Cosmetic and Skincare Ingredients That Cause Allergies and to Avoid

In 2020, the beauty industry is now a $532 billion business. It's never been a better time to be a beauty entrepreneur with the help of Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter. However, this is causing brands to aggressively price their products and lower the cost of manufacturing. Cutting prices while trying to keep up with beauty standards has proven that it only hurts the customer. With the increasing cases of skin allergies to cosmetic and skincare products, medical officials have clinically proven current ingredients are damaging your skin in the long run.

The most common ingredients that are linked to skin allergies are

  1. Parabens - Parabens are preservatives used to prevent bacteria and microbes from growing. Parabens are commonly found in our cosmetic and skincare products, shower cleansers and scrubs, and even our food. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, blood, and the digestive system. It is considered dangerous because over time it has been associated with endocrine disruption, skin cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity. There are many different types of parabens, therefore, you should look out for these names - Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, other ingredients ending in the word paraben.

  2. Quaternium-15 - Quaternium-15 is widely known as a skin toxicant and allergen because it is a formaldehyde-releasing preservative. It may be especially dangerous for hairdressers and janitors, who are sometimes exposed to this formaldehyde-releasing chemical at regular doses for long periods of time.

  3. DMDM hydantoin - DMDM hydantoin is known as an antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser preservative. This ingredient and Benzyl Alcohol are both organic compounds which are normally used in 'natural cosmetics.' You can mainly find DMDM hydantoin in shampoos, a majority of skincare products, hair gels, and other beauty products. However, dehydroacetic acid can cause an allergic reaction when your skin is exposed to this substance although it can take multiple days for the symptoms to appear on your face or hands. You may be allergic to this ingredient if you have experienced any redness, swelling, itchiness, and fluid-filled blisters.

  4. Methylchloroisothiazolinone - Methylchloroisothiazolinone is a preservative that is commonly found in liquid beauty and personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, hair color, body wash, lotion, sunscreen, mascara, shaving cream, baby lotion, baby shampoo, hairspray, makeup remover, liquid soaps, and detergents. This ingredient helps prevent bacterial growth in cosmetic products. Methylchloroisothiazolinone has been linked to lung toxicity and allergic reactions. Despite, the European Society of Contact Dermatitis (ESCD), recommending that this ingredient be discontinued from use in leave-on skin products, it is still being used worldwide and in the USA market. Other names for Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) are 2-methyl-4-isothiazoline-3-one, Neolone 950 preservative, MI, OriStar MIT and Microcare MT. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT): 5-Chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one and MCI.

  5. Formaldehyde - Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that assists in the prevention of bacteria and microbes growing in water-based products. This ingredient can be found in a variety of beauty based products, such as baby shampoo, body soap, nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue, and hair gel. Formaldehyde can easily be absorbed through the skin and has been connected to cases of individuals that have cancer and severe allergic skin reactions. This preservative is so toxic that it is also commonly used in constructing building materials, walls, cabinets, and furniture. Unfortunately, this same ingredient is used in liquid baby soaps as well. We highly suggest looking out for other ingredients containing formaldehyde such as - Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal.

  6. Imidazolidinyl urea - Imidazolidinyl urea is a formaldehyde-releasing preservative and an antimicrobial preservative used in cosmetics. This preservative can be found in certain foundations, eye makeup, bronzers, tanning creams, burn remedies and more beauty products. This ingredient is specifically used in beauty products to prevent the products from spoiling, which is commonly caused by yeast, bacteria, or mold. Because it is a formaldehyde releaser, it is known to be one of the most widely used preservatives in the world.

  7. Phthalates - Phthalate is a plasticizer that is used to keep plastic from becoming brittle. Phthalates are commonly found in cosmetics primarily in fragrances, hair spray, and nail polish. This ingredient has been linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer. The use of Phthalates has actually been banned from cosmetic and skincare products in the European Union, however, this ingredient is still widely used in the United States. It causes cancer, endocrine disruption, and developmental and reproductive toxicity. Phthalate is also referred to as DEP, DBP, DEHP, and fragrance.

  8. Triclosan - Triclosan which is commonly referred to as triclocarban (TCC) is an antimicrobial agent that was originally created as a surgical scrub for medical professionals. However, throughout the years it has been incorporated into makeup in order to kill bacteria and fungus and prevent odors. The CDC, also known as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found traces of triclosan in the urine of 75 percent of people tested. This means it is massively produced and is in our everyday self-care and personal hygiene products that we use daily. This ingredient can be found in antibacterial soaps and detergents, lotions, toothpaste and tooth whitening products, antiperspirants/deodorants, and shaving products. As of 2016, triclosan was banned from soap used in health-care settings, however, it is still being produced in personal care products. The use of triclosan can lead to triclosan-resistant bacteria, endocrine disruption, and environmental toxicity (bioaccumulation). 

Unfortunately, some beauty brands are still implementing these ingredients into their products due to the FDA not having 'strict' enough guidelines.

Here are a few of our favorite products that are free from toxins and unhealthy/allergenic ingredients:

The Originated® "Dream" Palette. This palette does NOT contain any known allergens and is free from mineral oils, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfates & gluten. It is also 100% cruelty-free, vegan, pigmented, and waterproof. Some of the proceeds earned from this palette will be donated to a mental health organization.

The Originated® skincare collection was formulated with 'clean beauty' in mind. Skin allergies have also been a concern for us, therefore, finding ingredients that were healthy and beneficial for the overall health of long-lasting collagen filled skin has always been ideal. This collection was made using vita-plex blends of wholesome vitamins.

The triple peptides in Originated® eye serum activate surface renewal to address concerns commonly found in more mature skin. Helping to rebuild protein results in visibly thicker and tighter skin around the eyes. This advanced serum also helps to increase circulation, giving the eye area an illuminating appearance.

Originated® Regenerative Moisturizer contains a new technology that, along with aloe-infused water, helps skin create its own internal water source to continually rehydrate. Our unique Vita-plex™ blend is enriched with Vitamins E, C, and B to create a powerful antioxidant complex. Along with hyaluronic acid, which boosts the skin with hydration, this cream is packed with humectants and polymers to round out our powerful formula that locks in moisture for up to 72 hours.

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