8 Toxic Ingredients in Skin Care

Photo: @lawtonjohn

What do formaldehyde, plastic softeners, and Teflon have in common? They are all toxic ingredients that don’t belong in your creams, lotions, and soaps. And yet, they and many other known toxins are commonly found in an abundance of wellness and self-care products.

The irony of the beauty industry is that it’s full of these kinds of ingredients. That leaves it up to us to root out which products actually belong in our wellness routines, and which we should nix. Fortunately, there is a growing grassroots effort among like-minded brands and our communities to root out ingredients that don’t serve us in the long run.

Built into the Standard Dose mission is a vetting process that ensures a selection of natural, plant-based offerings to help you meet your wellness needs, without filling your cabinets with toxins. As you read the fine print on your bottles and jars, keep an eye out for these eight ingredients.

Aluminum powder —  A known neurotoxin, the use of aluminum powder is restricted in different levels and formats around the world. In the US, EU, and Japan, it’s prohibited from lip products. Aluminum compounds are considered to be safer because they have lower bioavailability.

Parabens — A group of compounds used as preservatives in cosmetics, parabens can cause hormone disruption including mimicking estrogen and binding to estrogen receptors in the body. In certain conditions, parabens have been observed to aid breast cancer cell growth

Formaldehyde — Highly toxic and a known carcinogen when inhaled, the ingredient can piggyback on other common cosmetic ingredients and go unidentified on a label. There are no FDA restrictions on the use of formaldehyde in cosmetics, despite its known impact on the nervous system.

BHA — Not to be confused with Beta Hydroxy Acids, Butylated Hydroxyanisole is a preservative with studies linking it to hormone disruption, cancer, and skin irritation.

PEG compounds — Thickening and emulsifying, PEG compounds are used in moisturizers and softeners and can be contaminated with known carcinogens like ethylene oxide, which is restricted, unless it’s hidden on an ingredient list as a contaminant. PEG compounds are considered unsafe for use on broken skin.

Phthalates — A group of industrial chemicals used to soften plastic, these additives also appear in color cosmetics, hair sprays, lotions, and elsewhere, despite being linked to damage of the liver, kidneys, and reproductive systems.

PTFE — Polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, is the chemical name of the common product Teflon, and is used to improve the feel and texture of skin products. It can be contaminated with toxic acids like PFOA, a chemical the United States EPA targeted for elimination in the production of Teflon.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate —  A foaming agent that is widely found in personal care and cleaning products (as many as 90%), it is a known skin, eye, and lung irritant which can interact with other chemical ingredients to form carcinogenic nitrosamines.

While many of the above ingredients can be hidden deep in product formulas or appear tacked-on and invisible as contaminants, a strong approach to overhauling your beauty and self-care regimen is to migrate towards brands with visible commitment to using non-toxic ingredients. At Standard Dose we subject all potential brands and products to extensive testing before bringing them on board, to build a foundation of trust and be a safe source of self-care goods for our community.