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Top 5 Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare

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by Angela Gallardo in Articles
The top 5 ingredients to avoid in skincare. Plus my favorite tried-and-true natural brands to switch to!

Switching to natural skincare can be really overwhelming.

There are so many unfamiliar ingredients, with names that can barely be pronounced (including some of the more naturally-derived ingredients!).  Personally, I turned a blind eye to it for quite some time.  Spending the time to learn about it, just to learn I’d have give up my favorite products?  Not that fun.

But rampant hormone dysfunction in my body (as a by-product of long-running SAD diet and consequent infection contracted overseas) led me to figuring out what I could do other than just fixing my diet.  My experience has been that often times, a good diet alone is not sufficient to reclaim your health.  Of course, it depends on your own particular experience and ailments but regardless, I feel that everyone can benefit from cutting back on the chemical exposure in their lives.

See my 10 favorite skincare brands

One of the most important places to focus on chemical exposure is in regards to the skin.  Chemical use in skincare is *not* heavily regulated in the US and therefore, most people (women, in particular) are putting dozens of chemicals on — and therefore, IN — their bodies on a daily basis.  Many of these chemicals will get into the bloodstream within minutes of use and can cause immediate side effects you may not be aware of.


There are many chemicals to watch out for but I’ve decided to focus on 5 of the worst.  While we want what we put onto our bodies to be as natural as possible, avoiding just these 5 will take you a long ways.  These 5 are particularly harmful because they can impact daily proper hormone function.

  1. parabens:  used as a preservative in many, many products, watch for anything containing the word paraben (methylparaben, etc); acts as a xenoestrogen (most are synthetic forms of estrogen) and can lead to infertility and even cancer
  2. phthalates:  used to soften products and most commonly, to give synthetic fragrances their longevity; legally can be labeled as just “fragrance,” or worse, not labeled at all; another xenoestrogen that can cause birth defects, liver damage, and decreased sperm count
  3. sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (not to be confused with sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, which is safe):  acts as a surfactant, or foaming agent, in most soaps and shampoos (somehow also included in many eyeliners!); can cause organ toxicity, reproductive defects, neurotoxicity, biochemical changes and endocrine disruption
  4. DEA/MEA/TEA:  diethanolamine, monoethanolamine & triethanolamine; used as a creamy foam enhancer; absorbs very easily into skin and most commonly causes low-grade inflammation (pain, leaky gut, and other disease) and birth defects
  5. glycols:  propylene (PG) & butylene (BG); petroleum plastics used as solvents (helps dissolve and emulsify ingredients together); can cause skin, liver, and kidney damage

Aside from the few listed that are xenoestrogens (which mimic estrogen activity in the body and will lead to sex hormone imbalance), the others can also impact hormone function due to the toll they take on the liver or kidneys.  Our bodies work very hard to cleanse themselves every day and the tons of chemicals we are exposed to just make it that much harder.  Many people in the US are living with impaired liver or kidney function and are essentially walking around mildly or moderately toxic.

Hormone metabolism is also taken care of via the same elimination (primarily via the liver), which makes having a healthy, less-taxed liver that much more important.  We want our bodies to work properly and therefore, we need our elimination of the baddies to be efficient.  Changing out the toxic skincare products in your home is a great place to start.  Keep reading for some of my recommendations.

So I won’t just tell you basically can’t use anything in your medicine cabinet and then leave you high and dry.  I’ve tried many, many, many different products in the search for my favorites.  Some that are ultra safe/healthy and some that are unfortunately only semi-safe.

Click below to get a list of my favorite natural skincare brands, based on years of personal experience!

See my 10 favorite skincare brands

Head over here: and put your product in the search bar.

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