Those bubbles or foam in your soap, shampoo, and face cleanser? That’s sodium laurel sulfate. This ingredient has been known to irritate the skin and eyes and has been flagged for its potential for contamination with 1,4-dioxane and potential toxicity.
The word “fragrance” on a label may seem harmless, but it usually represents a mixture of 2000+ chemicals. These chemicals are used in nearly every type of cosmetic product (even those labelled as “unscented” or “fragrance-free”). In many cases, they’re combined with a masking agent which prevents your brain from registering the smell. Fragrance blends are considered trade secrets, so manufacturers aren’t required to disclose the full list of chemicals in the ingredients. This means that most of them haven’t been tested for toxicity, and can potentially trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma.
These are petroleum-based compounds widely used as solvents, softeners, and moisture carriers in cosmetics. They can be contaminated with levels of ethylene dioxide and 1,4-dioxane, two known carcinogens. The presence of 1,4-dioxane is especially problematic because it doesn’t degrade easily, so it can remain in the environment long after you’ve washed it off your skin.
Oxybenzone Sunscreens come in two different forms: chemical and mineral filters. The most common sunscreens on the market use chemical filters such as oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a known endocrine disruptor and can alter thyroid function. It’s also linked to skin allergies.
Skincare products use a wide variety of alcohols—some are good, and some are not. Non-irritating fatty alcohols can be great, since they help keep ingredients stable and can improve the texture of your skin. The ones we avoid are those that dry you out. Most of the time, you’ll find these labelled as SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol. While their quick-drying effects may feel nice, they can ultimately dry out your skin to the point of breaking down your natural moisture barrier, which makes your skin more oily.