27 Harmful Chemicals to Avoid in Skin Creams – Effects to Health

It is known that in this modern world we have to deal with many products that we use daily from toiletries product to cosmetics products. The most and common reason we use those product is to maintain our health and also for beauty purposes. Skin care product is one of the most likely to be bought and used in the cosmetic line up.

Skin care product is used to support skin integrity, hence it will enhance the skin appearance and relive skin condition. The type of this skin care product such as sunscreen, elderly or anti aging, acne, wound healing, and skin cream. The skin cream is mostly divided into two, the one who used for medical purposes or the one used to moisturize skin.

With all the benefits of skin cream we might wondering what is in it, and is there any side or even harmful effect from it ? Yes, like the other cosmetic product it contain chemicals, and when it come to this chemicals some of the product potentially bring harm to your skin and your health. We can avoid this things by knowing what are harmful chemical in cosmetics and what are the FDA approved cosmetic ingridients but to be more specific this article will gather the information of chemicals to avoid in skin creams plus tips of how to avoid as it is listed below :

1. Parabens

As one of the most anticipated chemical used in skin care product, parabens which is series of parahydroxybenzoates or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid (also known as 4-hydroxybenzoic acid) is well know for its carcinogen. As one of inorganic chemistry made this chemical is produced industrially from a modification of the Kolbe-Schmitt reaction, using potassium phenoxide and carbon dioxide.

Other than the worst effect of parabens that is cancer it also gives you reproductive & developmental complications (read more : for other effects of environmental chemicals metals in reproductive system), contact dermatitis (skin irritation), and damage to the brain & nervous system . To avoid this effect, be more careful on choosing skin cream by searching information about which skin cream is paraben free or look for paraben free label on the skin cream product.

2. Tetrasodium edta

This kind of chemical is usually use in anti aging skin cream to relive your skin from wrinkle stuff. However according to National Cancer Institute, Tetrasodium edta which is made from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde and sodium cyanide are either carcinogen or toxic gas.

Although this compound is still on level 2 on hazard ingredient watch-list and not proven to cause cancer to animal on laboratory yet, I bet it is not worth to risk our health on it as there are too many safe skin cream product. With this potential harm it could brings to us avoid any skin cream product with these Edetate sodium, Tetrasodium edetate, Tetrasodium salt, TEA-EDTA label.

3. Triethanolamine

Also called as TEA and yes it sound calming as our brain will associate this TEA with the tea we know. However this chemical with formula of C6H15NO3 which use in lotion or skin lotion cream have different effect from the tea. According to study in 1996 it was found that triethanolamine (TEA) occasionally causes contact allergy, moreover a study in 2004 concluded that TEA may cause liver tumors in mice via a choline-depletion mode of action and that this effect is likely caused by the inhibition of choline uptake by cells.

With this all harm TEA could brings to us be wiser in choosing skin cream or lotion product, always watch out and avoid skin product with label of TEA and also DEA & MEA.  

4. Para-aminobenzoic acid (paba)

This is the examples of organic compound uses in skin cream product such as sun screen cream. With chemical formula of H2NC6H4CO2H this chemical has been reported to casuse some problem associating with alergic reaction and skin irritation.

That is why it is important to test this product to your skin first before apply it to all of your body because it could be causing skin irritation. The other things to avoid it is by substitute it with paba ester which is the softer chemical than paba acid but, in less cases it is still found that paba ester also causing skin irritation problem. 

5. Polyethylene glycol (PEG)

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is chemical with formula of H−(O−CH2−CH2)n−OH. This compound is widely use in skin cream as sunscreen, moisturizer, hand cream , anti aging and so the list go on. Although it is not consider as the most harmful chemical, PEG in some cases could cause irritation to human skin and in current study it is found a probability of this chemical could cause laxative problem to children and woman. It is okay to use this chemical based product but it is better not to use it regularly to avoid those effects.

6. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

This derived chemical is one of chemical that potentially used in skin cream as in shaving cream, diaper cream, moisturizer, and hand cream. Although the United State Food and Drug Administration state this chemical as generally recognized safe chemical there is still debate that this chemical could cause cancer risk, asthma, and behavioral issues in children. Because of that uncertainty it is better to avoid this kind of chemical based product and it will be better to use some organic product skin cream based.

7. Hydroquinone

This aromatic organic compound is also used in some skin fading/lighter cream, and facial moisturizer cream product. With chemical formula of  C6H4(OH)2 this chemical could potentially cause skin allergies, organ respiratory system toxicant, and even small possibility of cancer. The other bad effect of using hydroquinone includes increased exposure to UV radiation, sensitivity to sunlight, increased risks of getting hyperpigmentation, dermatitis and skin irritation, Thick, leathery, and bumpy skin.

Hydroquinone is undoubtedly an effective agent to hyperpigmentation issues but along with the harm it could brings it is better to avoid using this chemical unless you really have deep hyperpigmentation problem.

More Harmful Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics Product

This is the Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics Products

  1. Coal Tar: It’s banned in the EU, but still allowed in North America. Coal Tar  is most used in dry skin treatments and shampo products
  2. DEA/TEA/MEA: The ingredients id currently used in shampoos, body washes, soaps products.
  3. Ethoxylated surfactants and 1,4-dioxane: Most used in baby washes in the U.S.
  4. Formaldehyde: It’s banned in the EU. The substance found in many nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos.
  5. Fragrance/Parfum: This chemicals can cause you headaches, dizziness, asthma, and allergies.
  6. Hydroquinone: It’s banned in the UK, Used for lightening skin but can cause you cancer and reproductive problems.
  7. Lead: Most used in lipstick and hair dye products. The chemicals to avoid in skin creams.
  8. Mercury: It’s used in mascara and some eyedrops but can cause you brain problems.
  9. Mineral oil: Most used in baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels but can cause you further skin diseases.
  10. Oxybenzone: Most used in sunscreen but can cause you allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight. 
  11. Parabens: This chemicals can cause you cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive toxicity.
  12. Paraphenylenediamine (PPD): Most used in hair products and dyes, but it’s a toxic to skin and immune system.
  13. Phthalates: It’s banned in the EU and California. The chemicals used in many fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, lotions. Be careful,  it can lead to endocrine disruption, liver/kidney/lung damage, cancer.
  14. Placental extract: Most used in some skin and hair products.
  15. Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  16. Silicone-derived emollients
  17. Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES)
  18. Talc
  19. Toluene
  20. Triclosan: the chemicals to avoid in skin creams

So, that is the chemicals to avoid in skin creams plus the tips to avoid the bad effect it could brings to you. If you want to know more about other chemical to avoid in daily product read this article about chemical to avoid in toiletries product.