Posted on: January 18, 2017 at 11:09 am
Last updated: July 9, 2018 at 2:01 pm

This article is shared with permission from our friends at Natural Holistic Health.


It’s so much easier to ignore the hard-to-pronounce chemical names on the back of your skin care products. But knowing what to keep your eyes open for can greatly help and even save your health. Below, we’ve listed 8 common skin care ingredients to avoid. If you can get past these frightening chemical ingredients, there are some homemade skin care alternatives that you can use to beautify naturally!

8 Common Skin Care Ingredients To Avoid

1. Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Paraben

Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend the shelf life of products. Parabens have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Studies have shown that they are weakly estrogenic and can be absorbed by the body through the skin (1). Widely used even though they are known to be toxic.


2. Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA)

Often used in cosmetics as emulsifiers and/or foaming agents. They can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are “amines” (ammonia compounds) and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. Toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period. (2)

3. Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea

These are widely used preservatives. The American Academy of Dermatology has found them to be a primary cause of contact dermatitis. Two trade names for these chemicals are Germall II and Germall 115.


Neither of the Germall chemicals contains an excellent antifungal agent, and they must be combined with other preservatives. Both these chemicals release formaldehyde, which can be toxic. (3)

4. Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate

A cheap, harsh detergent used in shampoos for its cleansing and foam-building properties. Often derived from petroleum, it is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the phrase “comes from coconuts.”

It causes eye irritation, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, skin rashes and other allergic reactions. (4)

5. Petrolatum

Also known as petroleum jelly, this mineral oil derivative is used for its emollient properties in cosmetics. It has no nutrient value for the skin and can interfere with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dryness and chapping.

It often creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.(5)

6. Propylene Glycol

Ideally, this is a vegetable glycerin mixed with grain alcohol, both of which are natural. Usually, it is a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. It has been known to cause allergic reactions like skin irritation and hives. (6)

When you see PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol) on labels, beware these are related synthetics.

7. Stearalkonium Chloride

A quaternary ammonium compound used in hair conditioners and creams. Developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, it is a lot cheaper and easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins or herbals, which are beneficial to the hair. Causes allergic reactions. Toxic. (7)

Make your own Fabric Softener – click here!

8. Synthetic Fragrances

The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are since on the label it will simply read “fragrance.”

Some problems caused by these chemicals include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation, the list goes on.

Advice: Don’t buy a cosmetic that has the word “fragrance” on the ingredients label. Learn more about how to make good choices about scented products here.

The Hearty Soul recommends natural detergent lines like MyGreenFills– no synthetic fragrances anywhere to be seen!

Choose Natural Homemade Skin Care Alternatives!

Now that you’re more aware of all of the skin care ingredients to avoid, you can begin looking elsewhere! For creative ways to substitute store-bought cosmetic products for natural homemade skin care alternatives, check out these articles:

DIY Magnesium Lotion

DIY Perfume Recipe

Coconut Oil Hair Mousse

Natural Hair Dyes


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