Five Toxins in Your Skin Care Products You Need to Avoid Now

For Healthier and More Beautiful Skin

By Dr. Patricia Pimentel Selassie ND, CNS

Placing toxins on your skin can be more detrimental than ingesting them. When you eat toxins, they get filtered by both the gut and the liver. When you put toxins on your skin, they get absorbed right into your bloodstream, bypassing digestion. Furthermore, your skin is one of the organs of elimination. The five organs are the lungs, which remove most metabolic wastes through the breath; the liver, which is the main filter for toxins; the colon and the kidney, which help you remove toxins as you eliminate naturally through your urine and stool; and, if there is still an overwhelming amount of toxins, they will come out of your skin in the form of acne, eczema, rosacea, or another skin ailment. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Program is responsible for reporting safety of ingredients in skin care products. There are some ingredients listed below with newly published data that is being re-reviewed in terms of their safety. This raises the issue that many unsafe ingredients end up on our shelves before scientific research has concluded that the contents of these products are absolutely safe. (1)

1. Mineral Oil is a byproduct of the petroleum industry. It makes for a cheap moisturizing agent, but it will also clogs your pores. When you use mineral oil, you are placing a barrier over your skin made from the same crude oil that makes gasoline. Mineral oil has been demonstrated to carcinogenic, neurotoxic and genotoxic and has limits on the amounts allowed in cosmetics and lotions. (2,3) Therefore, it’s a good idea to limit your own exposure to it and refuse to buy and skin care products containing mineral oil.

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a lathering agent found in shampoos and toothpastes. SLS is also used in engine degreasers and garage floor cleaners, giving you an idea of the strength of this chemical. Unfortunately, it is a contributing factor to hair loss (4) and canker sores (apthous ulcers), those small shallow white sores on the inside of your mouth. So why would you want this chemical in your shampoo or toothpaste? There is evidence of SLS causing skin irritation, as well. (5)

3. Parabens are preservatives in skin care products used to preserve shelf life. You will see them listed in the ingredients list as methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, and ethylparaben. They are considered endocrine disruptors, meaning, they affect your hormones in an abnormal way. They cause inflammation of the skin and may your skin sensitive to sun damage. (6)

4. Hydroquinone is one of the most toxic chemicals used in skin care products. In fact, it is banned in some countries. It is used as a skin lightener or bleach. There has been evidence that hydroquinone causes tumors to grow and may contribute to cancer. (7) The worst part is that long-term use of hydroquinone can cause ochronosis, a medical term for the darkening of the skin, sometimes accompanied by thickening. Why use a toxic chemical to lighten your skin when you could get the opposite effect, making your skin pigmented, blotchy and uneven? (8) 5. Often touted as a product to keep you healthy, antibacterial hand sanitizer is it will kill not only the bad bacteria on your skin, but the good bacteria as well. Killing your good bacteria essentially leaves you and your skin void of immunity. Furthermore, using hand sanitizer encourages bacterial resistance, rendering us defenseless to evolved bad bacteria. (9) These antibacterial soaps also contain Triclosan, which appears to be toxic to living cells and toxic to our genes, causing cell mutations which may affect our children and grandchildren. (10) Triclosan is also a hormone disruptor, affecting reproductive hormone activity, and can affect the ability to metabolize thyroid hormone. (11) In 2014, the state of Minnesota passed legislation that banned retail stores from carrying products with Triclosan. Triclosan has been found in our rivers and lakes, human breast milk, and urine. Anytime you absorb these toxins through your skin, your body has to process them and get them out of your body. Unburden your body now before the toxins need to get dumped through your skin, causing blemishes, boils, rashes, and pimples. Have beautiful skin naturally, and start your glow today!


1. Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Marks JG Jr, Andersen FA. Safety of ingredients used in cosmetics. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Jan;52(1):125-32. Erratum in: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Jul;53(1):137. PMID:15627090

2. Amended final report on the safety assessment of polyacrylamide and acrylamide residues in cosmetics. Int J Toxicol. 2005;24 Suppl 2:21-50. Review. PMID: 16154914

3. Palacios-Lopez CG 1, Tamayo-Sánchez L , Durán-McKinster C , Orozco-Covarrubias M , Ruiz-Maldonado R .Cleansers, moisturizers, and talcs: patterns of use among children of low socioeconomic level. Pediatr Dermatol. 1998 Mar-Apr;15(2):134-6. PMID: 9572699

4. Johansson E, Ranki A, Reunala T, Kianto U, Niemi KM. Immunohistological evaluation of alopecia areata treated with squaric acid dibutylester (SADBE).Acta Derm Venereol. 1986;66(6):485-90. PMID: 2433867

5. Horita K, Horita D, Tomita H, Yasoshima M, Yagami A, Matsunaga K. Effects of different base agents on prediction of skin irritation by sodium lauryl sulfate using patch testing and repeated application test. Toxicology. 2017 Mar 5. pii: S0300-483X(17)30073-2. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2017.03.003. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28274658

6. Lee J, Park N, Kho Y, Lee K, Ji K. Phototoxicity and chronic toxicity of methyl paraben and 1,2-hexanediol in Daphnia magna. Ecotoxicology. 2017 Jan;26(1):81-89. doi: 10.1007/s10646-016-1743-6. PMID: 27866342

7. Chen Y, Chen J, Yun L, Xu L, Liu J, Xu Y, Yang H, Liang H, Tang H. Hydroquinone-induced malignant transformation of TK6 cells by facilitating SIRT1-mediated p53 degradation and up-regulating KRAS.Toxicol Lett. 2016 Sep 30;259:133-42. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2016.08.006. PMID:27515134

8. Bhattar PA, Zawar VP, Godse KV, Patil SP, Nadkarni NJ, Gautam MM. Exogenous ochronosis. Indian J Dermatol. 2015 Nov-Dec;60(6):537-43. doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.169122. Review. PMID:26677264

9. Tan L., Nielsen N.H., Young D.C. Use of antimicrobial agents in consumer products. Arch. Dermatol. 2002; 138:1082-1086

10. Bedoux G at al. Occurrence and toxicity of antimicrobial triclosan and by-products in the environment. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2012 May: 19 (4): 1044-65 11. Wang, CF & Tian, Y. Reproductive endocrine-disrupting effects of triclosan: Population exposure, present evidence and potential mechanisms. Environ Pollut. 2015 Nov: 206: 15-201

Jacqui Somen