Toxic Cosmetic and Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

Not long ago, I was completely clueless of toxic and harmful ingredients in cosmetic and skincare products. But thanks to extensive research and learning about the ingredients, you can find natural products that are free from these harmful chemicals. Although some of these ingredients may have their pros and cons, however, weigh your options and effects on your body and make your decision.

Our skin is the body’s largest organ and performs extremely key functions protecting other vital organs, bones and muscles. Our body is very precious and should be treated with the greatest care and love. So don’t be blinded by beautiful packaging, adverts or trends without checking the ingredients on your product.

Did you know that up to 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed; which means that all the products we put onto our skin could affect us negatively or positively. Fortunately, the EU law has banned over a thousand chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. This means that in the UK every product in the market should be safe and not pose any risks or side effects right? However, many ingredients are still being used and can be harmful to our skin, health and overall well being.

And although, many brands nowadays claim to be vegan, natural, organic or cruelty-free. But while they label products ‘natural’ and cruelty-free; doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for our skin or the environment. In fact, some of these toxic ingredients are linked to severe health issues, reproductive and respiratory problems, eczema, birth defects as well as cancer. So why take the risk if you already know this and if you don’t then this article is for you. Finally, always remember that the front of any packaging could be misleading, so it’s best to read full product ingredients at the back for all cosmetics, skincare as well as food items.


Preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold in cosmetic products. However, they disrupt hormone function; having estrogen-mimicking properties and linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Found in deodorants, makeup, body washes, facial cleansers, shampoos, etc. Another study found that some men who use paraben products have lower sperm counts and less testosterone than men who do not.

PEG (Polyethylene glycol)

Used in cosmetics as thickeners or softeners and can change the skin’s natural moisture factor. Also known as an absorption enhancer allowing both good and bad ingredients to be absorbed faster into the skin. Usually found in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease.


A group of toxic chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics. Found in nail polish, moisturisers, shampoos and more. Unfortunately they are also linked to breast cancer and reproductive birth defects in males and females. Also labelled as fragrances so it’s usually harder to detect.


Chemical ingredient that lightens the skin. Usually used for hyperpigmentation, melasma, lentigines as well as acne scars. However, long-term use can cause ochronosis and skin cancer.

Mineral oil, Petroleum and Paraffin

Used for their emollient properties. Petroleum jelly is very cheap and adds no nutrient to your skin. It can also interfere with the body’s natural moisturising mechanism; leading to dryness and chapping. How crazy is it that, it creates the very condition it claims to relieve.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

Cheap detergent that makes products foam and affects the skin’s protective barrier resulting in worsened irritation. Usually found in 90% of beauty products. Risk also includes irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs as well as clog pores and may cause acne.


As much as we love a good scented candle over here at FRUK. We are now more than ever aware of it’s not-so-good properties. Sadly, fragrances and perfumes can be linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. There are great plant extracts and pure essential oils to opt for that have much better benefits for your skin.

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

Classified by the European Union (EU) as an ‘endocrine disruptor’. A waxy solid found in a various cosmetics products especially in lipstick and eye shadow.


Found in antibacterial soaps, body wash, toothpaste, deodorants and some cosmetics. Disrupts thyroid function and also linked to cancer. Research have shown they alter hormone regulation and could be harmful to the immune system

Please note that this page will be updated over time.

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