7 Harmful Beauty Ingredients to Avoid For Clearer Skin


As much as we don’t like to admit it, the labels that case our beauty products are likely to be things that we never read unless we need to.

Harmful or damaging beauty ingredients are often masked by the words “natural” and “clear skin in a bottle” on the front of the product – why would we ever need to read the full list of chemical ingredients that we probably wouldn’t even be able to pronounce?

However, the ingredients of your beauty products – with skincare items in particular – need be taken into consideration as you should know which chemicals are harmful to your skin. You aren’t going to achieve naturally glowing skin if it’s being doused in nasty chemicals!

Despite the majority of beauty, skincare and makeup ingredients being recognised as ‘safe’, we’d always recommend avoiding the following:


One of the main types of ingredient you should avoid in your beauty products is any form of carcinogen. They are often found in beauty products but can have major, life-changing effects if used incorrectly.

Carcinogens are frequently referred to as ‘cancer-causing chemicals’. The can be so harmful that some chemicals within this branch are banned in countries… It’s surprising how they were allowed to worm their way into our skincare routine in the first place!

1. Petrolatum

A petrolatum-based product – like hair products and lip balms, for example – can be contaminated with polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons. These can cause cancer and are often used to give an extra moisturiser boost in beauty products.

2. Urea Formaldehyde

Despite not being a definite classified carcinogen, Formaldehyde is a probably carcinogen and is found in hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives and shampoos. This irritant is banned in the EU, so is worth skipping out on your products if they include this!

3. Coal Tar

Banned in the EU, coal tar is a carcinogen used in various skin treatments, hair dyes and some forms of anti-dandruff shampoo. It is known to have the potential to be contaminated with heavy metals and become toxic to the brain.

4. Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is a chemical used in skincare products for brightening skin that can be harmful if used excessively. It has been banned in the UK and rated the most toxic chemical, and has the possibility of leading to toxicity in the reproductive system.

5. Toluene

People have been advised to avoid toluene because of the long list of symptoms you can get from exposure – including confusion, headaches and insomnia just to name a few. It often disguises itself behind fragrances and is used within hair and nail products.

6. Mercury

You’ve probably heard that prolonged exposure to mercury can be detrimental to your health, so why use it within beauty products? Mercury is commonly found in mascara and eye drops, and is known as an allergen and can impair brain development.

7. Propylene Glycol (PEG)

PEG is a chemical made from the same type of chemical that anti-freeze uses, and is linked to liver damage, kidney damage and health problems related to the brain. Because the chemical easily penetrates the skin, it’s best to avoid this type of chemical in your beauty products.

If you’re looking for skincare in Leeds, don’t forget to check out Advanced Skin Lounge, who specialise in beauty treatments and skincare services!

Do you ever read the ingredients list on your beauty products? Which chemicals would you recommend avoiding? 

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