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Unsafe Ingredients


Validated scientific evidence about the safety of both natural and

chemical cosmetic ingredients can be found at the following resources:

  • CTFA

  • EEC Cosmetic Directives

  • FDA Monographs

  • IFRA (International Fragrance Association)

  • Journal of the American College of Toxicology



 *Ingredients prohibited or restricted by FDA regulation

  • Hexachlorophene

  • Mercury compounds

  • Chlorofluorocarbon propellants

  • Bithionol

  • Halogenated salicylanilides (di-, tri-, metabromsalan and tetrachlorosalicylanilide)

  • Chloroform

  • Vinyl chloride

  • Zirconium-containing complexes

  • Methylene chloride

  • Methyl methacrylate monomer Color additives(Color additives are strictly regulated. many color additives cannot be used unless the color comes from a batch certified by FDA and that batch is provided with its own individual certification lot number.)


   *Ingredients that CTFA and IFRA recommends eliminating or limiting

  •  Chloroacetamide (a preservative)

  •  Ethoxyethanol and Ethoxyethanol Acetate (a solvent)

  •  HC Blue No. 1 (a hair coloring ingredient)

  •  p-Hydroxyanisole (an antioxidant)

  •  4-Methoxy-m-Phenylenediamine, 4-Methoxy-m-Phenylenediamine HCl, and 4-Methoxy-m-Phenylenediamine Sulfate (hair dye ingredients)

  •  Pyrocatechol (used in hair dyes and skin care preparations)  

  •  Acetylethyltetramethyltetralin (AETT) Musk Ambrette

  •  6-Methylcoumarin (6-MC)

  *Ingredients that can be used as indicated levels


Many cosmetic ingredients which do not show a toxic effect as such, but may have side effects if used at too high concentrations. Therefore, such ingredients can be used and can have useful effects if added to cosmetics at the indicated concentration.

  • Alcohol: frequently used as a solvent in cosmetics. If used at concentrations of 10 % or more, the skin can dry out.

  • Sodium chloride (table salt): frequently used as cheap but effective thickener in cleansing products including shampoos or shower gels. If used at too high concentrations it can cause eye and skin irritation

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA): skin care products containing high amounts of AHA exfoliate the skin removing wrinkles and exposing the younger skin cells beneath. As outer skin cells are exfoliated, the skin's protective barrier is removed, thus exposing premature skin to environmental damage. Therefore, use of AHA could make skin aging faster and long-term.

  • Bentonite: This porous clay able to absorb water is commonly used in cosmetic foundations and facial masks. At high concentrations, it may scratch the skin surface, clog pores, and dry out the skin.

  • Formaldehyde: When combined with water, formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant, fixative, or preservative in many cosmetic products and nail care systems. Extended use at high concentrations is thought to be carcinogenic.

  • Lanolin: Although widely used as emollient and emulsifying agent in creams and lotions, lanolin can be irritating to the skin and can cause allergic rashes.

  • Mineral Oil: As a derivative of crude oil used industrially as a lubricating agent, mineral oil can not penetrate the skin, but instead forms an oily film over the skin to lock in moisture and dirt hindering normal skin respiration. Nevertheless, it is widely used in baby skin care products!

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate / Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (SLES, ALES): The CIR Panel has recently stated that SLES and ALES produce eye and/or skin irritation in some human test subjects. The severity of the irritation appeared to increase directly with concentration. However, SLES and ALES have not evoked adverse responses in any other toxicologic testing. It was concluded that both surfactants are safe as presently used in cosmetic products.

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate / Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS, ALS): The CIR Panel has recently stated that and ALS are irritants in patch testing at concentrations of 2 % and greater. The irritation increased with ingredient concentration. In some cosmetic formulations, however, that irritant property was attenuated when SLS or ALS was combined with other surfactants. The longer SLS stayed in contact with the skin, the greater the likelihood of irritation. Thus, both SLS and ALS appear to be safe in formulations designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin. In products intended for prolonged contact with skin, concentrations should not exceed 1 %.




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