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12 Top Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care Products

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bottles of personal care products

3-(4-methylbenzylidene)-camphor (4-MBC), octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC), octyl-dimethyl-PABA (OD-PABA), bexophenome-3 (Bp-3), homosalate (HMS)

What It Is: Sunscreen chemicals
Health Risks: Estrogenic activity; enhances the potential for pesticides to penetrate the skin
Found In: Sunscreens

Polyethylene glycol (PEG, PPG, Cocoate), propylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene mineral oil
What It Is: Petroleum byproducts
Health Risks: Carcinogen; liver and kidney effects
Found In: Lotions

What It Is: Derivative of petroleum
Health Risks: Endocrine disrupter; carcinogen
Found In: Lotions

Lead acetate, thimerosal, mercurius solubilis, mercurius sublimates, mercurius corrosives, mercuric chloride
What It Is: Lead and mercury
Health Risks: Found in higher levels in women with breast cancer; neurotoxin
Found In: Hair color, wound treatments, artificial tears

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Read more: Beauty, Health, Holistic Beauty

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Jessica Kellner

Jessica Kellner is the editor of Natural Home & Garden magazine, a national sustainable home and lifestyle magazine. She is dedicated to helping readers create more sustainable, delightful homes that are in tune with the natural world. She is also the author of Housing Reclaimed: Sustainable Homes for Next to Nothing, published by New Society Publishers in autumn of 2011. Email her at


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8:41AM PST on Jan 19, 2014

Wonderful concise info. Thank you for simplifying.

10:35AM PST on Nov 9, 2013

lots of labels say organic, gluten free, enriched, low fat. read the ingredients

8:45PM PDT on Oct 19, 2013

i try to stick to all natural ingredients

1:26PM PST on Nov 22, 2012

I am so glad to say that I only use olive oil as a beauty product!!
Thanks for posting, re-shared

11:35AM PDT on Oct 19, 2012

Thanks! It is difficult to avoid them all though

7:05AM PST on Feb 23, 2012

That's the reason I switched to natural (organic) skin care products some years ago. No more chemicals on my body! The amounts may be very little in some cases but still. And yes, even though I buy natural skin care products, I still look at the ingredients list.

12:14PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Thank you! I don't wear make-up...unless it's special event for few soon as I get home, I always remove make-up!

5:15AM PST on Jan 24, 2012

Good heavens. Who knew? Thanks for the information.

3:15AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

And these chemicals have been in the products for sometime now. We should go for organic beauty products.

9:14PM PST on Jan 19, 2012

Thank you for that info. It's a shame companies continue to make products with carcinogens and even worse that we keep using them. Try the health shops, at least you have half a chance of buying something that won't kill you and isn't tested on animals.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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All tomatoes are great! Thank you

What a heartwarming kind loving thing to do;much love shown

Some sound good and can be prepared ahead of time so you can grab and go.

Thanks so much.

Everything causes cancer. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

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