked to several
types of cancer.
Petroleum Jelly or White Petrolatum Skin, hair and bath care, makeup, shaving,
sunscreen, cleaning products
Often contaminated with heavy metals
and carcinogens.
Phenylenediamine (PPD)
(o-, m-, p-, nitro-, amino-):
Hair dye Toxic when mixed with hydrogen
peroxide in hair dyes.
(tere-, naph-, iso-, soy protein-, dibutyl-):
Plasticizer in nail polish, hair spray, perfume.
Often listed at Fragrance
Impairs endocrine system. Linked to
early breast development.
Polyacrylamide Antistatic agent and film forming agent in
moisturizers, gels, creams
Synthetic polymer made from
acrylamide, a carcinogen.
Polybutene, Polyisobutene Plasticizer and viscosity agent in lip and eye
products, sunscreen
Skin irritant derived from petroleum.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
(Followed by a dash and number)
Skin care, makeup, baby products, sunscreen Often contaminated with cancer causing
toxins such as dioxin.
Propylene Glycol (PG), Polypropylene Glycol
Lotion, deodorant, sunscreen, shampoo,
conditioner, body washes
Damages skin by breaking down
proteins and cellular structure.
Quaternium, Polyquaternium
(Followed by a number)
Preservatives in makeup, skin, body
and hair care
Preservatives that release formaldehyde,
a carcinogen.
(cyclopenta-, cyclotetra-, hydroxypropyl
poly-, dimethylpoly-):
Hair and skin conditioning agent and emollient
in conditioners, deodorant, foundation
A known endocrine disruptor and skin
and eye irritant.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth
Sulfate (SLES):
Common foaming agent in health and beauty
Foaming agents contaminated with 1,4
dioxane, a carcinogen.
Talc/Talcum powder Makeup, baby, body and deodorizing powders Causes respiratory problems. May be
contaminated with asbestos fibers.
Triclosan Antibacterial agent and preservative in toothpaste,
personal care, and home cleaning products
A synthetic preservative and endocrine
Urea Humectant and buffering agent in skin care.
Very common synthetic preservative.
Releases formaldehyde, possible

Now that you know what to avoid, the next step is learning how to recognize safe and effective ingredients. MyChelle uses a variety of natural alternatives, so you don’t have to choose between a great complexion or good health.

Toxic Ingredients MyChelle’s Safe & Effective Alternatives
Phthalates Essential Oils; Natural Herbal, Floral and Fruit Extracts
Parabens D-Alpha Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Plantservative from Honeysuckle
Benzoyl Peroxide Totarol, Willow Bark, Tea Tree Oil, Sulphur, Zinc, Lemongrass
Emulsifiers (DEA, TEA, MEA) Plant Waxes, Xanthan Gum, Cetearyl Olivate
Propylene Glycol (PG) Lecithin, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Vegetable Glycerin
Sulfates (SLS/SLES) Sugar Compounds, Coconut Oil Compounds
Ureas Enzymes, Amino Acids, Oregano, Fruit Extracts
Artificial Colors No added color; just 100% natural coloring from vitamins, herbs, fruits and flowers

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