Clean Beauty Checklist: Are these Harmful Ingredients in Your Personal Care Products?

Clean beauty is definitely becoming a growing trend as it should but why?  What’s wrong with the products that I’ve grown up using all these years?  I’ve used them this long and they haven’t done me anything… or have they?

Often times we or our family suffers from rashes, eczema, menstrual changes, fertility issues, allergies etc. but we have no clue how or why.  The doctors can’t figure it out and diet is usually the first place we look but what about the products we use every single day sometimes multiple times a day.

Let’s take a closer look at a few common ingredients used in personal care products and cosmetics and their potential effects on our health.  

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 

  • These chemicals trick our bodies into thinking that they are hormones or they block natural hormones from doing their job
  • They can increase or decrease the levels of hormones in our body by affecting how they are made, broken down, or stored.  This can lead to various health issues including alterations in sperm quality, early puberty in girls, or even certain cancers.
  • We can be exposed to these chemicals in various ways including in the air, in our foods, or through our skin.

Fragrance (Parfum)- Phthalates

- Unless otherwise stated by the brand most fragrances on the market are synthetic fragrances.

  • Used in shampoos, air fresheners, hand sanitizers, candles, body lotions, perfumes etc.
  • Phthalates are used to make fragrances last longer.
    • They are absorbed through the skin and is linked to decreased sperm count, early puberty in girls, and interferes with hormone production
  • Alternative: Choose products that use natural fragrances or essential oils

 BHA(butylated hydroxyanisole)/BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)

- Synthetic preservatives commonly found in lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and food such as cereal.

  • BHA is a possible human carcinogen (causes cancer) & interferes with hormone production
  • BHT may mimic estrogen disrupting female/male reproductive systems.

Parabens (Methyl-, Ethyl-, Isobutyl- paraben or others)

  • Synthetic preservative commonly found in shampoos, body wash, body lotions, and cosmetics.
  • They mimic estrogen in the body and have been linked to breast cancer
  • With constant exposure while pregnant they could cause behavioural changes and anxiety in the future offspring.

Alternative: look for paraben-free products


  • Used in toothpaste and other antibacterial products.
  • Can accumulate in fat cells and keep the body is a state of toxicity.
  • Linked to implantation failure and lower sperm quality

Octinoxate & Oxybenzone 

  • Commonly found in sunscreens, foundations, lipsticks nail polish
  • These ingredients have been found in breast milk of mothers
  • Oxybenzone is most worrisome ingredient and is potentially of greater harm to children.
    • Has been linked to endometriosis and lower testosterone levels in boys
  • Octinoxate is thoroughly absorbed through the skin and has been found in the body up to 16x above the proposed safety threshold suggested by the FDA

Alternative: Choose mineral sunscreens 

This list is not exhaustive and only mentions a few ingredients to look out for.  Below are a couple resources that can be used to research more on the effects of harmful ingredients in personal care products.

Remember it’s not about total elimination but it’s about awareness and being mindful to reduce the use of products containing these ingredients as best as you can.


toxic ingredients in personal care products

Great resources for more information:




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