Ingredients to avoid in your products

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about Tricks to Cook Healthy and On Budget. I mentioned how I cook more and more at home to avoid chemicals. But which chemicals am I referring to? Here are ONLY a couple…

Note: I know water (for example) is technically a “chemical”.

Please read “chemical” in this post as it is colloquially used.


I have tried to switch most of my products to NOT contain as many chemicals as possible (back to the basics I say), but they can be difficult to avoid..

…especially if you just want the product to WORK.

Some natural products just don’t work, and need the help of chemicals.

So here’s a compiled list of the top chemicals to look for in your products, so you can make a more informed decision.

Other aliases: Cocomide, Oleamide, Lauramide
Creates the lather in shampoos or soaps, and when used with other chemicals, it can become a carcinogen.


Carcinogen that can irritate your throat, eyes and nose. Companies use it to keep products on the shelf longer.
Aliases: Methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben; basically anything with “paraben” at the end.
It hasn’t been proven definitively, but has been tentatively linked to breast cancer. You’ll notice parabens in a lot of products — makeup, lotions and any body products.
Carcinogen that is mostly used in hair dyes. I’m pretty thrilled I don’t dye my hair any longer!
Aliases: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
They say that Sodium LAURETH Sulfate is a gentler version of LAURYL Sulfate, but to me, it doesn’t seem like the difference is very significant.
All it does is create foam, but the downside is the residue has been found in the brains, livers and hearts of cancer patients when they were autopsied.
There may not be a definitive link, but think about avoiding this one if you can.
In high doses or in situations with high exposure, it’s been linked to birth defects and miscarriages, and is toxic to your nervous system.It’s found mostly in nail polish and hair dye. Again — very happy I don’t dye my hair, and come to think of it, I don’t wear nail polish any longer either.
This ingredient is used to balance PH in products, and can cause allergic reactions, and irritate your eyes, nose and skin.Your skin (the largest organ of your body) absorbs and stores this, building it up over time to a toxic level.
I remember being recommended this product by my dermatologist to get rid of a really dark spot on my face.Luckily, I was too lazy to continue putting it on, and let its usage trail off.In Asia, very pale white skin is prized, and many women use this chemical to bleach their skins to make it whiter, or in my case, to get rid of a dark spot.
Most commonly used in deodorants to plug up your pores and to not allow you to sweat.While it is an effective ingredient for deodorants, it absorbs into your body, and not sweating the way your body wants you to, is not that great.

My philosophy is to try not to block Mother Nature at every turn.

This was originally posted over at The Everyday Minimalist.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.