Personal care products can also significantly increase how many toxins we come in contact with every day. Many of these chemicals are endocrine disruptors and known carcinogens. 


Let’s take a look at some of the most toxic ingredients found in personal care products and then talk about some ways to avoid them by choosing healthier alternatives. 

Toxic Personal Care Product Dirty Dozen List: Ingredients we all Should be Avoiding 


  1. BHA: Aka butylated hydroxyanisole is commonly found in perfume and cologne and is a known carcinogen. It may also negatively impact the reproductive system and disrupt thyroid function. Europe doesn’t even allow BHA in their fragrance because it is not considered “safe.” 

   2. Triclosan: Triclosan is found in antibacterial soap, toothpaste, and deodorant, but it has been linked to numerous health issues including hormonal and         immune system disruption and is even associated with an increased risk of allergies. You will want to steer clear of any antibacterial soap that uses                 triclosan, and always check the ingredient list of the toothpaste and deodorant you use. Choose natural and cleaner options instead. Read on to learn           about some of my top tips for avoiding chemicals like triclosan, and choosing safer options. 

   3. Coal Tar: A chemical commonly found in dry shampoos, soap, hair dye, and lotion and is known to hold carcinogenic properties. (1)

   4. Parabens: One of the more commonly talked about chemicals, parabens should be avoided for a few different reasons. For one, they have the                       potential to mimic estrogen in the body which can lead to reproductive and endocrine disruption. Parabens are commonly found in lotions, makeup,               shampoo,and tanning products. Be sure to stick to products that are labeled as being “paraben free.” 

   5. Polyethylene (PEGs): Commonly found in body washes, toothpaste, and cosmetics, PEGs are chemicals that hold carcinogenic properties and can be         extremely irritating to the skin. 

   6. Petroleum Distillates: These are petroleum extracted toxins found in cosmetics like mascara that are produced in oil refineries. They are certainly not           something you want to be putting on your skin! They can lead to skin irritations and may contain other health hazards depending on what impurities               they contain from production. 

   7. Fragrance (Parfum): Fragrance can be found in just about any one of our personal care products from the lotion we use to the anti-aging face cream             we use, to the shampoo we use in our hair. Fragrance is not only found in perfume and cologne, it is found in just about everything we use on our skin.           The problem with it is that legally, cosmetic companies are able to put “fragrance” on the list of ingredients without disclosing what chemicals are                     actually added to the product. This is scary because we truly don’t know what chemicals we are exposing our bodies to. Many fragrance-based                       chemicals have been linked to hormone and endocrine disruption. It’s best to stick to fragrance-free at all costs, and this even goes for the laundry                 detergent you use to wash your clothes.

   8. Oxybenzone: Found in sunscreen, oxybenzone acts like estrogen in the body, increasing the risk of endocrine disruption. Avoid sunscreen with                     oxybenzone, and choose ones with zinc oxide or titanium oxide instead.

   9. Formaldehyde: Believe it or not formaldehyde finds its way into our personal care products more times than you would think. It is commonly found in             nail polish and even some cosmetic products. It can cause endocrine disruption and respiratory health issues.

  10. Acrylates: Commonly found in artificial nail products, acrylates are linked to reproductive and developmental health issues and may even be linked to           cancer. (2

  11. Benzophenone: Commonly found in nail polish and lip balm and has been linked to cancer.

  12. Phthalates: Phthalates are very well-known endocrine disruptors and are commonly used in cosmetics, products that contain fragrance, and body washes. They are so harmful that they are banned from being used in cosmetics in Europe, but are unfortunately still widely used in the United States. 

Personal Care Products These Toxins are Commonly Found in 

  • Toothpaste 

  • Deodorant

  • Cosmetics

  • Fragrance (perfume & cologne) 

  • Skin Care Products (moisturizers, face creams, and washes, anti-aging products) 

  • Sunscreen 

  • Shampoo/Hair Care 

  • Nail care products (nail polish, nail polish remover, paraben treatments) 


Action Steps & Tips on Finding Safer Alternatives

When it comes to finding safer alternatives to personal care products, a great resource is The Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database. You can look up a product and see how they rank it based on safety and the toxins and additives that particular product contains. Their website is an excellent resource for finding healthier alternatives and finding the safest products for you and your family. 


Here are some other action steps to implement to start to reduce your exposure to many of these toxins:

  • Avoid nail salons.

  • If you do paint your nails, choose a nail polish that is free from chemicals like formaldehyde. Some great options include Zoya, Piggy Paint, and Honeybee Gardens.

  • When choosing a sunscreen, stick to brands that use zinc oxide or titanium oxide.

  • Always opt for fragrance-free when it comes to the skin care products you use to cosmetics, body washes, and laundry detergent. 

  • Use fluoride-free natural toothpaste: Based on the EWG website, some healthier options include David’s Naturals and Dr. Brite. For a kid’s option, Jack N’ Jill ranks well. 

  • Always look for personal care products that are labeled as being “paraben, phthalate, and fragrance-free.”

  • If you are looking for an anti-aging skin care product, be sure to check the EWG Skin Deep Database to make sure that the product doesn’t contain chemicals that may lead to further skin breakdown and irritation. There are some wonderful nourishing anti-aging options here. 

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