Mindful Living

Are Your Beauty Products Toxic?

Written By: Kripa Jalan

Are Your Beauty Products Toxic?

The ‘clean beauty’ market has exploded in the last few years. After all, the products you apply to your skin interact with your body in multiple ways – depending on the ingredients, dosage, and frequency of usage.

Let’s say you apply leave-on skin cream. While some remains on the surface of your skin, some may evaporate/be rubbed off, but some is absorbed into the deeper layers of your skin. Additionally, several ingredients can get into your body while inhaling them and several can cause irritation when they come into contact with your skin.

However, the term ‘clean beauty’ remains largely unregulated – with no standardized, official definition.

For the most part, it’s said that clean beauty products are made with non-toxic ingredients or without those shown to harm human health.

Knowing what’s in your products—and being able to spot some of the top offenders— is essential. In this article we’ll go over some of the most controversial ingredients that may be lurking in your beauty products, and what you need to know about each. 

What’s in your bathroom cabinet?

  • shower gels and soaps
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • perfume; cologne; deodorants; aftershave and other scents
  • lipsticks and lip balms
  • hair styling products
  • makeup 
  • sunscreen and self-tanners
  • hair removal products
  • facial cleansers, creams, and toners
  • toothpaste; mouthwash; dental floss
  • nail polish; polish removers; other nail products
  • moisturizers

… to name a few.

Then, of course, there is a host of household cleaners and other chemicals that we use on the regular.

We simply take for granted that they are safe. That’s not always the case!

Pregnant women or women planning on becoming pregnant, should be the most cautious.

Common personal care chemicals

Here’s just a small sample of the potentially harmful chemicals that lurk in your personal care products.

1. Fragrances

Commonly found in deodorants, face washes, shampoos, body washes, and sunscreens.

The issue? They’re associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and potential effects on the reproductive system, such as low sperm count.

2. Triclosan

Commonly found in some facial cleansers, cosmetics, dry shampoo, and toothpaste.

The issue? Triclosan itself may create resistant bacteria — in other words, worsening the very problem it tries to solve.


Commonly found in paint thinners, nail polishes, and moisturizing creams.

The issue? Can affect the nervous system, causing headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Exposure may cause developmental damage to a developing fetus.


Commonly found in makeup, moisturizers, and hair products.

The issue? They mimic estrogen and are likely endocrine disruptors i.e. a class of substances that interfere with the body’s endocrine (hormones) system and can potentially affect the reproductive, neurological, and immune system.

5. Formaldehyde

Commonly found in nail and eyelash glue, nail polish, baby shampoo, body wash, cosmetics, and hair-smoothing products.

The issue? They’re toxic to the immune system and skin and are highly allergenic.

6. Oxybenzone

Commonly found in sunscreen.

The issue? They are potential endocrine disruptors, and may decrease sex hormones, especially in men.

Natural and safer alternatives

The good news: There are safer products available.

Start by reading product labels. Get to know the brands that you can trust. 

Or you can make many common personal care products at home — often for much cheaper than a commercial product! 

For example:

  • Use sea salt or brown sugar as a body scrub
  • Replace your toner with rose water
  • Use virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer and lip balm

The take-home point? Be aware of the cosmetic products you and your family are using. You don’t have to be obsessed with eliminating every trace of each chemical mentioned in this article. Make changes slowly – one product at a time.

In some cases, no matter what strategies you try, you may still be struggling with your health. That’s when it’s important to dig deeper to pinpoint the root cause of your concern – so work with a healthcare practitioner to get to the bottom of the problem and identify why you’re feeling the way you are!

If you’re looking for more support and ways to manage hormones through your lifestyle, we can help!