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Top 6 Toxic Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

Taking the first step to a non-toxic skincare routine is understanding the ingredients within it. 

Taking the first step to a non-toxic skincare routine is understanding the ingredients within it. 

Your skin is the largest organ in your body and your first defence against any external factors that may harm your health. If we see an unknown substance on our arm, our immediate reaction is to wash it off. When we smell something that doesn’t seem natural, we plug our nose.

We do this because the unknown is a little alarming and will send a trigger to your brain to stay cautious, check out the situation, and make your next move. So what happens when this “cautionary”, maybe toxic, ingredient is disguised or completely invisible to the naked eye?

They begin to leach into the skin barrier and in turn, your bloodstream.

The list of toxic ingredients you should be avoiding in your beauty and skincare products is (unfortunately) long. But, rather than overwhelming yourself with every little thing there is to know out there about toxic and non-toxic ingredients, we should start with the basics. 

Below are the top 6 ingredients to avoid vetted by The Good Face Project —  

If there’s one thing we’ve learned, knowledge develops over time, piece by piece. Consider this step 1 of understanding which ingredients you should be avoiding. When it comes to understanding what makes up our beauty/skin/self care products, we often turn to The Good Face Project (consider this your beauty bible), a comprehensive ingredient ontology.

1. PHTHALATES 

Phthalates are chemicals that make products more flexible. They affect the texture of your products.In cosmetics, you’ll find phthalates in parfum, nail polish, hair spray, cleansers, and lotions. Pay close attention to your fragrance products like parfum and body spray.

We have some phthalate-free fragrance product recommendations to help you avoid this group of toxins.When reading ingredient labels, look out for the name Dibutyl phthalate. It’s one of the most common phthalates. Our research has shown that this ingredient has plenty of evidence to suggest that it’s a carcinogen and hormone disruptor. 

2. PARABENS

You’ve probably heard of parabens before. Fortunately, many people are aware that they should avoid parabens.

It’s becoming easier and easier to find “paraben-free” skincare products.Propylparaben and Iosbutylparaben are the ones to really keep an eye out for. Both should be avoided at all costs because they’re associated with certain types of cancer.Where are you most likely to see them?

 Everywhere. From household cleaning products to cosmetics you use on a daily basis, parabens are some of the most common preservative agents across multiple categories.

3. SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES) & SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS)

Check your cleansing products, such as face washes, shampoos, and soaps, for harsh sulfates. They’re especially common in shampoos and cleansing products.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is very irritating and has been linked to disrupting the endocrine system. Similarly, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) can also cause irritation and allergic reactions.

4. DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA) and TRIETHANOLAMINE (TEA)

These ingredients are among many in the family of Ethanolamines. This group of ingredients consist of surfactants and pH adjusters. 

In many countries, Diethanolamine is banned. It’s been shown to be carcinogenic to the human body. Yet it’s still used in many cosmetics as a pH adjuster. It’s also used to make some beauty products thicker or foamier.

Check your hair products and skincare products for Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine. 

5. TRICLOSAN

Triclosan is a tricky one (pun intended). The FDA actually banned this ingredient in soaps. However, it’s still allowed in other products, such as toothpaste, face wash, deodorant, etc. It’s used as an antibacterial agent, preservative, or antiperspirant. 

Though the FDA has yet to ban this toxic ingredient altogether, we urge you to avoid it. It’s a hormone disruptor and irritant, so it receives an unsafe grade.

6. SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE 

We’re here for the fragrance-free beauty movement. The word “fragrance” is used as a euphemism for unsafe ingredients. This is because companies are allowed to hide their proprietary blends behind this word. So, when you see “fragrance” as an ingredient, you actually don’t know what’s in it. For that reason, we encourage you to do your research and shop fragrance-free or natural fragrance.

Synthetic fragrances can cause allergic reactions. Plus, there may be even more harmful ingredients like phthalates hiding behind the label.


So there you have it. The first steps to a healthier you.

We don’t expect you to be an expert but having a clean beauty routine is an incredible starting point when taking control of your health! The more research we do, the more passionate we get about non-toxic beauty standards. This passion has been at the forefront of The Wilds Skincare since day one.

We promise to keep learning and doing our due diligence when it comes to finding clean, high quality natural ingredients that not only give your skin the love it needs, but also positively impact your overall life.

Shop clean! & Stay tuned for more.

– The Wilds

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