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by Kathleen M McCoy June 02, 2021 3 min read

What you put on your skin can affect you as much as what you put in your body. Many skincare products contain harmful chemicals that get absorbed directly through the skin into your bloodstream, which is why it is vital to consider where you buy your products and the ingredients that are in them. The average person uses about 9 personal care products every day and can be exposed to over 100 chemicals before they leave the house.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that dermal exposure to "hazardous agents" may result in systemic toxicity, skin infections and skin cancers. Phthalates, sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, artificial dyes/colors are just some of the harmful chemicals commonly found in personal care products you use daily. So, how can you avoid unnecessary exposure?

When it comes to skincare, these are three main offenders that are widely used. The best precaution is to avoid products that contain any harmful chemicals, as the build up of toxins can accumulate and affect the body's ability to detoxify efficiently, and can lead to more serious health issues over time.

Flat lay composition with cosmetic products on color background

Common Toxic Skin Care Ingredients


Aluminium is a metal found in most antiperspirant deoderants that works by blocking sweat from leaving the body. Research indicates that long-term use of antiperspirants containing aluminum salts may correlate with breast cancer development and progression.

Natural, aluminum-free deodorants often get poor reviews as they only mask the odor of your sweat. If you have excessive sweating not related to exercising or heat, finding an effective solution can be challenging. One option is to marry underarm sweat pads with a natural deodorant to keep you smelling fresh and dry all day.

Making your own is an easy alternative using just a few simple ingredients you most likely already have at home. This includes coconut oil, a known antibacterial agent that fights odor-causing bacteria plus adds a smooth texture, essential oils including tea tree for different scents or further antibacterial properties and adding cornstarch can help to keep you dry. Always check labels to familiarize yourself with the ingredients and stay away from harmful agents where possible.

Coal Tar Dyes

If you use hair color, dandruff shampoos, some deodorants, makeup or over-the-counter head lice products, you may be introducing coal tar dyes into your body. Coal tar dyes are carcinogens extracted from burning coal resulting in dark brown and black compounds. To make matters confusing, they can be be listed under many different names including coal tar solution, tar, carbo-cor, crude coal tar, impervotar, KC-261, lavatar, picis carbonis, naptha, benzin B70 and petroleum benzin.

Coal tar dyes may cause eye, scalp and skin irritations. More concerning, researchers have found that hairdressers have a "statistically significant risk for bladder cancer" and the use of hair dyes and chemical straighteners with endocrine-disrupting compounds and carcinogens can increase the risk for breast cancer in some groups.

If you dye your hair, choose a natural hair dye without harmful chemicals. If you have dark hair and want to go full-natural and chemical-free, you can rinse your hair with strong coffee once a week for added body, shine and a hint of color.


Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and in many scented products. They are also found in detergents, lubricants, packaging materials, hair spray, cosmetics and nail polish. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, manicurists and cosmetologists have an elevated risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Understanding What You Put on Your Skin

If your favorite skin products contain any of these harmful ingredients, it is time to look for natural, chemical-free alternatives -- or make your own with items from your pantry. Coconut oil has a variety of uses when it comes to daily health regimes. It works well in your hair as a conditioning treatment, a full body moisturizer, natural teeth whitener or you could creating an exfoliating body scrub using citrus peels, olive oil and honey.

If you want to understand the level of toxins that may have accumulated in your body, you can run an at-home lab test plus get your results explained by a certified health coach with the appropriate strategy to support your body to safely remove the unnecessary burden.

The way best way to eliminate exposure to the growing number of chemicals used in personal care products is to avoid using them and instead opt for safer natural alternatives.

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