7 Dangerous Ingredients to Avoid in Body Care Products

Our body care products can be dangerous… very dangerous. While it would seem to make sense that if a product is being sold and accepted for general use then it would be safe; that, unfortunately, is not the case with most if the products we are using on our skin and hair.

The body-care product industry is relatively unregulated. While this can be a very good thing in some ways, we have to do our research and be aware of what is going into these products. Just because it works, and just because the company can sell it, does not mean that it is safe.

Let’s talk about a few of the most dangerous and common ingredients that we need to be aware of; then we’ll go over some practical tips on how to avoid these ingredients!

7 Dangerous Ingredients in Body Care Products


1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This dangerous ingredient is pretty much ubiquitous. It is found in soaps, shampoos, body wash, and oral care products (it gives the product that bubbly, sudsy consistency that makes it feel like it’s cleaning well!). Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surficant, which is why it is so good at producing a lather and removing dirt and grease. It can cause skin irritation and is also considered a carcinogen.

2. Formaldehyde

Another dangerous chemical that is commonly found in nail polishes and hair colors, formaldehyde is a gas that can cause skin irritations, nausea, and nasal issues when exposed to large doses in the short term; and more serious health conditions in the long term (possible carcinogen).

3. Mercury

Mercury is a metal that can cause serious brain impairment. It can be found in mascara, which is a scary thought for those of us who like to apply mascara every day!

4. Fragrance


Watch out for this one! Fragrances are everywhere - perfume and cologne, candles, shampoos, soaps, lotions - pretty much anything that has a strong smell has fragrances. There are a lot of dangerous chemicals in fragrances, but a big one to be aware of is phthalates. These are known endocrine disruptors (which means they can throw your hormones out of whack).

5. Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is often found in baby care products, but it is also commonly present in other body care products as well. It puts a coating on the skin, which makes it difficult to release toxins the way way our skin needs to.

6. Parabens

Parabens are linked to cancer and reproductive problems. They are preservatives; hence, they are very, very common.

7. Hutylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

BHA is a probable carcinogen and has, in animal studies, been found to cause liver damage, thyroid problems, and reproductive system compromise. It is commonly found in fragrances and exfoliants.

Are These All?

It can be tempting to read a list like this and either feel complete overwhelm, or else to tell ourselves we will just avoid these ingredients, and we’ll be fine.


While I chose these seven because they are very common and very dangerous, keep in mind that there are far, far more chemicals and other dangerous additives in our body care products; and all of them should be avoided whenever possible!

One of the biggest issues with these dangerous ingredients is that our skin absorbs much of what we put on it. So even if we are only using these dangerous body care products on our skin and hair, they are still getting inside!

Plus, we have to keep in mind that we are inhaling the fragrances as well.

So, it is vital to read labels and do your research! If you don’t know for sure that a certain ingredient is safe, then it is better to not use it. Most of those crazy-sounding, hard-to-pronounce names on the ingredients lists are bad. It’s a pretty safe rule to follow: if you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it!

Ways To Avoid Dangerous Ingredients in Body Care Products

Thankfully, even though it can certainly feel discouraging when we try to stay away from these ingredients, all is not lost!

1. Buy From Reputable Companies

With the rising awareness of the dangers of toxins has come a rising tide of companies that manufacture safer body care products.

Again, do your research! Find out which companies do not use dangerous ingredients. It’s not enough for it to be “all-natural” or “organic”. Formaldehyde is “natural” and “organic” but still not safe to put on our bodies!

And even when buying from companies you trust, still do your diligence and read the labels. You never know when something suspicious might get thrown into the mix!

2. Make Your Own

This is the best solution as far as safety goes, but most people just don’t have the time to make their own body care products! But if you do, there are recipes and tutorials and guides all over the internet! With a little work, you should be able to find the ones that fit your needs and actually work for you (because sadly, many of them simply don’t get the job done like the chemical products do!)

It took me a while before I finally found a safe deodorant that actually works for me; but once I did, I found the recipe and started making it myself. You can do the same: try different products with safe ingredients, and once you like what you have, try making it yourself to save money!

3. Use Essential Oils

There are multitudes of awesome essential oils and oil blends out there! Do a little research and learn how you can use the oils for shiny hair, clean teeth, and as non-toxic fragrances. You can make your own candles and add essential oils; diffuse the oils to add a nice smell to your home; and use oils for medicinal purposes as well - even wart removal!

Read this article for some more tips on the amazing uses of essential oils!

Some of My Favorite Safe Body Care Products

As I mentioned earlier, I make my own deodorant; I also make my own toothpaste and cleaning products (check out this post for some more tips on how to clean your house without toxins - also I will be writing more in-depth on the subject soon!).

But, as of right now, I am not making shampoo or soap or conditioner (although I hope to start soon!). (Also, read this post for a few more natural beauty tips!)

Here are a few products that I like:

I use this shampoo because it has safe ingredients but still lathers up nicely and gets my hair clean: https://amzn.to/2Fh1mC5

This is the conditioner that goes with it: https://amzn.to/2Xi9QTD

For you ladies, these menstrual pads are a great option because they are made with organic cotton and are plastic, chlorine, and perfume free: https://amzn.to/2IGIzkB (they have several different options)

Note: This article contains affiliate links. I may receive monetary benefit from purchases connected with these links.