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The 10 Most Toxic Ingredients Hiding In Your Skincare

We all want to be as healthy as possible, and we hear endlessly that we should ditch the preservatives and eat clean, whole foods.  Everyone always seems keen to caution us about what we put in our bodies.

But did you know that what you put on your body can be even more harmful?

Toxins absorbed through the skin can be more dangerous than the ones that we ingest.


Toxins absorbed through the skin can be more dangerous to us because many of them can travel without passing through the body’s natural lines of defense, like the liver.

Mainstream skincare products are laden with toxic ingredients that actually damage our organs and affect our internal health.  

So, you can still be absorbing harmful chemicals and toxins even if you eat clean?


Your skin can have a huge impact on your health, and that’s exactly why skin care guru Trina Felber created her Paleo skincare line, Primal Life Organics. Her skincare uses only clean, safe, and natural Paleo ingredients to keep skin nourished and healthy.

And lucky for us, she’s shared The 10 Most Toxic Ingredients Hiding in Your Skincare.  Some of them might come as a surprise!

1. Water

Wait, what?  You’re probably thinking, “but water’s good for you!”  Yes, we’re right there with you.

We’re not talking about drinking water, so, by all means, get your hydration on!  

Many skincare products contain large amounts of water.  If water is listed as the first ingredient, it can comprise up to 95% of the whole product.  Non-purified water is just tap water which is contaminated and contains heavy metals.  

Why it’s harmful: That water can’t be absorbed because it evaporates, but those toxins in the water can be.  When the water evaporates, it pulls moisture from skin and strips oils, dehydrating your skin.  And dehydrated skin only enhances wrinkles and skin imperfections.  Plus, most skincare products containing water also must use harmful emulsifiers to mix the product.

Note: Want to know even more about why water is bad for your skin & how to replace it?  Check out Trina’s blog!

2. Parabens

You’re probably a little more familiar with these.  Parabens are used as preservatives in shampoos, moisturizers, conditioner, makeup, and many other skin and personal care products.  

Why they’re harmful: Parabens are endocrine disruptors which means that they can disrupt the hormone system and manipulate the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism.  Parabens have also been linked to infertility, breast cancer, skin aging, and damage to DNA.

3. Propylene Glycol

This is an ingredient found commonly in mainstream skincare that is used as a preservative and stabilizer.  It’s found commonly in moisturizers and is a recognized skin irritant.

Why it’s harmful:  Propylene glycol is a known skin allergen and has links to cancer.  It has also been linked to neurotoxicity, and because it is a skin irritant, it can even cause skin rashes.

4. Benzoyl Peroxide

Chances are if you’ve ever used a commercial acne product, you’ve come into contact with benzoyl peroxide.  It’s an incredibly common ingredient in acne products from face washes to moisturizers, and even spot treatments.

Why it’s harmful: No one wants acne, but the thing is benzoyl peroxide is actually a harsh chemical that can cause skin irritation and make acne worse.  Benzoyl peroxide is actually toxic when inhaled and can exacerbate skin conditions like acne and eczema.  

5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate is used in lots of skincare ingredients like cleansers and lotions.  It’s also found in shampoo, toothpaste, and soaps.  It’s even used in detergents.  It is a chemical used to remove oils and acts as a foaming agent.

Why it’s harmful: Because it is used to remove oils, sodium lauryl sulfate can strip skin and hair of vital oils.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  It can irritate our skin, cause imbalances with our hormones, and irritate our mouths by causing sores.  Plus, any ingredient that is also used in detergents and household cleaning products is way too harsh for our skin.

6. Phthalates

Phthalates are commonly found listed as an ingredient under “fragrance.”  That includes fragrances in skin care products like lotion and deodorant but is also present in products like nail polish and hair spray. It’s used to promote plasticity.

Why they’re harmful: Not only are phthalates endocrine disruptors, but they’ve also been banned by the European Union!  They’re linked to cancer, organ damage, developmental issues, and infertility.  They are also known to affect metabolism and the immune system.

7. Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is often found in skin creams and cosmetics.  They’re used as moisturizers and to prevent loss of water from the skin.  They are also used as skin “smoothers.”
Sounds great, right?  Well…if only that were true.

Why it’s harmful: Mineral oil is actually a byproduct of petroleum.  Petroleum is known to suffocate pores, preventing moisture from sinking into the skin.  Mineral oil can’t be absorbed by the skin, and so it just sits on top of it and can even clog your pores.  It has a “barrier effect” on skin which can actually contribute to water loss and damage our skin.

8. Talc

Talc is found in a lot of commercial cosmetics, particularly in powders.  It is used as a filler and as an oil absorbent.  

Why it’s harmful: Talc is a carcinogen that can contribute to, or even cause, ovarian cancer.  It’s possible that this is because talc can be cross contaminated with traces of asbestos.  The risk of contamination and its link to cancer is reason enough to swear it off.

9. Titanium Dioxide

With the emphasis on sun protection, you’d think that anything that protects you from the sun is a-ok, right?  We wish.  Titanium Dioxide is used as a whitener and colorant and is found in many sunscreens and cosmetics containing sunscreen.  It’s also found in tons of mineral makeup products.

Why it’s harmful: The problem with titanium dioxide is that it is processed and “purified” using toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer and disruption of the organs.  They have also been known to cause skin irritation.  It’s basically a naturally derived ingredient that get processed so it’s no longer quite so natural, and certainly isn’t healthy for your skin.

10. Triclosan

Triclosan is a chemical antibacterial agent that is found in cleansers and soaps.  It’s also found in deodorant and toothpaste.  

Fighting germs, how bad can it be?

Why it’s harmful: Triclosan is known to disrupt hormone regulation, alter muscle function, and can imitate estrogen to increase chances of breast cancer.  Plus, when it was first discovered, it was registered as a pesticide. Eek  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The FDA has approved all of these ingredients, despite their harmful effects on our skin and internal health.  

But there’s good news!

Trina has created a line of natural, nourishing, Paleo skincare that uses only clean ingredients to boost your health.

Your skin is your largest organ.  Keep it healthy and happy. Want to learn more about the hidden dangers of commercial skin care and how to replace your toxic products with clean ones?  Check out our mini-class with Trina here. It’s waiting for you in the Ideal Me Vault!

Join the Ideal Me Vault and get access to her full class with tons of tips on clean skin replacements.  Plus, get our Healthy Habits: Skin Addition, Toxic Product Inventory, Clean Product Conversion Plan, and Don’t Break the Chain worksheets & printables to help you start detoxing your skin in the next 30 days!

Detox here!

Find out what surprising ingredients made the list of the 10 most toxic ingredients hiding in your skincare - start detoxing your way to clean healthy skin!

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