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Top 10 Toxic Ingredients You Should Avoid In Skin Products

organic skincare- maria de faria superman - clean beauty

Enjoying healthy and radiant skin means you must be consistent in your skincare routine. However, simply stacking your makeup cupboard with every product you find in a drugstore doesn’t mean you’re ahead of your game. Not every skincare product benefits your skin, and you need to know how to shop wisely. So, the goal of today’s post is to reveal the top 10 toxic skincare ingredients you need to stay away from. Take notes to make sure you’ll do a safe purchase the next time you're looking for new products to try!

Top 10 toxic skincare ingredients

Unfortunately, the US market is way behind in product regulations, resulting in many skincare chemicals being found in products. Luckily, the rise in awareness has made some companies more wary of what they include in their formulations. Thanks to this, you can still find skincare that doesn’t contain harmful ingredients. 

Below, we’ve listed the top toxic skincare ingredients frequently used in conventional products that you need to avoid at all costs. 

1. Parabens

Unfortunately, parabens are the most common skincare chemicals found in products today. They are a group of chemical preservatives used to prolong skincare's shelf life. They work by preventing bacteria and mold growth and are linked to a variety of hormonal disruptions and cancer. Parabens are most frequently present in shampoos, body washes, and conditioners, as well as in face washes and moisturizers. The most frequent paraben forms you need to stay away from are:

  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Polyparaben 

2. Carbon black

Carbon black is yet another component added to the list of toxic ingredients in skincare. Although the FDA has banned its use, many companies still manage to get away with it. To simply define it, carbon black is a black-pigmented powder that is most commonly found in cosmetic products, such as mascara, eyeliners, and eyelash glue. This ingredient is linked to the onset of cancer and harmed lung function, among all others. Keep an eye on the following ingredients next time you’re shopping for makeup:

  • D&C Black No. 2 (CI 77266)
  • acetylene black
  • channel black
  • furnace black
  • lamp black
  • thermal black

3. Petroleum jelly

This ingredient pops up too many times in the ingredient list of many skincare products, making it quite hard to avoid. It’s most often found in lotions and moisturizers since it's used as a moisturizing agent. Also known as mineral oil, this ingredient has been proven to cause skin irritation and is even linked to breast cancer. Given that the companies want to work smart and hide it under other names, make sure you’re on the lookout for the following skincare chemicals:

  • Petrolatum
  • Xylene
  • Toluene
  • Mineral oil
  • Liquid paraffin

4. Fragrance

If you’re religiously following our blogs, you know we’ve already discussed synthetic fragrances' detrimental effects. We’re sure you’ve already read this ingredient a hundred times now before you were aware of its toxicity. You can find the word ‘fragrance’ on the label of various products- from shampoo and conditioners to laundry detergent and fabric softeners. 

Fragrances are used as additives and are well-known for their endocrine-disruptive function. Apart from messing up with your hormones, they can also act as neurotoxins and cause cancer.

5. Oxybenzone

Next on our list of toxic ingredients in skincare is oxybenzone- a component most frequently found in sunscreen products. Its role is to absorb the UVA and UVB rays and lower radiation absorption. Unfortunately, this chemical can cause allergies and skin irritations, as well as hormonal disruptions. Therefore, it’s better to avoid it altogether. 

6. Phthalates

Another toxic cosmetic ingredient is phthalates, which you can find in a great deal of cosmetic products- from nail polishes to fragranced body and face lotions. They are a group of chemicals added to plastic to prevent it from becoming brittle and are known for their odorless, transparent, and oily consistency. Their role in cosmetics is as gelling agents, so they’re used in shampoos and other grooming products. Since the companies often list them under other names, make sure to keep an eye on diethyl phthalate and monoethyl phthalate.

7. Formaldehyde

This is yet another ingredient you’ve probably heard of, used not only to preserve corpses but also in a range of grooming products to prolong their shelf life. It’s a strong-smelling, colorless gas that research has proven to be cancerous. As a broad estimate, 1 in 5 products contains formaldehyde, so read the labels carefully. 

8. Butylated hydroxytoluene and butylated hydroxyanisole

BHT and BHA work as preservatives in both food and skincare products. They are toxic skincare ingredients that can disrupt the function of your endocrine system and cause skin irritation. You can find them on the labels of lip and hair products, as well as in makeup, antiperspirants, deodorants, and creams. 

9. Triclosan 

We’ve mentioned quite a few preservatives in this blog, and triclosan is yet another one. Skincare brands use them to stop bacteria from growing in their products, thus prolonging their shelf life. It’s most commonly used in soaps, shower gels, and deodorants, and the side effects it shows range from disrupting your immune system to causing uncontrolled cell growth and reproductive toxicity. 

10. Methylisothiazolinone

Last on our list of skincare chemicals is Methylisothiazolinone, which has been proven to show neurotoxic properties. It’s an antibacterial preservative used to stop the growth of bacteria in products. Known as MIT for short, you’ll probably find this in almost every product you reach for – from baby shampoos to facial moisturizers. 

Knowing which toxic skincare ingredients to stay away from is essential for smart shopping. Therefore, we highly encourage you to use this as a guide next time you’re looking to buy new products to support your smart shopping decision. For more useful information, read through our blog section. And don’t forget to visit our online shop to purchase from our natural, toxic-free skincare line. 




About Tierra by Maria

Tierra by Maria is a skincare brand, founded by Maria Gabriela de Faria, that is dedicated to creating high-quality, natural, and vegan products that nourish and protect the skin. Our products are formulated with only the highest-quality, plant-based ingredients to provide the best possible skincare experience.

We are committed to sustainability and ethical practices, and we never test our products on animals. Our line includes a variety of products for all skin types and concerns, including cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, and more. Whether you're looking for a daily skincare routine or a solution to a specific skin concern, Tierra by Maria has something for you. Shop now and experience the power of natural skincare!