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3 TOXIC INGREDIENTS NOT LISTED on skincare product labels, NO WAY!

UNMASKING the 3 HIDDEN Toxic Ingredients in Skincare and haircare Products. 

While people are becoming more discerning and reading ingredient labels, they may not know that 3 of the most toxic ingredients in skin care today are not listed.  The 3 most toxic synthetic chemicals commonly found in skin care products are phthalate containing fragrances, Nitrosamines forming agents and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. What’s more, nitrosamines, phthalates and formaldehyde are not required to be placed on the labels as part of the ingredient content. Read on to learn why.  



Phthalates are a group of synthetic chemicals used in the softening of plastic and as a solvent for fragrances in skin care products.  

Harmful synthetic chemicals such as phthalates are literally hidden under the term's "fragrance" or "parfum" on ingredient labels. Due to proprietary laws, companies are not required to disclose the specific ingredients used in their fragrance blends, making it impossible for people to identify which products contain phthalates. Many common fragrance ingredients have been shown to contain phthalates and include galaxolide, tonalide, musk ketone, musk xylene, ethylene brassylate, hexyl cinnamic aldehyde, limonene, isoamyl acetate, linalool and styrene.  

A study by Koniecki et al. (2011) found that phthalates are readily absorbed through the skin and can accumulate in the body (bioaccumulate) over time. Phthalates cause neurotoxicity and have been linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity (Bridges, 2002) and breast, prostate and thyroid cancers. López-Carrillo et al. (2010), Yurdakök (2015), Liu et al. (2020). 


Nitrosamines are a group of synthetics that can be formed when frequently used ingredients such as Triethanolamine (TEA), Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), and Amine containing preservatives and surfactants (foaming agents) are present in skin, hair and body care products.  

 There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of combinations that can form nitrosamines in skin care products. For example, a common ingredient in skin, hair and make-up products is Dimethylaminopropylamine that is used as an emulsifier and conditioning agent and when it is in the same product as the preservatives 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (Bronopol) or Quaternium-15 can react and form nitrosamines.  

While evidence was published as far back as 1956 in the seminal study by Magee and Barnes which showed nitrosamine induced liver tumors in rats, many studies continue to emerge ; Tricker and Preussmann (1991) Straif et al. (2000), Zhu et al. (2014) to note only 3, and yet nitrosamine contamination is still present in skin care products till this very day .  


A number of preservatives used in skin care products are formaldehyde-releasing. These include but are not limited to DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, and imidazolidinyl urea. 

The release of formaldehyde typically occurs when the preservatives come into contact with water, a process called hydrolysis, which is pretty much always, as skin care products can typically have over 60% water content.  Additionally, the release of formaldehyde can increase if the product is exposed to temperatures of over 30C (86F). 

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can be found in many skin care products even when not listed on the label. It causes skin irritation, allergic reactions, and has been linked to cancer and leukemia. Coggon et al. (2014), (Nielsen et al. (2017), Kwon et al. (2020). 

Take care, as the consequences are often hidden and extremely harmful.  

It is crucial to read ingredient labels carefully and avoid using products that contain ingredients you don’t know how to pronounce as a rule of thumb. Many such ingredients are considered harmless, yet when combined with other so-called harmless ingredients can produce potent toxic compounds.  

It’s also important to note that when using such products, much of them flow into our waterways and are known to combine with other chemicals and produce even more toxic compounds in our rivers and oceans, harming aquatic life.