Top Unwanted Ingredients

We know how overwhelming it can be to educate oneself concerning the ingredients to watch out for. We have been working on it for years, and we know that the more educated we becomes, the easier it gets. We think that the less of these ingredients we put on ourselves, the healthier we become. Choose to closely read labels (marketing can be tricky) and remember—don't settle for synthetic-natural or green-washed products.

Print this list and take it with you when your shopping, and we encourage you to check on the products you currently use to see if any of these ingredients show up on those labels. We hope this information serves you in your quest for the best natural products!

1. Fragrance/Parfum/Fragrance Oils: 

Often contains pthalates (THAY- lates) Synthetic chemicals commonly used to stabilize fragrance and make plastic more pliable. These are endocrine disruptors that mimic hormones and alter reproductive development. These can cause headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions. This ingredient will usually contain more than 200 synthetic chemicals in itself. Always look for labels that states that the fragrance is derived from pure essential oils.

2. Parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-)
Highly toxic synthetic preservative with estrogenic properties with links to breast cancer and tumors. This can also be an allergenic and toxic which have been linked to asthma and eczema. Additionally, look for phenoxyethanol (ethylene glycol) a preservative taking the place of so called "paraben free" products that has been known to depress the central nervous system.

3. PVP/copolymer
Sodium polyacrylate and carbomer. Comes from petroleum and is a plastic used in hairsprays, gels, toothpaste, and many more. They are highly processed creating toxic by products and tiny plastic particles that can be breathed in and also enter our water eco systems.

4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Laureth Sulfate(SLS)
A petroleum derived detergent closely related to engine degreaser and car wash soap and made to give you lots of bubbles. Another left over chemical from the war that was decided to be used as a cheap and plentiful ingredient. Used in many products from shampoo to toothpaste. SLS can be damaging to the immune system and can alter skin structure when SLS is combined with other chemicals and transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens which cause the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels. SLS has also been linked to hair loss or thinning in people due to the damage it creates to the hair follicle.

5. Silicones and 'Cones (Dimethicone, cyclomethicone, cyclo-pentasiloxane) 
Do Not confuse with silicon or silica which is a sand.
Silicones are used in many cosmetics and coat the hair and skin to give you that smooth, silky shine. These have an adverse effect on our environment and our bodies.

6. "PEG" and "ETH"
Any ingredient that begins with "PEG" or ends with "ETH" or contains "ETH" in the middle-such as polyethylene glycol or sodium laureth sulfate-is a ingredient to avoid. A carcinogen is created when ingredients are processed with petroleum derived ethylene oxide. Pass on any products with myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth or any "ETH" within the ingredient list.

Abbreviation for diethanolamine, triethenolamine, momoethanolamine. Also look for cocamide DEA/ Lauramide DEA these are hormone disrupting chemicals among the most potent cancer causing agents and can cause severe contact dermatitis. considered a formaldehyde donor.

8. Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea & DMDM Hydantoin
Among the most commonly used preservatives after parabens. They release formaldehyde gas (formaldehyde donor) and can have serious side effects such as weakeing immune system, respiratory distress, chronic fatigue, dizziness.

9. Propylene Glycol
This is used as a humectant (moisture retainer) surfactant (spreading agent) and solvent. Widely used as anti-freeze and hydraulic brake fluid. It is used in industry to break down protein and cellular structure, yet is found in most forms of personal care products. Due to that ability the skin is weakened, thus allowing other chemicals to penetrate further.

10. Stearalkonium Chloride
This chloride chemical used in hair conditioners and creams, and is the key ingredient in dryer sheets. Developed by the fabric industry as a cheap and easy way to produce a softening effect. Very toxic!
11. Oxybenzone, Benzophenone -3,4
Sunscreen agent associated with photo-allergenic reactions and is a probable carcinogenic and endocrine disruptor. enhances skin absorption and bioaccumulates to dangerous levels; biochemical cellular changes. Developmental, reproductive toxicity.

12. Nano Particles
A new technology with potentially hazardous results. Tiny nano particles penetrate the skin and cause cell damage. These particles also get into our environment and eco-system.

A great resource for this data and information is* along with

 * Some have found the EWG's cosmetic safety database rating system to be a bit confusing. Below is an excerpt from the Pangea Organics website FAQ on EWG's rating system that may clear some of the issues up:

Just a note about Environmental Working Groups cosmetic safety database website. EWG is an important and informative website for us all. They do the best they can to give consumers information on many products available and to educate consumers seeking to find the safest products possible and we applaud there work. In the cosmetics safety data base you will find many company products and there ingredients have been evaluated. There are a few factors that have given consumers some confusing presentation of this safety substantiated data.

1. The data Gap: You will find after each ingredient there is a circle with a percentage shown. This is the data gap. This data shows that there is X amount of data unknown about said ingredient to substantiate safety. If the data gap is 81%, that means that only 19% of the research actually exists to give the ingredient a safety rating.

2. The individual ingredient rating shows only the conventional form of the raw ingredient and does not take into consideration the myriad of sources (and quality levels) an ingredient may come from, such as, organic versus conventional. Many times, potential pesticide residue will raise the individual ingredient's rating. So if a company uses mostly organic ingredients, this single conventional rating shows that some companies organic ingredients may contain pesticides, herbicide or fungicide residue that is not actually present. EWG is seeking to fix these inconsistencies within their own rating system

3. Some essential oils are not meant to be applied "neat", or without dilution. Some essential oils (EO's) and botanical extracts may receive higher rating due to there natural potency.
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