The skin is our largest organ and can absorb up to 60% of what we put on it.  This includes chemical toxins in skincare.

When we use products containing harmful artificial ingredients these place an unnecessary burden on our skin as well as our detoxification processes and our entire immune system.
The average woman uses around 10 to 15 personal care products per day. Many of these contain potentially harmful toxic chemical ingredients that your body then absorbs and has to process; Studies also suggest the more products you use, the higher toxic concentrations are absorbed by your body. Think about all the products you use daily that come into contact with your skin: cleansers, toners, moisturisers, serums, face masks, makeup, fragrances, body lotions and creams, shampoo, conditioner, soaps and body washes, deodorant, washing detergents on your clothing, etc. You are literally exposing yourself to hundreds of chemical toxins in your skincare on a daily basis – Pretty scary, huh!


Research is Key to establishing the role of chemical toxins in skincare

In this Springer Link research article “Natural anti-aging Skincare: Role and Potential” they explain the role of chemical toxins in skincare and the rise of natural skincare beautifully:

“There are, however, harmful chemicals and toxins found in everyday cosmetics that consumers are now aware of. Thus, the natural beauty industry is on the rise with innovative technology and high-performance ingredients as more consumers demand healthier options. Therefore, the aims of this review are to give some critical insights into the effects of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors on excessive or premature skin aging and to elaborate on the relevance of natural beauty and natural anti-aging skincare approaches that will help consumers, scientists, and entrepreneurs make the switch. 

Our recent investigations have shown the potential and relevance of identifying more resources from our rich natural heritage from various plant sources such as leaves, fruits, pomace, seeds, flowers, twigs and so on which can be explored for natural anti-aging skincare product formulations. 

These trending narratives have started to gain traction among researchers and consumers owing to the sustainability concern and impact of synthetic ingredients on human health and the environment. 

The natural anti-aging ingredients, which basically follow hormetic pathways, are potentially useful as moisturizing agents; barrier repair agents; antioxidants, vitamins, hydroxy acids, skin lightening agents, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and sunblock ingredients.”

My rule of thumb is if I can’t pronounce it I probably shouldn’t be putting it on my body. But here’s a guideline to some commonly occurring toxic chemicals in skincare products.


Key Chemical Toxins in Skincare

Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate

This chemical is also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, laurilsulfate, SDS or SLS. This ingredient is an economical surfactant (removes oil; foaming agent). It is commonly found in shampoo, soap, cleansers, bubble bath, toothpaste, mouthwash, body wash, and most products that foam. In addition, SLS is also found in industrial strength detergents and engine degreasers.

It may contain 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen, and ethylene oxide, a chemical known to harm your nervous system.

SLS has a comedogenic rating of 5! This means it has a high probability of clogging pores. It strips the skin of oils, which can cause the skin to overcompensate and produce excessive sebum – not ideal in a skincare product!

Picture of bubbles with sodium lauryl sulphate explanation


A popular synthetic element, phthalates can be found in a wide range of cosmetics and fragrances. Furthermore, these chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and are known hormone disruptors, which is why they are so harmful.



Parabens are a type of synthetic preservative used in the manufacture of cosmetics and skincare products. They are hormone disruptors and can wreak havoc on oestrogen levels. Methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, isoparapben, etc. are all part of the paraben family. Look out for these on your product’s ingredient list!


 Parfum / “Fragrance”

Even though this term contains more than 3,000 components, there is no requirement for cosmetic companies to declare each one. These compounds have been linked to a variety of health issues, including allergies, skin irritations, asthma, and difficulty breathing.


fragrance bottle with explanation on phthalates

Petrochemicals – Mineral Oil, Paraffin, Petrolatum

Mineral oil is a mining by-product and is a non-renewable and environmentally unfriendly resource. Cosmetics manufacturers utilize it to make emollients for face creams and cheap massage and body oils, among other uses. To avoid cancer-causing contaminants, do not use petroleum products on your skin.

Conclusion to Chemical Toxins in Skincare

Converting to an all-natural skincare routine will help your skin and body steer clear of these chemical toxins in skincare. Moreover, doing this will also ensure that you feed your skin with the nutrients it craves!

To find out more, read our blog THE SCIENCE BEHIND NATURAL SKINCARE