As a woman, you enjoy looking good — and it’s your God-given right, but at what cost? If you’re not careful, you could be doing your body more harm than good. Using just any ol’ cosmetics for your beauty regimens will have you looking good only but for so long. At least, until the side effects start to kick in.

Cosmetics that are created using chemicals are a no-no and should be avoided, especially if they contain one or more of the dubbed “dirty dozen” — which is the top dangerous ingredients found in most cosmetic products. This includes makeup, hair supplies, lotions, soaps, nail products, deodorants, perfumes and skincare items.

The issue with wearing these products is that the dangerous toxins that they contain gets into your skin. You wear the product throughout the day, allowing it to seep into your blood and cause havoc on your system. Even those you wash off (shampoos, dyes, conditioners and soaps) have already infiltrated your pores during your hot shower (when your pores are most open).

Then if you’re like most American women, you wear a number of these products each day — soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, makeup and perfume. So imagine how all of that is piling up!

Minding what you put onto your skin, hair and scalp is very important — at least, if you want to steer clear of the health problems that they could lead to down the line. You’d think that governing bodies would pay more attention to the beauty aisle, but this is a pretty much unregulated area, since the level of testing required before the release of a product is minimal.

According to American researchers, there are about 82,000 different ingredients being used in personal care products, 1/8 of them containing pesticides, industrial chemicals, hormone disrupters, reproductive toxins, carcinogens, plasticizers (used to keep the skin soft), degreasers (yes, as in auto parts) and surfactants. Some of these have been linked to cancer, birth defects and infertility.

The 12 toxins found in cosmetics that I list below have been found in 80% of the products in Canada, so you can imagine how much of the American cosmetic department is saturated with this stuff.

The Deadly Dirty Dozen (Plus Two Bonus)

1. Phthalates:

This is a chemical that is known to disrupt the endocrine system. It’s commonly found in synthetic fragrances, polish and a variety of other cosmetics. Risk factors associated with it include early puberty in girls, breast cancer for older women and weakening estrogens in cell culture systems with weak .

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2. Triclosan:

Commonly found in deodorants, antibacterial soaps and toothpaste. It’s purpose is to keep mold from forming. It is known to affect the hormone systems in our bodies, especially those of the thyroids, which is responsible for regulating our metabolism. It can also stop the normal development of breasts.

3. 1,4-dioxane:

Also known as PEG compounds. It’s hard to find this listed on the labels of cosmetics, but is actually in many of them. It derives from petroleum and is used in items like children’s bath wash, shampoos, body wash and other cosmetics that create suds. It has been identified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

4. Parabens:

Likely, you’re familiar with this one, especially if you’re a natural. This is commonly found in ointments, lotions, creams and deodorants. They are easily absorbed by the skin and have been linked to breast tumors.

5. Ethylene Oxide:

In the medical industry, it’s used to sterilize surgical equipment. In the personal care products industry, it’s used in body washes and shampoos as a sudsing agent. It’s a known carcinogen and has been linked to breast cancer.


These are used in makeup and moisturizers as a preservative. It’s suspected that it can cause disruption to the endocrine system and possibly cancer. However, it’s already been proven to be harmful to fish and other types of wildlife.

7. Coal tar dyes:

This is sometimes listed as CI or p-phenylenediamine (followed by a number with five digits). It’s used in cosmetics and is known to intoxicate the brain with heavy metals. Other code names for this toxin are No. 1, Blue 1 and FD&C Blue.


Ingredients related to DEA are known to cause cancer. They are commonly used in shampoos and moisturizers and other sudsing products. It sometimes reacts to form what’s called nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic.

9. Dibutyl phthlate:

This is a plasticizer that’s commonly used in nail products. It’s believed to be linked to disruption of the endocrine system and for causing toxicity in the reproductive system.

10. Formaldehyde:

Some preservatives inside of cosmetics slowly release formaldehyde, which is linked to cancer. Things you want to look out for on labels include DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, quarternium-15 and methanamine.

11. Fragrance:

Also known as parfum, which is used in all sorts of cosmetics, even those labeled unscented. Fragrances are known to promote allergies and asthma and has been linked to neurotoxicity and cancer.

12. Petrolatum:

Frequently used in lip balms, moisturizers and lip sticks. It is known to be cancer-causing due to it being contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

13. Siloxanes:

Anything that ends with siloxanes or methicone are considered toxic. It’s used in the cosmetics industry as a moistening, smoothing and softening agent. These are known to be endocrine disrupters and are toxic to the reproductive system.

14. Sodium laureth sulfate:

Found in cosmetics that make bubbles, such as shampoos, bubble bath products and cleansers. It’s commonly contaminated by 1,4-dioxane, which has been linked to cancer. Another name to watch for is sodium lauryl sulfate and others that end in -eth (i.e. laureth).

Don’t forget to read your labels!

Whether you’re on a journey to becoming natural or just want to live a healthier lifestyle, you have to be more aware of the ingredients inside of the products you consume and place onto your body. Keep this list handy whenever you shop for new cosmetics, so that you can avoid their deadly side effects.

Avoid Cosmetics That Have These Harmful Ingredients


Part of taking care of ourselves is avoiding products with harful ingredients and that includes our cosmetics. Check out this post on the dirty dozen

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