the no-no list

Abietic Acid: Used to create a smooth texture in cosmetics and soaps. Can cause irritation and may cause allergic reactions. can cause paralysis in lab animals

Acetamide Mea: A chemical solvent used in skin creams. It can cause cancer when given orally to laboratory animals.

Aluminum Acetate: Used as an astringent in skin creams. Originally developed for waterproofing fabrics. If ingested it may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Prolonged use may produce severe sloughing of the skin. 

Aluminum Hydroxide: An inorganic compound used to make a product less transparent.

Acrylic Acid: A synthetic polymer used as a binder and film-former in dyes, adhesives, permanent-press fabrics and now, skin creams. Toxic by skin absorption.

Arachidonic Acid: Used to emulsify cream and to smooth skin. This acid is extracted from an ANIMAL liver. 

Behenyl Alcohol: Used in the manufacture of synthetic fabrics, insecticides and lubricates, now used as a cream thickener and emulsifier

Benzophenpne-2: Used to keep the fragrance scents, may cause skin sensitivity. (*hives)

Benzocaine (Ethyl Aminobenzoate): Used as a germicide and may cause allergic conjunctivitis. Lethal to frogs. Highly toxic. In 1992, the FDA proposed a ban on the use of this item for treating insect bites and stings. Has not been shown to be safe in concentrations over 0.1%.

Beta-Naphthol: Used in skin peeling preparations. Derived from Coal Tar, may cause kidney damage, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions.

Bithionol: Used as a germicide in creams. May cause sensitivity to light, skin rashes and swelling.This germicide is closely related to hexachlorophene, which has already been banned by the FDA.

Borates: A cosmetic preservative. May damage the central nervous system, kidneys, liver and skin.

Butylene Glycol: Used in cosmetics to resist humidity, to retain scents and as a preservative. Has a similar toxicity as ethylene glycol, which when ingested may cause depression, vomiting, drowsiness, coma, respiratory failure, convulsions, renal damage, kidney failure and death. 

Butyl Oleate: Used to condition skin but is also used for manufacturing industrial solvents and lubricants.

Calcium Chloride: Used as an emulsifier. Also used in fire extinguishers and as a wood preserve.Ingestion can cause stomach and heart disturbances.

Calcium Hydroxide: Used in the cream and lotion of depilatories. Also used in the manufacture of mortar, plaster, cement and pesticides. Accidental ingestion can cause burns of the throat and esophagus. Death may occur from shock and asphyxia due to swelling of the glottis.

Calcium Sulfate: Used as a skin firming ingredient. Also known as Plaster of Paris. Used in cements and wall plaster. If mixed in cream depilatories. Used for Tanning leather. May cause thyroid problems. Accidental ingestion may result in intestinal obstruction. When mixed with flour, Calcium Sulfate can be used to kill rodents.

Calcium Thioglycolate: Customarily used for tanning leather, Calcium Thioglycolate is now also being used in cream depilatories. Has been shown to cause thyroid problems in experiments on animals and some people develop hemorrhaging under the skin when used topically.

Carbolic Acid: Used in creams as a disinfectant. Derived from Coal Tar. Must not be taken internally as it can cause vomiting, convulsions, paralysis, respiratory failure.

Carboxypolymethylene: Also known as Carbomer 934 – 940 – 941 or Carbopol. Used as a thickener and as a emulsifying ingredient.

Carboxymethyl Cellulose: A synthetic gum used in creams and lotions as an emulsifier and stabilizer. It has been shown to cause cancer in animals when ingested. Its toxicity in topical applications is unknown.

Ceresin: Typically used for making wax paper, polish, and in dentistry for taking wax impressions, and is now used in skin creams as an emulsifier. May cause allergic reactions

Cocamide DEA: Used as a emulsifier. Considered highly toxic.

Cyclomethicone: Silicone

Desoxycholic Acid: Used as an emulsifying ingredient in cosmetics. Generally regarded as safe by the FDA, but is known to cause tumors in laboratory animals.

Dibenzothiopense: lso known as Thioxanthene and Diphenylene Sulfide. Used in cosmetics to add a green fluorescence. No known toxicity when applied to the skin, but when ingested can affect the central nervous system, the blood, and blood pressure.

Dehydroacetic Acid DHA: Also known as Sodium Dehydroacetate. Used as a preservative in cosmetics. Not irritating to the skin or allergy causing, but if ingested, is a kidney-blocking ingredient and can cause impaired kidney function. Large doses can cause vomiting, imbalance and convulsions.

Diethylene Glycol: This chemical is actually a solvent and is used to enhance the absorption of other ingredients in skin creams. Not usually irritating to the skin, but can be fatal if swallowed

Diethanolamine DEA: Used as an emulsifier. Considered toxic, proved to cause cancer in laboratory rats.

Dimethoxy Methane: Used as a solvent in cosmetics and perfumes.Toxic by ingestion and inhalation.

Diethystilbestrol DES: Used as a synthetic hormone in skin care products. Carcinogen and linked to a rare form of vaginal cancer.

Ethoxyethanol: Used as a stabilizer in cosmetic emulsions. Its toxicity has been shown to be several times greater than polyethylene glycol in laboratory animal tests. Produces central nervous system depression and kidney damage.

Epichlorohydrin: Used as a solvent in varnishes and lacquers. Chronic exposure is known to cause kidney damage.

Ethyl Hexanediol: Used as a solvent for manufacturing cosmetics. Skin application caused birth defects in laboratory animals.

