Toxins damaging skin




Cosmetics and personal care products are an essential part of our daily routines. Nothing beats the feeling of starting the day refreshed and full of confidence.
Do you usually reach for the product promoting natural goodness without thinking twice about what it’s made of? Do you go for the labels promoting ‘natural’ ingredients, confident you’ve made the right choice? We can’t blame you, after all, few of us have a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry to understand all the scientific terms and complex formulations. That’s why we wanted to highlight some of the harmful personal care ingredients to be aware of.


Toxins in skin and hair products can pose risks to our health and the environment. Many cosmetic products on the market contain various harmful substances such as lead, mercury, formaldehyde, phthalates, and parabens.
These toxins can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or ingested, leading to a range of adverse effects. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals has been linked to skin irritation, allergies, hormonal disruptions, reproductive issues, and even certain types of cancer. Certain toxins can also accumulate in the body over time, further increasing the potential for long-term health problems. It is crucial for consumers to be aware of the ingredients in their cosmetics and opt for safe, toxin-free alternatives to protect their health and minimise the associated risks.
Some of the most commonly found toxins in cosmetics and personal care products include:
  • Parabens: These are a type of preservative commonly found in personal care products, such as shampoos, moisturizers, and makeup. They have been linked to hormonal disruption and may increase the risk of certain cancers.
  • Phthalates: These are a group of chemicals used to make plastic more flexible and are often found in personal care products, such as fragrances, hair sprays, and nail polishes. They have been linked to hormonal disruption and reproductive problems.
  • Mineral Oil: This is a by-product of petroleum that is commonly used in personal care products, such as moisturizers and baby oil. It can clog pores and disrupt the skin's natural moisture barrier.
  • Lead: Found in some lipsticks and hair dyes, lead is a neurotoxin that can have harmful effects on the brain and nervous system.
  • Mercury: Sometimes used in skin-lightening creams and mascara, mercury is a heavy metal that can damage the kidneys and nervous system.
  • Toluene: Found in nail polishes and hair dyes, toluene is a solvent that can cause reproductive harm, nervous system damage, and respiratory issues.

Aggressive Ingredients

Not all harmful ingredients in skin and hair care products are toxic. However, their aggressive nature could irritate your skin and hair and it’s best to ditch them from your routine.
  • Microplastics: One of the biggest culprits is microplastics, small plastic particles, are often used as abrasives in exfoliating products but are harmful to aquatic life when they enter waterways.
According to the Hidden Beauty Ingredient, a large-scale study investigating the presence of microplastics in over 7,000 different cosmetic and personal care products, 87% of the products were found to contain microplastics. This includes all possible synthetic polymers, whether added in solid, liquid, semi-liquid, or water-soluble form, as well as nano plastics and biodegradable plastics.
Microplastic beads are another form of microplastics, which are widely used in cosmetics, including by leading global brands. These microplastic beads are responsible for a significant proportion of the human-made solid waste in aquatic environments. Microplastic beads are used for making a range of cosmetic products, including soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, moisturisers, shaving cream, sunscreen lotion, facial masks, to name a few.
  • Sulfates: Sulfates are harsh detergents that can strip the skin of its natural oils, causing dryness and irritation. They are commonly found in products such as shampoos, face washes, and body washes.
  • Synthetic fragrances and colourants: Synthetic fragrances and colourants can cause skin irritation and allergies in some individuals. They may not be directly toxic, but they can still have adverse effects on sensitive skin. 

Take-Home Message


We hope this information will help you make informed decisions about the products you use. Even if the label says ‘natural’ you should always do your research and carefully choose what you apply on your face, body, and hair.
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.