Skin Rejuvenation

10 Most Dangerous Skincare Ingredients

We’d all like to look younger. But with so many anti-aging creams and beauty products on the market, it’s hard to tell which ones actually work and which ones may end up doing more harm than good. The fact is the beauty industry is highly unregulated. There is no pre-product approval before a product hits the market and enters your home. A minuscule approval process exists–but only for color additives and ingredients classified as over-the-counter drugs. This is alarming, for there are thousands of chemicals in a number of different beauty products, many of which are absorbed by the body. And many of these synthetic chemicals are skin irritants, skin penetrators, endocrine disrupters, and are carcinogenic.

Given that most beauty products—including anti-aging creams—are deregulated, it’s important to be an informed consumer. Read on to discover the top ten skincare ingredients every consumer should avoid.


Parabens are widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products. Sounds good, right? Not really. Parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. They can be found in makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers. They can also be found in food and pharmaceutical products.

Synthetic colors

If you take a look at product labels and notice FD&C or D&C, watch out. These letters mean artificial colors. “F” represents food and “D&C” representing drug and cosmetics. These letters precede a color and number (i.e. D&C Red or FD&C blue 1), and they aren’t good news. These synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. Synthetic colors are suspected to be a human carcinogen and a skin irritant. The European Classification and Labeling system considers them a human carcinogen, and the European Union has banned them.


This particular category is pretty scary. What does “fragrance” mean anyway? Nothing, to tell the truth. The term was created to protect trade secrets. But these secrets mean you could be putting on a concoction that contains chemicals that are hazardous to your health. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and detrimental effects on the reproductive system. They can be found in many products such as perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturizers.


A group of chemicals used in hundreds of products to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics. The most common phthalates in cosmetics and personal care products are dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, diethyl phthalates in perfumes and lotions, and dimethyl phthalate in hair spray. They are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females. Unfortunately, their presence is not disclosed on every product because they’re often added to fragrances–a major legal loophole. They can be found in deodorants, perfumes, colognes, hair sprays and moisturizers.


Tricolson is a widely used antimicrobial chemical that’s a known endocrine disruptor—especially of the thyroid and reproductive hormones—and a skin irritant. Studies raise concerns that triclosan contributes to making bacteria antibiotic-resistant. Tricolson can be found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps and deodorants.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) & Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

This surfactant can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products that foam. SLS’s are known to be skin, lung, and eye irritants. A major concern about SLS is its potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. These combinations can lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage. They can be found in shampoo, body washes and cleansers, cosmetics like mascara and acne treatments.


Formaldehyde is now being used beyond the funeral parlor. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs) preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth. This chemical was deemed as a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) and has been linked to occupational related cancers: nasal and nasopharyngeal. The chemical is known to cause allergic skin reactions and it may also be harmful to the immune system. Formaldehyde can be found in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, and nail polish treatments.


Toluene is a petrochemical derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. You may see it on labels listed as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, and methylbenzene. Toluene is a potent solvent able to dissolve paint and paint thinner. It can affect the respiratory system, cause nausea and irritate skin. Expectant mothers should avoid exposure to toluene vapors as they may cause developmental damage in the fetus. Toluene has also been linked to immune system toxicity. It can be found in nail polish, nail treatments and hair color and bleaching products.

Propylene glycol

Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent. It’s classified as a skin irritant and penetrator. It has been associated with causing dermatitis as well as hives in humans — these sensitization effects can be manifested at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2 percent. It can be found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.

Sunscreen chemicals

These chemicals function as a sunscreen agent in order to absorb ultraviolet light. Potent endocrine disruptors, these chemicals are believed to be easily absorbed into the body. They may also cause cellular damage and cancer. Common names for these chemicals are benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate. They can be found in most sunscreen products.

It’s impossible to avoid synthetic chemicals altogether, but you can limit the amount of toxins you are exposed to. If you want to avoid toxic chemicals, be sure to eat clean, avoid chemical-laden processed foods, drink plenty of filtered water and look for products that are certified organic.

Educate yourself and conduct research before you buy. You are not powerless. There are plenty of high-quality, organic brands to choose from; even mainstream beauty companies have started removing controversial ingredients from their products. And if you’re looking for a more permanent way to look younger, then consider visiting your local LaserAway. We aim to make your medical spa experience comfortable, enjoyable and satisfying. Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today by emailing or calling the staff at LaserAway at (888) 965-2737.