5 Toxic Skincare Ingredients To Avoid

After reading our recent blog on how to ‘Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine’ , where you discovered that many store bought beauty products are not quite as innocent as they seem, you may be wondering which potentially harmful ingredients in particular you should be looking our for and avoiding.


Many hair and beauty product consumers are becoming increasingly discerning when it comes to what they will and won’t put onto (and effectively into) their bodies, and with good reason. Here at Tabitha James Kraan, we believe that natural is always better, not only in achieving the best results but also when it comes to taking good care of yourself and that is why every last one of our products are 100% chemical free and always will be.

We recommend that everyone checks the labels of their hair and skincare products and if there is anything you’re unsure about, do your research first – it’s better to be safe than sorry after all! For those of you that suffer from allergies or sensitive skin conditions, decreasing the toxic burden within your body is probably one of the best things you could do to help yourself, so please do try to opt for natural and organic.


It has been estimated that the skin on our body is made up of approximately 70 trillion cells and each one is just as important as the last. Here is our list of 5 toxic skincare ingredients to avoid, for a non-toxic skincare routine:


The singular name for a ‘family’ of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics (so you can already see why we wouldn’t want this in our skincare products – plastic shouldn’t be there in the first place!).
Found in many cosmetic products as well as wood finishes, detergents and insecticides.
The human health effects are still not fully known, but a recent report published by the National Toxicology Programme listed it as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. Testing on Phthalates has also shown them to alter the hormone concentration of breast milk and to cause allergies in infants.

Diazolidinyl Urea:

An anti-microbial preservative widely used in many cream based products such as moisturisers, body lotions, foundations, eye creams and sunscreens. Believed by many to be carcinogenic, due to the fact that it is a proven formaldehyde releaser which is classified as a human carcinogen. Tests have shown that this chemical has a tendency to cause allergic reactions and has been established as the primary cause of contact dermatitis.

Petrolatum & Mineral Oil:

A huge no-no for anyone who is acne prone as these commonly used skincare ingredients are known as occlusive agents – meaning that they seal off the skin, blocking pores and stopping skin’s natural respiration process (just FYI – baby oil is perfumed mineral oil….uhoh..)
Petrolatum and Mineral Oil, found in many lotions, lip balms and cold cream, is in actual fact a liquid by-product of the distillation of petroleum used to create gasoline. If that’s not enough to turn you off it, I don’t know what is!


Now this is a cheeky one…
Developed and used since Parabens have become so widely known about and condemned in skincare products, this glycol ether (also used in paint and jet fuel) has been hailed as the new ‘safe alternative’ and is often found as an anti-bacterial in skincare and stabilizer in perfumes. However, studies show that this ingredient is far from safe. Tests have demonstrated that Phenoxyethanol is in fact toxic, having negative effects on the brain and nervous system in moderate doses and reproductive damage in high concentrations. Whilst of course the amounts used in skincare products will be small, surely it’s better to avoid slathering on anything with neurotoxin potential

Diethanolamine (DEA); Triethanolamine (TEA); Monoethanolamine (MEA):

3 in 1 to finish off with! These ammonia compounds, referred to collectively as Ethanolamines, are used in lots of skincare cosmetics as emulsifiers and/or foaming agents and also in pesticides.
These ingredients have been shown to offer no benefit whatsoever to skin or hair and whilst concluded ‘safe for use’ by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel in concentrations under 5%, they have instructed that it must be followed by thorough rinsing to avoid prolonged contact with the skin. The World Health Organization, however, lists these as unclassified carcinogens. Make what you will of it, but it does seem as though the cons hugely outweigh the pros…