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What Chemicals Are In Your Skincare?


What Chemicals Are In Your Skincare?

Why do we count calories but not chemicals? In a world where we are obsessed with the our outside appearances, it’s worrying that people don’t stop to think about the chemicals they are putting into their bodies.

I decided I wanted to know more, so I dragged my husband along to an educational roadshow being held by a vegan skincare company. What I learnt was truly horrifying.

Did you that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors? Learning this made me think twice about what I smothered on my face every morning. Listed below are the “Dirty Dozen” toxic ingredients found in cosmetics and personal care from the research of the David Suzuki Foundation, a canadian geneticist, educator and environmentalist.

    1. BHT & BHA – Used as a preservative in makeup, harmful to fish and other wildlife, a suspected endocrine disruptor and may cause cancer.
    2. Coal tar dyes – Also look for p-phenylenediamine, found in hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits. Can potentially cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals which is toxic to the brain.
    3. DEA-related ingredients – If your product foams, it’s mostly likely because of this chemical. Commonly found in moisturizers and shampoo’s and reacts to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
    4. Dibutyl phthalate – Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
    5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives – Look out for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a lots of cosmetics. Slowly releases small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
    6. Parabens – A preservative used in a variety of cosmetics. A Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
    7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance) – Can even appear in products marked as unscented. Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.
    8. PEG compounds – Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
    9. Petrolatum – Makes hair products have shine and used as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturisers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
    10. Siloxanes – Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
    11. Sodium laureth sulfate – Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
    12. Triclosan – Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

Two separate studies carried out in 2004 and 2008 by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered that the umbilical cord blood taken from 10 newborn babies contained over 200 environmental toxins — that’s before you’ve given birth and even held your newborn. It proves that what you put in your body, ends up in your babies. Isn’t that horrifying?!

When I returned home, I checked my products. My toothpaste had coal dye tar, my handwash in my bathrooms had DEA, my moisturiser had PEG compounds and my deodorant had Triclosan. These were only a few items I checked. I urge you to check your products. It’s alarming.

Now you know what toxic chemicals are in products, do you want to continue using them? I knew I didn’t. I binned anything which could cause me further harm. Instead of eliminating my bubble bath, my hand wash or my deodorant – luxury items I still wanted in my life, I decided to replace them with natural versions, made by the same company that educated me that day, Tropic Skincare. Set up my Susan Ma, which you may remember on the 2010 series of The Apprentice. An ambitious lady indeed, being the only person Sir Alan Sugar has invested in, despite not being a winner on the show.

There are numerous reasons why I choose this skincare company.

  • Tropic Skincare have a pure ethos meaning they don’t believe in testing on animals or causing them any distress. You’ll never find lanolin, beeswax or honey in their ingredients – they only use the  purest naturally derived ingredients and are always free from harmful toxic chemicals – great for sensitive skin too!
  • No preservatives are used. This means their products won’t last years and years, – which is a good thing! Using natural ingredients such as plants means, like food it goes off – so dated clearly on all their products is a reasonable use by date, this ensures that your using only the freshest ingredients on your skin. Were you aware that when you buy products in shops they could already be a few years old? Me neither.
  • Their ingredients are listed in plain english. For the first time in my life, I actually know what I am putting on my skin everyday!

These are my everyday staples that I use from Tropic Skincare. I plan to buy more as they have recently released some brand new products!


From left to right – Face Smooth Brightening Polish, Vitamin Toner Pore Refining Mist, Night Repair Cell Renewal Cream Concentrate, Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum, and the Smoothing Cleanser Complexion Purifier.

Check out their website here!

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