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Illustrative image of personal care product with a prohibition symbol over the toxic products
Rodrigo Louvat
I am a Marketing Associate at Tera in charge of digital marketing and content creation, writing blog articles and newsletters. Drop me a line at if you feel like it!

Discover The Dirty Dozen: 12 Toxic Ingredients in Personal Care Products

Today we’re going to do a brief dive into “The Dirty Dozen,” the top 12 harmful ingredients commonly found in personal care products, and their potential health risks.

”Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs everything we put on it. It’s time to demand safer personal care products free from toxic chemicals.” – Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research at Women’s Voices for the Earth

bottles of soap and personal care products stock photo

1.Parabens: These synthetic preservatives are commonly found in shampoos, conditioners, and body lotions. They can mimic estrogen and have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.

2.Phthalates: Often used in fragrances, these chemicals have been linked to developmental and reproductive issues, including birth defects.

3.Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): These foaming agents are commonly used in shampoos and body washes. They can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system and have been linked to organ toxicity.

Product with bad ingredients-OLAY Nighttime rinse off body conditioner

4.Triclosan: Found in antibacterial soaps and toothpaste, triclosan has been linked to hormonal imbalances and antibiotic resistance.

5.Formaldehyde: This preservative is used in nail polish and hair straightening treatments. It’s a known carcinogen and can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

6.Toluene: This chemical is found in nail polish and hair dyes. It can cause neurological damage, reproductive issues, and respiratory problems.

Product with bad ingredients-Banana Boat Ultra Sport sunscreen

7.Propylene Glycol: This chemical is found in antifreeze, but it’s also commonly used in personal care products as a moisturizer. It can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

8.Mineral Oil: This petroleum-based ingredient is often found in lotions and creams. It can clog pores and suffocate the skin, leading to acne and other skin issues.

9.Oxybenzone: This chemical is found in many sunscreens. It’s been linked to hormonal disruptions and skin allergies.improving the app and exposing these harmful chemicals.

Product with bad ingredients-Hempz Hydrating mist

10.Coal Tar: Used in dandruff shampoos and psoriasis treatments, coal tar is a known carcinogen and has been linked to respiratory issues.

11.Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA): These foaming agents are found in many personal care products. They can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and hormonal disruptions.

12.Retinyl Palmitate: This form of vitamin A is found in some sunscreens and anti-aging creams. When exposed to sunlight, it can increase the risk of skin cancer.

Product with bad ingredients-Schwarzkopf Keratin color hair dye

By avoiding these harmful ingredients and choosing non-toxic and eco-friendly products, you can help protect your health and the planet. Don’t forget to use Tera to find products that are free of these ingredients and aligned with your values.

Stay safe and conscious,

The Tera Team and I

Help us empower people to make a positive impact by joining our movement and using our conscious shopping app. Build a community and demand change by subscribing and sharing. Together we can revolutionize everyday shopping and create a brighter future.

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