Ethylene Dichloride (EDC): A solvent used in manufacturing cosmetics. Also used for manufacturing vinyl chloride, paint, varnish, and as a lead scavenger in antiknock gasolines. In cancer testing, the National Cancer Institute found this compound caused stomach cancer and vascularized cancers of multiple organs.

Ethylene Glycol: A chemical solvent. Also used in Antifreeze.

Ethylennadiamine Tetraacetic Acid EDTA: Used as a preservative. Can cause allergies, asthma and skin rashes.

Euxyl K-400: Used as a preservative. Can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

Fibroin Copolmyer: A synthetic polymer used as a binder and film-former in dyes, adhesives, permanent-press fabrics and skin creams. Toxic by skin absorption.

Formaldehyde: Used as a preservative. It may cause skin irritation and has

been linked to cancer. 

Glycolic Acid: Derived from fruit juice, an inexpensive organic acid used for brightening copper. Used in cosmetics when a cheap (inexpensive) organic acid is required. When applied to the skin, it has the potential to cause sun sensitivity and irritation.

Hydroquinone: Pigment lightening agent used in bleaching creams. Potentially carcinogenic, may cause allergic reaction and increase skin sun sensitivity

Isopropyl Alcohol or Isopropanol: Used as a solvent. Derived from propylene which is from Petroleum. Also used in antifreeze.

Lanolin: Used in face creams. Can cause allergic reactions, skin rashes. Derived from Sheep’s wool and may also contain pesticides used on the sheep and wool.

Lauromide DEA: Used in cosmetics as an emulsifying agent. Considered to be highly toxic. This is a DEA derivative. See DEA.

Magnesium Aluminum Silicate: Used primarily as a thickener in cosmetics. In 1976 the FDA declared that it is not harmful at presently used levels, however, The World Health Organization recommended further studies because of kidney damage found in dogs that ingested it.

Methylisothiazolinone / Methylchloroisothiazolinone: Used in cosmetics as a broad spectrum preservative. It is highly toxic in rats and rabbits orally but only moderately toxic when applied to the skin

Mineral Oil: This is petroleum by product which may form an oil film and suffocate the skin which can clog skin pores. It is a cheap mixture and widely used in skin care products.

Morpholine: Used as an emulsifier. Also used as an insecticide and fungicide

Nickel Sulfate: Used in hair dyes and astringents. Causes vomiting when swallowed. Its systemic effects include blood vessel, brain, and kidney damage and nervous depression.

Nitrobenzene: Used as a cheap fragrance. Also used in metal polish. May cause nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.

Parabens- Butylparaben-Methylparaben-Polyparaben: Used as a preservative. Can cause contact dermatitis and allergic reactions.

PEG-Polyethylene Glycol PEG(4) to PEG(350): The higher the number the harder the composition. Used as a plastic is ingredient, solvent or softener. Also used in hair straighteners, antiperspirants and polish removers

Polybutene: Used in cosmetics as a plasticizer. Derived from petroleum. Also used for manufacturing adhesives. May asphyxiate. Considered safe for cosmetic use as currently used.

Polyethylene: Widely used in creams and lotions. No known skin toxicity, but implants in rats caused cancer. Ingestion of large oral doses has produced kidney and liver damage.

Petrolatum: Used to make skin creams smoother. Can cause allergic reactions.

Polyvinylpyrrolidone: A plastic resin used as a carrier ingredient in emollient creams, and as a softener in other cosmetic products. Ingestion may cause gas and fecal impaction or damage to the lungs and kidneys and if ingested, may last in the system for months to a year.

Polyacrylamide: Used as a thickening agent. Used in manufacture of plastics and adhesives. Highly toxic.

Pottassium Hydroxide: Used as an emulsifier. Extremely corrosive.

Propylene Glycol: Used as a Humectant. Also used as an embalming fluid, anti-freeze, brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, paints and floor wax. Can cause contact dermatitis, rashes, dry skin, cell damage, kidney damage and cellular regeneration

Quaternarium-15: Used as a preservative. It is a formaldehyde releaser and can cause dermatitis. number-one cause of dermatitis from preservatives.

Sodium Dehydroacetate: A cosmetic preservative. If ingested can cause impaired kidney function. Large doses can cause vomiting, ataxia, and confusion. There are no apparent allergic skin reactions and it is considered safe as a cosmetic ingredient

Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate: A widely used detergent in skin creams and bath products. If swallowed will cause vomiting. Some animal studies revealed kidney, intestinal and liver damage when given orally. Considered to be a safe cosmetic ingredient. Sodium Hydroxide Used in skin creams. Also used in drain cleaners.

SLS Sodium Lauryl Sullfate: Used in skin creams and tooth paste. May cause skin rashes, hair loss, allergic reactions and eye irritations.

Stearalkonium Chloride: Used in face creams as a softener. Toxic.

Synthetic Colors: Usually labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Many synthetic colors are believed to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing agents).

Synthetic Fragrances: Used in cosmetics. Can have as many as 200 ingredients which do not have to be listed and listed only as Fragrance. May cause headaches, dizziness, rashes, hyper pigmentation, vomiting and skin irritation.

Triclocarban: Also known as Trichlorocarbanilide and TCC. A cosmetic ingredient used for killing bacteria.

Tricloroethane: Used in cosmetics for de-greasing. Can cause allergies, rashes and vomiting.

Triethanolamine: Used to adjust the pH balance in cosmetics. May cause skin dryness, allergic reactions and could be toxic.

Trioctanion: Used as a preservative. Can cause skin irritation.

Tripolyphosphate: Used as a water softener and emulsifier. May cause esophageal stricture and violent vomiting, if swallowed.