Skip to content
$7.99 Flat rate shipping I Free shipping on all orders $99+
$7.99 Flat rate shipping I Free shipping on all orders $99+


Alcohol: There are both natural alcohols and synthetic alcohols. Synthetic alcohols, such as isopropyl alcohol, are petroleum compounds; they have a strong odor and are a cheaper raw material. The “SD” alcohols (SD stands for “specially denatured”) are also not natural; these are alcohols with various substances added to them to prevent them from being rebottled and sold as beverages (i.e., SD Alcohol 40). Natural alcohols are made by the fermentation of starch, sugars, grains and various carbohydrates. They are often called “grain alcohol”. Alcohol can dissolve fat, like your skin’s sebum, and strong alcohol solutions can be drying to the skin. This, of course, depends on the type of product and alcohol used. If a product with alcohol must be used, natural alcohols are better tolerated by the skin and are recommended over the cheaper alternatives.

Ammonium Compounds: Many ammonium compounds are used in cosmetics. They are toxic and can cause allergic reactions in many people.

Aluminum: Aluminum compounds such as Aluminum Chlorohydrate or Aluminum Zirconium are commonly used in antiperspirants and deodorants to help prevent perspiration and odor. These compounds are very soluble and are readily absorbed into the body. Once inside, the aluminum portion separates, forming free or radical aluminum. This passes freely across the cell membranes and forms a physical plug, that when dissolved is selectively absorbed by the liver, kidney, brain, cartilage and bone marrow. It is this concentration of aluminum that has been the source of concern in the medical community and has prompted further research to it’s possible link to ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE and BREAST CANCER.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA): A synthetic antioxidant (like BHA) often used to retard rancidity of oils in foods and cosmetics. It can cause serious allergic reactions. Natural antioxidants such as green tea, grapefruit seed extract and Vitamins B,C and E are great natural alternatives.

Cocamide DEA: A mixture of ethanolamines of coconut acid and used as a lather-builder and thickener in shampoos and other cosmetics. Coconut acid is compounded with synthetic chemicals and can cause allergic reactions and drying of the skin, scalp and hair.

D & C Colors: This term refers to “Drug and Cosmetic” colors, which have been approved by the FDA for use in drugs and cosmetics. FD & C colors have been approved for use in Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics. All of these colors are toxic because most contain synthetic coal tar substances and Azo chemicals.

Diethanolamine, Triethanolamine (DEA, TEA): Often used in cosmetics to adjust the pH and combined with fatty acids to convert the fatty acids to a salt (know as stearate), which then becomes a cleanser. DEA and TEA cause allergic reactions, including eye problems and dryness of hair and skin. This could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.

EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid): Synthetic chemical used to soften water and consume metal or mineral ions in solution. It is used as an antioxidant. Also known as disodium or trisodium EDTA and can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

page3image25192 page3image25352

Fragrances: The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are, since the label simply says “fragrance”. Common problems caused by these chemicals are headaches, dizziness, violent coughing, vomiting and skin irritation. Essential oils are recommended as a natural alternative, although whenever available, FRAGRANCE FREE is the best choice.

Glycols: Glycerin combined with alcohol to form a syrupy humectant. When used in makeup it helps the foundation adhere to the skin. Propylene glycol is one very commonly used synthetic glycol. Some others are ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol and carbitol. Most glycols are synthetic, known irritants and can be extremely toxic.

Humectants: Natural or synthetic compounds used to prevent water loss and drying out of the skin or hair. They also provide a smooth feel to cosmetic lotions, shampoos and conditioners. Some are safe, most aren’t. Natural vegetable and plant oils have been used longer and are far superior to the synthetic humectants.

Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea: Commonly used preservatives that are well established as a primary cause of contact dermatitis. These compounds have been known to release formaldehyde at temperatures just over 10 degrees. Considered toxic and should be avoided. Natural preservatives such as Grapefruit seed extract and various tree saps are recommended as natural alternatives.

Methyl, Propyl and Butyl Paraben: Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend the shelf life of cosmetics. They are widely used even though parabens are known to be toxic and have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. They are considered to be “hormone mimicking” and can trigger hormonal imbalances in both men and women. These chemicals also have possible links to breast and ovarian cancer in woman as well as low sperm count and low sex drive in men.

Oleyl Betain: A synthetic surfactant used for it’s anti-static action in shampoos and hair lotions. It causes dandruff, drying of the hair and skin, allergic reactions and could be toxic when absorbed into the body.

PEG (Polyethylene Glycol): A petroleum based softener and binder that is widely used in cosmetics. A known irritant and potentially toxic if too much is absorbed into the body.

Propylene Glycol: A cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid, and industrial antifreeze. In skin and hair care products propylene glycol works as a humectant, to help lock in moisture. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) warn users to avoid skin contact as this strong irritant can cause liver abnormalities and potential kidney damage.

PVP/VA Copolymer: A petroleum-derived chemical or resin used in hairsprays, styling gels and other styling aids to help give shape and holding abilities. It is considered potentially harmful, since particles may contribute to build-up in the lungs of sensitive individuals. Over time, this build-up in the lungs is similar to what you wash out from your hair.

Quaternium: An ammonium salt used in many cosmetics. Causes eye irritation, hair loss, scalp scales similar to dandruff and serious allergic reactions. This could be potentially toxic if too much is absorbed into the body.

Sodium C14 – 16 & Olefin Sulfonate: Used in shampoos and other cosmetics as wetting agents. They are petroleum derived substances and can cause serious allergic reactions.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Synthetic chemicals used in shampoos for their detergent and foam- building abilities. They cause skin irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, dandruff and allergic reactions. They are frequently disguised in pseudo-natural products and refer to as “derived from coconut”.

Stearalkonium Chloride or Benzylalkonium Chloride: A chemical used in hair conditioners and cream. Known to cause serious allergic reactions and is potentially toxic if too much is absorbed into the body.


Disclaimer: The information contained in the “Potentially Harmful Ingredients to Avoid In Hair & Skin Care Products” is set forth in various publications and based upon opinion, observation, and/or research unrelated in any way to CARINA ORGANICS INC, or its agents. No representation is made, herein, as to its accuracy or the method by which it was derived. It should in no way be construed to discredit a particular company or product, but should be used as a reference to enable anyone to use this information in making an informed decision as to products or ingredients they choose to use, or not to use. This information may or may not be relevant for any particular product, and is only intended to provide information, which in our opinion might be valuable when used as such. We make no conclusions or recommendations about other companies or products that use these ingredients.

© Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved