Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care Products

One of the best ways to make your home a natural haven is to be aware of what ingredients to avoid in your personal care and cleaning products.  We’re exposed to toxic chemicals every day, but you can reduce your exposure if you know what they are.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply look for a “non-toxic” or “natural” claim on the label.  These claims aren’t regulated by the FDA, so you’ll have to be a label sleuth and learn how to identify iffy ingredients yourself.

You’ll want to avoid these questionable chemicals:

  • Triclosan: An Endocrine disruptor that can cause antibiotic resistance and is linked to increased allergen sensitivity and disruption of thyroid function even at low levels. Found in: liquid soap, bar soap, toothpaste, and antiperspirants
  • DEA-related ingredients: Emulsifiers or foaming agents that may be carcinogens. Found in: creamy or foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos
  • Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances linger longer. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance and fragranced household products
  • Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others): Preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. They’re Endocrine disruptors and may alter hormone mechanisms and interfere with male reproduction. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, and foundation
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that create bubbles and foam in soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes. They can cause skin irritation, trigger allergies, and disrupt hormones and are linked to neurotoxicity. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. Found in: soap, shampoo, and body wash
  • MIT (methylisothiazolinone) and BIT (benzisothiazolinone): Known skin irritants that are considered neurotoxic. They’re antibacterial ingredients that are EPA-registered pesticides and used as preservatives. Found in: personal care products
  • Phenoxyethanol: A common preservative considered to be an endocrine disruptor, neurotoxin, and skin and eye irritant. Found in: many “non-toxic” cleaning products
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds, or “quats”: Chemicals associated with asthma and reduced fertility, as well as birth defects in animals. Found in: antibacterial cleaning supplies, disinfecting air fresheners, and fabric softeners
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which may be a carcinogen. Found in: soaps, creams, sunscreen, and shampoos
  • Parfum/Fragrance: Synthetic fragrances that have been linked to asthma, allergies, skin irritation, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, cancer, nervous system, respiratory, and endocrine disruption. Fragrances may contain any combination of 3,000-plus chemical ingredients. Companies don’t have to disclose the fragrance formula because it is protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets.

In addition to these chemicals, you should look out for warnings and claims that might indicate a product is harmful to your health.

Be wary of products with these on the label:

  • Directions that require a mask or ventilation while using the product
  • Instructions for hazardous waste disposal. If you can’t throw them in your garbage, do you want them all over your house? The fact that the EPA classifies oven cleaners, drain cleaners, wood and metal cleaners, polishes, toilet cleaners, tile tub and shower cleaners, and laundry bleach as hazardous waste is one reason you should eliminate them from your home.
  • A combustible or flammable warning
  • An “unscented or “free and clear” claim on the label.  Unscented products can contain masking agents that are added to simply cover up fragrance with another toxic chemical. Always look for an ingredient list and not just the unscented claim.

So what products CAN you use?  When you’re looking for effective, naturally derived, plant-based products for the entire home, Young Living has you covered.

Our Thieves® product line offers healthy alternatives for all your home and cleaning needs! We have everything from hand soap to laundry detergent. You can feel confident knowing Thieves products are free from harsh chemicals and infused with the powerful Thieves essential oil blend.

The Thieves product line is formulated without SLS, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, dyes, phosphates, synthetic ingredients, fluoride, preservatives, perfumes, and formaldehyde.

Pass this along to any friend who has been thinking about making the switch to natural, clean products!


This post first appeared in the Young Living Training and Education Group