The Dirty Dozen: Top 12 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Skincare

The skin is the largest and also one of the most important organs on our body. It performs several vital functions for the body including protecting the other vital organs, bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. It only makes sense to be extremely mindful of not just what we are putting in our bodies, but also what we are putting on it.


Here’s Why:

Up to 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed. That means that the products we put onto our bodies affects our health and overall well being, either negatively or positively. Ingredients found in most traditional skincare products (face washes, lotions, sunscreen, etc) have been linked to health issues such as , cancer, hormonal disruption, and reproductive problems.



You want to feed your skin nutrients, not poison it. Below are “The Toxic 12” ingredients to avoid in skincare products. We explain why they are dangerous and where they can be found.



Toxic metal that can have oestrogen-like effects in our systems, disrupting the healthy functioning of the endocrine system.

Usually found in almost every personal care product, especially antiperspirant deodorants.


2. DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine)

Clear, colorless, viscous liquids with ammonia-like odors.

Usually found in products that foam like facial cleansers and soaps. They are also found in eye makeup , fragrances, hair products, and sunscreens.


3. DMDM HYDANTOIN & UREA (Imidazolidinyl)

Preservatives that often release formaldehyde which may cause joint pain, skin allergies, headaches, and loss of sleep.

Usually found in skincare products, cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners, and detergents.



A petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging its pores. This is incredibly harmful because it interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, therefore increasing likelihood of acne and other disorders.

Usually found in creams, lotions, ointments, and cosmetics.


5. PARABENS (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl)

Not always labeled, used as preservatives, and may contribute to hormone imbalance.

Usually found almost everywhere including skincare products such as moisturizers and deodorants.

6. PEG (Polyethylene glycol)

Ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin’s natural moisture factor. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products.

Usually found in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease.



Chemicals used to increase flexibility and strength of plastics, and not often listed among the ingredients on products.

Usually found in cosmetics such as fragrance oils and listed under the term “fragrance".



Gaseous hydrocarbons which in a liquid state act as “surfactant”. They penetrate the skin so quickly and can weaken the protein and cellular structure.

Usually used to make extracts from herbs.



Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.



Detergent that makes products foam, lather, and bubble.

Usually found in 90% of personal-care products that foam!



Anything that is synthetic or artificial should always raise a red flag. These are made up of hundreds to thousands of different ingredients not listed on the label, so you are never sure what you are actually being exposed to.

Usually found in cosmetic and skincare products but also many household products such as candles, air fresheners, and scented trash bags.



A synthetic antibacterial agent  that may disrupt thyroid function and can degrade into a form of dioxin, a class of chemicals linked to a broad range of toxicities including cancer.

Usually found in soaps, mouthwash, shaving cream, deodorants, toothpastes, etc.


Taking all of these into consideration the next time you are shopping for skincare products, it is really important to read the ingredient lists thoroughly and not skim over words, especially the ones you can’t pronounce. Your skincare products should be made with pure, organic ingredients and should not contain any toxins that could affect your health.


  • Posted On August 08, 2016 by Blythe

    Thanks for the list. I pride myself in keeping current on these things but was somewhat taken aback when I saw the warning to watch for things ending with “methicone” under #9 SILOXANES. Does that include Dimethicone? This is in one of EWG’s safest sunscreens, Sunintegrity, which you’ve recommended on your website. Dimethicone is also used as a coating in many green beauty mineral makeup brands so I am confused. Can you elaborate on this? Is Dimethicone excluded from Siloxanes? Your help would be most appreciated!

  • Posted On August 08, 2016 by Alaina Hamacher

    Your Message is being gratefully passed on to my children!
    Odacite’ and all other natural products out there are best for our world :)

  • Posted On August 08, 2016 by Sabrina ale Sueur

    Wow Valeri, that was very informative! I always thought mineral oil was good for you….I guess NOT. I would never think twice about purchasing your products- they are the best. Can’t wait to buy some more night serum when I can afford it….hopefully soon!
    Take Care,
    Sabrina ?

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