by Allison Marks

by Allison Marks

The Healthy Beauty & Skincare Ingredient Guide

This post contains important information and I’m so happy you found your way to it. Clean ingredients in personal care products have been important to me from the moment I began my studies in skincare. My training extended beyond the traditional state board “beauty” school and centered around the ancient study of Ayurveda. I am so fortunate to have background as it has led me to understand the importance of healthy ingredients. Clean ingredients are essential but so are results. I have searched high and low to find the best of both.

Here is my guide to ingredients that can potentially be toxic. I avoid these ingredients in products used in my facials and recommended at my skincare atelier.  A great resource to find out more is Environmental Working Group (EWG)


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): According to the clean beauty experts at Follain SLS is a by-product of a process called ethoxylation, in which ethylene oxide, is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh. They function as a surfactant (Cleansing agent that produces suds, bubbles and foam). Potential Concern: Contamination with 1,4 –dioxane, Causes skin and eye irritation and can trigger allergies. They are found in products that lather (shampoo, cleanser, soaps, some exfoliators, body wash, bubble bath).

Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl- parabens): According to EWG, Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives used widely in cosmetics. The CDC has detected parabens in virtually all Americans bodies. According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutylparabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders.

Oxybenzone: Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber, found in the bodies of nearly all Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In human epidemiological studies, oxybenzone has been linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies. A study of 404 New York City women in the third trimester of pregnancy associated higher maternal concentration of oxybenzone with a decreased birth weight among newborn baby girls but with greater birth weight in newborn boys. Studies on cells and laboratory animals indicate that oxybenzone and its metabolites may disrupt the hormone system. *Resource EWG

The below is a list of “The Toxic Twelve” ingredients that are not used in products at the Allison Marks Skincare Atelier:

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, MEA, and TEA: 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 Hydrantoin and 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 and 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:  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 and Butylene: 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 and Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Detergents and surfactants that pose serious
health threats. Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and 90% 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: 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.

*Source- Luzern Laboratories

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