“The Toxic 12″ Beauty Ingredients

Beauty queen-turned-activist Susan Jeske wants you to know the ugly truth about what your beauty routine is doing to your health.

Breast cancer, heart disease, heart disease, birth defects, memory loss, depression–these are just a few of the conditions that have been linked to “The Toxic 12,” a list of the worst toxic and carcinogenic ingredients commonly found in skin care products and cosmetics.

The former Ms. America worked more than 20 years in the beauty, cosmetic and personal care products industry, but several years ago severe health issues led her to a holistic doctor who urged her to stop using the synthetic and toxic chemicals on her skin that were making her sick.

After her health issues went away after just two weeks of using natural and organic products instead, she started studying everything about cosmetics and skin care. What she found disturbed her and she is on a mission to educate the public about the dangers.

Here is her list:

Benzoyl Peroxide: Frequently used in acne products, the MSDS states: “Facilitates action of known carcinogens. … Possible tumor promoter. May act as mutagen; produces DNA damage in human and other mammalian cells in some concentrations. Also, toxic by inhalation. May be harmful if swallowed and in contact with skin. Eye, skin and respiratory irritant.”

DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), & TEA (Triethanolamine): This foam booster is a skin/eye irritant and causes contact dermatitis. Easily absorbed through skin to accumulate in body organs, even the brain. Repeated use resulted in major increases of liver and kidney cancer.

Dioxin: Won’t appear on an ingredient list. Often contained in antibacterial ingredients like triclosan, emulsifiers, PEGs and ethoxylated cleansers like Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Dioxin causes cancer, reduced immunity, nervous system disorders, miscarriages and birth deformity. It’s a hormone-disrupting chemical with toxic effects measured in the parts per trillion–one drop in 300 Olympic-size swimming pools! Our bodies have no defense against its damage. Most visible example was Yushchenko, the Ukrainian President, who suffered from dioxin poisoning and looked old overnight.

DMDM Hydantoin & Urea (Imidazolidinyl): Just two of many preservatives that often release formaldehyde which may cause joint pain, cancer, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, and loss of sleep. Exposure may irritate the respiratory system, trigger heart palpitations or asthma, aggravate coughs and colds.

FD&C Color & Pigments: Synthetic colors from coal tar contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins in skin, causing skin sensitivity / irritation. Absorption can cause depletion of oxygen and death. Animal studies show almost all are carcinogenic.

Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl): Used as preservatives and aren’t always labeled “parabens.” They’re used in deodorants and antiperspirants and have been found in breast cancer tumors. Parabens, as xenoestrogens (hormone disruptors), may contribute to sterility in male mice and humans. Estrogen-like activity causes hormone imbalance in females and early puberty.

PEG (Polyethylene glycol): Made by ethoxylating Propylene Glycol. Dangerous levels of dioxin have been found as a by-product of the ethoxylation process. PEGs are in everything including personal care, baby care and sunscreens.

Phthalates: Xenoestrogens are commonly found in many products, usually not listed on labels. Health effects include damage to liver/kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in girls and boys.

Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol: Petroleum plastics act as surfactants (wetting agents, solvents). EPA considers PG so toxic it requires protective gloves, clothing, goggles and disposal by burying. Because PG penetrates skin so quickly, EPA warns against skin contact to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. There is NO warning label on products where concentration is greater than in most industrial applications.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Detergents and surfactants that pose serious health threats. Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and 90 percent of personal-care products that foam. Animals exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation–even death. SLS may also damage skin’s immune system by causing layers to separate, inflame and age.

Sunscreen chemicals: Avobenzone, benzphenone, ethoxycinnamate, PABA are commonly used ingredients that are known free radical generators and are believed to damage DNA or lead to cancers.

Triclosan: Synthetic “antibacterial” ingredient with chemical structure similar to Agent Orange! EPA registers it as a pesticide, posing risks to human health and environment. Classified as a chlorophenol, chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. Tufts University School of Medicine says triclosan is capable of forcing emergence of ‘super bugs’ it cannot kill.

65 comments

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Johnso R.
Johnso R.9 months ago

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Catherine A.9 months ago

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Joanne Werick
Joanne Werick10 months ago

People keep sending me reactions to a remark I supposedly made about this article but I have no memory of making any remark about it! I have no doubt that these chemicals can harm people and I can't imagine that I ever thought anything else. So could people stop writing to me about something I didn't comment on? I would be so grateful. This is some sort of mix-up, I guess. Joanne Werick

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Cassandra C.11 months ago

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Past Member 1 years ago

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Jody C.
Jody Chase3 years ago

Studies on SLS have shown that:” (Judi Vance, Beauty To Die For, Promotion Publishing, 1998)
1. “Shampoos with SLS could retard healing and keep children’s eyes from developing properly. Children under six years old are especially vulnerable to improper eye development. (Summary of Report of Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc. conference.”
2. “Sodium Lauryl Sulphate can cause cataracts in adults and delays the healing of wounds in the surface of the cornea.”
3. “Sodium Lauryl Sulphate has a low molecular weight and so is easily absorbed by the body. It builds up in the heart, liver and brain and can cause major problems in these areas.”
4. “Sodium Lauryl Sulphate causes skin to flake and to separate and causes roughness on the skin.”
5. “Sodium Lauryl Sulphate causes dysfunction of the biological systems of the skin.”
6. “Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is such a caustic cleanser that it actually corrodes the hair follicle and impairs the ability to grow hair.”
7. “Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is routinely used in clinical studies deliberately to irritate the skin so that the effects of other substances can be tested.” (Study cited by the Wall St Journal, 1st November 1998).

I really wouldn't be relying on "snopes" for something as critical as health information.

Maxine J.
Maxine J.3 years ago

I'm sure this information is not intended to be given with malice, however, please note much of it is mis-leading, causing the reader to form a very wrong conclusion.

I'm a chemist, I know the facts

Annamarie Molloy
Annamarie Molloy4 years ago

SLS has been the subject of a mud-slinging campaign which was spread through the internet and alternative health outlets. It was very difficult to trace its source but it was finally tracked back to a manufacturer of a rival surfactant which shamelessly exploited people's good intentions to sell more of its stuff. Not saying this lady has anything to do with it but there a lot of people trying to make a buck on this site by offering an alternative...hmm...