5 Toxic Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

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5 Toxic Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

We all want younger-looking, healthy skin. But at what cost? According to the Environmental Working Group, the average adult uses 9 personal care products each day, with 126 unique chemical ingredients, many of which are toxic. We’ll show you 5 toxic skincare ingredients to avoid and why.

Butylated Compounds (BHA & BHT)

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are used as preservatives in a wide variety of cosmetics and personal care products, including  moisturizers, lipsticks, eyeliners, eyeshadows, blushes, face powders and foundations.


Both BHA and BHT act as a synthetic antioxidant, slowing down deterioration caused by chemical reactions with oxygen. Note that BHA – butylated hydroxyanisole – should not be confused with beta hydroxy acids, which can also be abbreviated on labels as BHA. How’s that for confusing?


Why you should avoid them:

✔ carcinogen

✔ horomone disruptor

✔ skin irritant


The National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report on Carcinogens, 12th Edition, reports that BHA is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. In addition, lab tests have shown that long-term exposure to BHT (in high doses) can cause liver, thyroid and kidney problems. in mice.



Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in a variety of personal products such as nail polish, hair spray, lotion, soap and other personal care items. Phthalates are often used as softeners, or to keep products from breaking. For example, it functions as a “plasticizer” in nail polish to prevent cracking.


Why you should avoid them:

✔ asthma

✔ attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

✔ breast cancer

✔ obesity and type II diabetes

✔ neurodevelopmental issues

✔ autism spectrum disorders,

✔ altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.


Retinyl palmitate and Retinol

Retinyl and retinol are forms of vitamin A that are primarily used in cosmetics as skin conditioners. They can be used as an antioxidant in sunscreen. In makeup and skincare products they can reduce flaking to enhance the appearance of dry, damaged skin.


Why you should avoid them:

✔ cancer

✔ developmental & reproductive toxicity


The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Cosmetics Database rates the overall hazard of these ingredients as high.



Oxybenzone is a sunscreen ingredient that protects the skin from damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It is also used as an additive to other cosmetics and skincare products to protect against deterioration caused by UV light.


Why you should avoid it:

✔ allergen

✔ immunotoxin

✔ endocrine disruptor


Oxybenzone is an allergen and a hormone disruptor that soaks through skin and can be measured in the body of nearly every American today. In laboratory studies, it has been found to act as a weak estrogen hormone; it is also associated with altered birth weight in human studies.


Environmental Hazard

Additionally, in laboratory experiments, oxybenzone has caused the damage and deformation of coral, coral bleaching, and coral death. It can even disrupt the development of fish and other wildlife. This has led Hawaii to ban the use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone, as it has significant and harmful impacts on Hawaii’s marine environment and residing ecosystems.



PEGs, or polyethylene glycols, are petroleum-based compounds used throughout the cosmetics industry as thickeners of softeners. In addition, PEGs also allow the product to absorb more readily into the skin.


Why you should avoid it:

✔ carcinogen

✔ developmental toxicant


The California Environmental Protection Agency has classified polyethylene glycols as a developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development.

What can you do to avoid toxic cosmetics?

If you are looking for more natural cosmetics products, Gone to Green Market carries plenty of options from trusted companies. Check out a few of our favorite options for organic makeup, mineral makeup and cruelty-free makeup:


Mineral Fusion

Mineral Fusion’s mission is to make cosmetics, skin care, body care, nail care, hair care healthy and effective while contributing to the wellbeing of our community. Need a few reasons to love them? They select only effective natural ingredients, as well as make products free of gluten, parabens, talc, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, SLS, and phthalates. They NEVER conduct animal testing. Finally, they are committed to sustainability and utilize wind power, soy inks, packaging from recycled materials and packaging that is recyclable.


Everyday Minerals

All of Everyday Minerals’ products are 100% vegan, sustainable, and cruelty free. Handmade in Austin, eco-friendly and recyclable packaging stays true to their commitment of preserving the natural beauty of the world and each other.


Beauty by Earth

All of Beauty by Earth’s products are made with 100% natural ingredients – no iffy chemicals, no fillers, and no junk. They’re also Leaping Bunny certified, so you can buy with confidence knowing that your products have never been tested on animals.


Alba Botanica

Alba Botanica® is grounded in compassion and the ethical treatment of all living things. None of their products, or any of the ingredients in them, are tested on animals. Their products are also 100% vegetarian, reef friendly, biodegradable and recyclable. Finally, they do not manufacture any products with microbeads.

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