5 Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics You Didn't Know About

Clean beauty is generating a lot of buzz lately – and for good reason! After all, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains little to no oversight on much of the beauty industry.


Where Europe has banned over 1300 chemicals from cosmetics, the United States has only banned 11. That doesn’t leave room for the consumer to feel much trust when reaching towards a big-name cosmetic product on the shelf of their local drugstore. 


If you’re just starting to purge out harmful chemicals from your home, it can be hard to know where to start. But the best way to move forward is to continually arm yourself with new knowledge. Start off by learning more about the following 5 harmful chemicals in cosmetics you might not know about.


1. Chemical Fragrance 

I know, I know. We love it when our products leave us smelling like vanilla and roses. But the truth is, synthetic fragrances can wreak havoc on your skin.


The compounds in chemical fragrance can have a sensitizing reaction on your skin. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll instantly see the negative effects of this type of ingredient. Skin doesn’t always show physical signs of irritation. Over time, sensitizing ingredients cause a slew of short-term and long-term harm you might not notice for years to come. 


Fragrance may appear on an ingredient list as: 


  • Benzaldehyde
  • Cologne
  • Limonene
  • Linalool
  • Perfume
  • Phenoxyethanol

2. Triclosan

This ingredient can be found in a wide range of cosmetic products, soaps, and even kinds of toothpaste. Triclosan is meant to prevent contamination.


Many manufactures include it in their products due to its antibacterial properties. But there’s growing concern that it could be harmful. Even the FDA concluded that this ingredient is not generally recognized as safe or effective. Research shows, triclosan can lead to bacterial resistance, hormonal changes in humans, and harm to the immune system.  

3. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate 

Also known as SLS and SLES, these ingredients are usually what creates the lathering or sudsing effects of soap. It’s not an integral ingredient in cosmetic products whatsoever.


Manufacturers continue to use it since we’re so accustomed to our cleansers bubbling up. But continuous use of products including SLS and SLES are shown to cause skin irritation.

4. Phthalates

This ingredient is often found in soap, shampoo, hair spray, and nail polish. Some phthalates are used as a plasticizer. In hair spray, it helps provide hold while maintaining flexibility. It helps harden and increase the longevity of nail polish.


Phthalates can also be present as a solvent and fixative in fragrances. But research shows that phthalates can cause issues in neurodevelopment and reproductive developments in growing fetuses and babies. 


Phthalates may appear on an ingredient list as:


  • DBP (dibutyl phthalate)
  • DEP (diethyl phthalate)
  • DEHP (di 2-ethylhexl phthalate)
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate)

5. Mineral Oil

This ingredient is a clear, odorless byproduct of petroleum refinement. It’s commonly found in cleansing balms, lip glosses, SPFs, and eye makeup. As harmless as it may sound, mineral oil can carry harmful impurities.


This ingredient can also be detrimental to the environment. Studies show that mineral oil has a low biodegradability rate which can spell trouble for fragile ecosystems. 

Make the Switch to Cleaner Cosmetics

Tend to your skin with products you know you can trust. Dr. Field’s Sacred Skin is the plant-based skincare line you’ve been searching for. Our products are scientifically proven to be better for you and the environment. Dr. Fields is free of synthetic chemicals, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, EDTA, urea, artificial colors, fragrances, and more. 


Browse our collection! We offer products for all your skincare needs – from acne protocol to healthy aging. Your skin and the internal organs it protects are precious. Choose a product that is crafted to protect and nourish it!