Are Your Toiletries Toxic?

Toxic chemicals

Toxic chemicals

We strive to only put organic, clean food and products into our bodies, but we often don’t think to apply the same principles to what goes on the outside of our bodies.  What we put on our hair, skin, and nails is just as important as what we eat because ultimately what is put on the outside of our body makes its way into our body by way of absorption.  And some really nasty, toxic chemicals can be found in our common, everyday toiletries.  Here is a list of a Dirty Dozen chemicals in health and beauty products that you should avoid:

  • Sodium/Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). Found in shampoo, conditioner, whiteners, laundry detergents, carpet cleaners.  Alters skin structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate into the skin.
  • Parabens.  Found in shampoos, conditioners, whiteners, lotions, insect repellents, most skincare products.  May cause skin irritation, rash or dermatitis, or allergic skin reactions; mimics estrogen in the body.
  • Propylene Glycol.  Found in shampoos, conditioners, whiteners, lotions, insect repellents, most liquid skin/hair care products.  Alters skin structure; skin irritant; allergic reactions
  • Phthalates.  Found in fragrance, hair spray, hair gel, lotions.  Damages the liver, kidneys and lungs; mimics estrogen in the body
  • Cocamide DEA/Lauramide DEA. Found in shampoo, body wash, cleansers, bath oils, liquid soap, bar soap, moisturizer. May form carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  • Diazolidinyl Urea.  Found in fragrances, shampoo, conditioner, pain relief rubs/ointments.  Impurities linked to cancer or other significant health problems
  • Butyl Acetate.  Found in nail polish and nail treatments.  Repeated exposure causes skin dryness, cracking.
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene.  Found in fragrances, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, lotion.  Eye and skin irritant.
  • Ethyl Acetate.  Found in perfume, fragrance and whiteners.  Eye and skin irritant
  • Toluene.  Foun in nail polish and hair dyes.  Potentially cancer-causing, liver-damaging; irritating to skin and respiratory tract.
  • Triethanolamine.  Found in shampoo, lotion, creams, soaps.  May form carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines on skin or in body after absorption – among the most potent cancer-causing agents found!
  • Petrolatum.  Found incCreams, lotions, ointments, fragrances.  Allergic reactions.

Look for natural and organic products that do not contain the above chemicals in their ingredient list.  You should not put anything on the outside of your body that you’d be afraid to put on the inside of your body!


Liesa Harte, M.D.

1524 South IH 35, Suite 140

Austin, TX  78704