Beauty Cosmedica Singapore - - Contents -

Top 5 most com­mon toxic in­gre­di­ents found in cos­met­ics


Found in most wa­ter-based cos­met­ics, de­odor­ants, hair dyes, shav­ing cream, and face masks, is imi­da­zo­lidinyl urea in con­cen­tra­tions of 0.1-5%. This highly wa­ter-sol­u­ble chem­i­cal re­mains on the skin for hours af­ter be­ing ap­plied and has suf­fi­cient time to be thor­oughly ab­sorbed by the der­mal cells. It serves as a preser­va­tive in con­junc­tion with parabens and re­leases formalde­hyde. It is a known al­ler­gen and tox­i­cant in hu­mans. Also, the chem­i­cal may be de­rived from an­i­mals and could be a car­cino­gen. Other formalde­hyde re­leas­ing chem­i­cals to look out for are DMDM hy­dan­toin, di­a­zo­lidinyl urea, methenamine, and quar­ternium-15.


As afore­men­tioned, parabens are of­ten used with imi­da­zo­lidinyl urea, so they are of­ten found in sim­i­lar prod­ucts. The FDA states that parabens can be found in, “makeup, mois­tur­iz­ers, hair care prod­ucts, and shav­ing prod­ucts.” Parabens act as an anti-mi­cro­bial pre­serv­ing agent in prod­ucts. Mul­ti­ple parabens are of­ten used in a sin­gle prod­uct: the most com­mon are methyl­paraben, propy­l­paraben, and butyl­paraben. These chem­i­cals are high­light­ing a grow­ing con­cern be­cause they are found in can­cer pa­tients, but they are also found in urine sam­ples of U.S. adults with­out can­cer.


Ac­cord­ing to the FDA, the fol­low­ing ph­tha­lates are most fre­quently used in cos­met­ics: dibutylph­tha­late (DBP), dimethylph­tha­late (DMP), and di­ethylph­tha­late (DEP). Ph­tha­lates are used to make plas­tic or vinyl soft and flex­i­ble. It may be shock­ing to note that the same ph­tha­lates that are used in your cos­met­ics are used in plas­tic wrap, wood fur­nish­ing, lu­bri­cants, in­sec­ti­cides, and de­ter­gents. Ad­di­tion­ally, they are thought to be en­docrine dis­rupters, and an­i­mal tests have con­cluded that ph­tha­lates neg­a­tively af­fect hor­mones and con­trib­ute to an early on­set of pu­berty.


Tri­ethanolamine (TEA) is a base that changes the pH of the prod­ucts it is in. An­i­mal tests have shown that this chem­i­cal is highly ab­sorp­tive in na­ture and can ir­ri­tate the eyes, skin, and res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem. Longterm ex­po­sure to TEA has caused asthma and al­ler­gic re­ac­tions. As de­ter­mined by the Cos­metic In­gre­di­ent Re­view Assess­ments, it qual­i­fies as a clear skin tox­i­cant, and is only rea­son­ably safe in cos­met­ics when re­stricted.


Func­tion­ing as a binder or fixer in cos­met­ics (mostly hair, nail, and skin care prod­ucts), PVP/ VA copoly­mer is a syn­thetic vinyl poly­mer. The copoly­mer can hin­der op­ti­mal res­pi­ra­tion in sen­si­tive in­di­vid­u­als, and is some­times con­sid­ered a toxic sub­stance. Ad­di­tion­ally, the chem­i­cal has been found to be a skin ir­ri­tant.

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