Preservatives: Parabens are hormonal and endocrine disruptors that have been linked to allergies, autism, reproductive and developmental defects, and cancer. Phenoxyethanol, another synthetic preservative, has been found to depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea, as well as reproductive problems.
Sulfates: Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, have been linked to hormonal disruption, neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, and cancer. They also cause eye damage, asthma, and skin irritation.
Fragrance/Parfum: Chemical fragrances have been associated with allergies, reproductive damage, hormonal disruption, and cancer. Often, other harmful chemicals are added to fragrance and are not listed on cosmetic labels.
Phthalates: Phthalates are believed to damage the kidneys and liver, cause birth defects and reproductive problems, and are suspected to be carcinogenic.
PEG Compounds: Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)—these petroleum-based ingredients are known carcinogens and are linked to developmental problems, genotoxicity, and skin irritation. Other related chemicals, such as Ethylene glycol and Butylene glycol, are considered equally toxic.
Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers, such as DMDM Hydantoin, Urea, and Quaternium, have been linked to joint pain, skin irritation, allergies, depression, headaches, and chronic fatigue.
BHA/BHT: BHA and BHT are classified as known carcinogens and hormonal disruptors. They are associated with brain, liver, and kidney problems, as well as nervous system damage.
Colors and Dyes: FD&C Colors and Coal Tar Colors have been shown to be skin irritants and have been linked to behavioral and developmental problems. Often, these colors are also contaminated with low levels of heavy metals.
Amines: Amines, such as diethanolamine (DEA), monoethanolamine (MEA) and triethanolamaine (TEA), can cause skin and eye irritation and contact dermatitis. They can form nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens. They are easily absorbed through the skin and can accumulate in the liver and thyroid.
Petrolatum: While not every petroleum-derived chemical is toxic, several, such as mineral oil, petrolatum, and paraffin, can cause skin irritation, allergies, and promote acne. They are also often contaminated with aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogens.
Siloxanes: Siloxanes and silicone-derived ingredients often ending in “-methicone” are known endocrine disruptors and interfere with hormone function.
Talc: At a microscopic level, talc is similar to asbestos in composition. It has been associated with asthma and other respiratory problems, as well as ovarian cancer.