Exploring the Harmful Chemicals in Popular Skincare

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

We all know that natural skin care is better for us and that focusing on skincare products with fewer ingredients can make a huge difference in not just how our skin looks, but how we feel too.

It can be easy to justify the purchase of popular and mainstream skincare. It’s convenient, available everywhere, and generally a cheaper option. But it’s important to remember that popular skincare doesn’t always have our best interests in mind.

In this blog, we uncover some of the common harmful chemicals in popular skincare and truly uncover why natural skincare is the best and only option for you and your family.

1. Parabens

Parabens are a cheap form of preservatives used in a variety of skincare products and while they are helpful in keeping bacteria and fungi out of skincare products, they are not the best for you and your skin.

While they are technically natural compounds, there have been heightened concerns surrounding their long-term health impacts and greater pressure is coming from society, healthcare experts, and government officials to have them banned from skincare products.

Until change takes place or more evidence surrounding their impact on our health comes to light, it is best to avoid products that contain parabens.

2. Decyl glucoside

Products that use premium quality sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can be incredibly conditioning and emulsify well, so long as the SLS harvested came straight from coconuts.

However, a variety of budget-friendly and popular skincare products opt to use a synthetic version — decyl glucoside. Unfortunately, synthetic SLS can react poorly with skin, leading to clogged pores, irritation, burning, and increased sebum production.

If you tend to suffer from sensitive or oily/combination skin, then it is properly best to avoid products with this ingredient.

3. BHA and BHT

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are synthetic antioxidants, commonly found in moisturizers.

Listed by The International Agency for Research on Cancer as a potential human carcinogen, studies have also found long-term exposure to both chemicals as a leading cause of liver, thyroid, kidney, and lung diseases and impairments in mice and rats. Also listed as a substance that interferes with hormone function, it is possible that extensive, long-term exposure to both BHT and BHA can lead to tumors.

Make sure to keep an eye out for these two chemicals and avoid them at all costs when selecting a new skincare product.

4. Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is common in a variety of moisturizers and other creamy skincare products.

While petroleum jelly is safe so long as it has been refined properly, it is common for mineral oils to not always be perfectly refined, meaning there is the potential for products to be contaminated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which can cause skin irritation and may be a carcinogen with long-term exposure.

At the end of the day, it is better to be safe than sorry and avoid petroleum jelly-based skincare products in the future.

It can become overwhelming to keep track of all the potential chemicals you need to avoid in your skincare products. To make things worse, many skincare producers use a variety of different names for the chemicals listed above, which can make it even harder for consumers to track what substances to avoid.

To keep things simple, it is best to stick with natural skincare products that contain very minimal organic ingredients.


Ready to take a step back from your popular skincare products and commit to all-natural skincare?

Click here to shop and view our wide range of organic and sustainable shea butter creams.

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