INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

This list is a compilation of ingredients we avoid for various health and performance reasons. We hope you use this list as a resource to examine both the ingredients of products you currently use, as well as those you might consider using in the future.

Tip: Learn the definitions of the terms used by visiting our Vocabulary Words page.


2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3 Diol

A formaldehyde-releasing antimicrobial preservative and known immune system, lung and skin toxicant. Also known as Bronopol.

Benzalkonium Chloride
A biocide used as a preservative, surfactant and antimicrobial agent. It is linked to severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation, and especially dangerous to those with asthma or eczema.

Benzyl Alcohol
A naturally occurring and synthetic alcohol used as a preservative, masking fragrance and solvent. It is linked to allergic contact dermatitis and skin and eye irritation.

Butoxyethanol
An ether alcohol used as a solvent, fragrance and viscosity decreasing agent. It is linked to skin irritation and may cause reproductive toxicity and cancer.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
A petroleum-derived synthetic antioxidant used as a preservative and stabilizer. Like BHT, it is a likely carcinogen and linked to developmental toxicity and endocrine disruption.

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
A toulene-derived preservative and antioxidant linked to cancer, developmental toxicity and endocrine disruption.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine
A surfactant linked to skin irritation and allergic contact dermatitis.

Diazolidinyl Urea
A formaldehyde-releasing antimicrobial preservative linked to cancer, allergic contact dermatitis, headaches, depression, fatigue and immune dysfunction.

Diethanolamine (DEA)
An organic compound used as a surfactant and pH adjuster. It is linked to inhibited fetal brain development, allergies, skin toxicity and hormone disruption.

DMDM Hydantoin
A formaldehyde-releasing antimicrobial preservative linked to cancer, allergic contact dermatitis, headaches, depression, fatigue and immune dysfunction.

Eugenol
A naturally occurring and synthetic chemical fragrance linked to skin irritations including redness, swelling, dryness and scaling.

Formaldehydes
Formaldehydes are chemical impurities released by a number of cosmetic preservatives including Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin and others. It is a known carcinogen linked to additional health concerns such as neurotoxicity, developmental toxicity and asthma.

Fragrances or Parfum
Undisclosed mixtures that may contain any combination of over 3,000 scent chemical ingredients linked to hormone disruption and allergies.

Geraniol
An alcohol-based, naturally occurring masking fragrance. It is a known human immune system toxicant and allergen.

Hydroxycitronellal
A naturally occurring and synthetic chemical fragrance. It is a known human immune system toxicant and allergen.

Imidazolidinyl Urea
A formaldehyde-releasing antimicrobial preservative linked to organ system toxicity and skin and lung irritation. Also known as Germall 115.

Limonene
A naturally occurring scent ingredient and solvent linked to skin, eye and lung irritation.

Linalool
A naturally occurring masking ingredient linked to skin, eye and lung irritation.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI)
One of the most commonly used chemical antibacterial and antifungal preservatives. It is linked to skin irritation and allergies.

Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)
A synthetic biocide and one of the most commonly used preservatives. It is linked to skin irritation and allergies.

Mineral Oils
By-products of petroleum, mineral oils clog pores and are linked to contact dermatitis.

Monoethanolamine (MEA)
An organic chemical compound that acts as a surfactant and pH adjuster. It is linked to inhibited fetal brain development, allergies, skin toxicity and hormone disruption. Also known as Ethanolamine.

Parabens
Hormone-disrupting preservatives and fragrances used to prevent bacteria growth. Parabens are identifiable by prefixes such as methyl-, isobutyl-, proply-, and are a likely cause of breast cancer.

Petrolatum
A petroleum-derived mineral oil that seals both hair and skin preventing moisture penetration, resulting in dryness, breakage and stunted hair growth. It is linked to organ system toxicity, and also known as Petroleum Jelly, Liquid Paraffin and Paraffin Oil.

Phthalates
Synthetic plasticizers used to help skin absorb fragrances and make products malleable. Diethyl Phthalate (DEP), Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate (DEHP) and others, are hormone disruptors that likely cause birth defects.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
A petroleum-based solvent and thickener linked to skin irritation and allergies. PEG is prone to contamination with Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-Dioxane, which are known carcinogens.

Propylene Glycol (PG)
A petroleum-based humectant, solvent and viscosity decreasing agent. Also known as 1,2 Propanediol, it is an active ingredient in antifreeze and linked to skin, eye and lung irritation.

Quaternium-15
A salt-derived formaldehyde-releasing preservative linked to skin and lung irritation, as well as organ system toxicity.

Retinol
A skin conditioning agent also known as Vitamin A. When Retinol is exposed to UV light it may produce toxic free radicals that damage DNA and cause gene mutations, a precursor to cancer.

Retinyl Palmitate
A skin conditioning agent also known as Vitamin A Palmitate. When Retinal Palmitate is exposed to UV light it may damage DNA and speed skin tumor growth.

Salicylic Acid
A naturally occurring and synthetically produced acid used as a masking fragrance, preservative and exfoliant. While it may help eliminate dandruff in the short term, frequent use can cause severe dryness and skin irritation.

Silicones
Although considered to have a low hazard risk, silicones are petrochemicals that clog pores and trap bacteria resulting in buildup, ingrown hairs and skin irritation. The most commonly used silicones include Cetearyl Methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone, Amodimethicone and Stearyl Dimethicone. Other silicones are easily identifiable by suffixes such as -one, -conol and -xane.

Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
A glycerin-derived formaldehyde-releasing preservative linked to skin and lung irritation.

Stearalkonium Chloride
A stearic acid-derived preservative, surfactant and anti-static agent. Originally developed as a fabric softener, it is linked to skin irritation and allergies.

Sulfates
Sulfates are a type of surfactant linked to skin irritation and allergies. The most common types of sulfates are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), which is prone to contamination with 1,4-Dioxane, a known carcinogen.

Triclosan
An antibacterial pesticide and preservative linked to contact dermatitis and an increase in allergic reactions, especially in children.

Triethanolamine (TEA)
A petroleum-derived alcohol used as a surfactant and pH adjuster. It is linked to fetal brain development, allergies, skin toxicity and hormone disruption.