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Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care

Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care

Skin care products inherently contain ingredients that users expect to be cleansing and nourishing for the skin. However, what many consumers do not know is that most brands of skin care products contain additives that are potentially toxic; research by the independent bodies the Environmental Working Group and Good Guide shows certain ingredients may be hazardous to your health. These ingredients should be avoided, if possible.


Fragrance, an additive included in many brands of skin care products, contains in the range of 3,000 products; one third of these products are known allergens or irritants to the respiratory tract. Further, many of the additives have not been studied for their safety, according to the Environmental Working Group.

DMDM Hydantoin

A common additive in skin care products that should be avoided is DMDM Hydantoin. This ominous preservative releases formaldehyde, a toxic compound that prevents the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that could cause the skin care product to spoil. While formaldehyde serves its useful purpose as a preservative, its proven toxicity is known to be harmful to the skin and the environment, according to the National Institutes of Health. In addition, the Environmental Working Group gave this ingredient a 7 out of 10 hazard rating score.


Methylisothiazolinone, or MIT, is a strong chemical substance used in many skin care products. It has been shown to cause allergic reactions. In fact, this chemical is so controversial that Canada has banned its use in cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group research has shown that use of this product can damage the immune system, cause an allergic reaction and/or harm to the brain and nervous system.

Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3)

Oxybenzone is another potentially harmful ingredient in skin care products that should be avoided. It received a 9 out of 10 hazard rating from Environmental Working Group, which is defined it as a very high-hazard product. Research has found that it can have photoallergenic effects, which means that it can cause eczema, dermatitis and a skin rash. It may also cause changes to the skin on a biological or cellular level, an effect that could lead to heart disease, according to research. Studies also show possible toxicity to the brain, and nervous and organ systems, and also to wildlife and the environment. This product can appear under a variety of names; in addition to oxybenzone, it may be labeled as methanone, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxyphenyl, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxy-benzophenone, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone, benzophenone-3 or BP-3.

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