Beauty & Spa

4 Dangerous Petrochemicals Found In Cosmetics


Did you know Petrochemicals are lurking in many of your everyday  cosmetics? In fact, chances are, you have at least a handful of products sitting in your bathroom right now containing these dangerous  chemicals, and you didn’t even know!


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There are a number of reasons why petrochemicals are bad for you. For starters, they’re made from petroleum, aka the same stuff that goes into our cars. Ick, right? They’re incredibly harmful to the environment and to humans.


One of the main side effects of petrochemicals is Endocrine Disruption. This is basically when something alters the fine balance of hormones in the body. One of the major disruptors is petrochemicals. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders – any system in the body controlled by hormones can be affected by hormone disruptors.


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If you’ve ever turned over an everyday  cosmetic/skincare product and read the ingredients list, you’ll have noticed names such as propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, triclosan – and guess what? They’re all  petrochemicals! Check out our list of 4  petrochemicals you should ALWAYS avoid below.


  1. Propylene Glycol

Commonly found in shampoo, hair conditioner, moisturisers, sunscreen and styling product, propylene glycol is a popular choice because of its low cost and versatile nature. It’s a small organic alcohol classified as a skin irritant and penetrator and side effects (including dermatitis and hives) can manifest from concentrations as low as 2%. This one is one to stay away from, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

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  1. Sodium Benzoate/Potassium Sorbate

These are commonly used preservatives that are added to a large number of products that are used and consumed – most oftenly products claiming to be ‘natural’. Sodium Benzoate/Potassium Sorbate are not classified as dangerous in terms of immediate use, however there are long-term effects from continuous use. Best to choose products without them!

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  1.   Triclosan

Triclosan is a widely used antibacterial and antifungal agent, commonly found in products such as toothpaste, soaps and detergents. Triclosan is a known endocrine disruptor, particularly affecting the thyroid and reproductive hormones. It’s also a skin irritant, and there are concerns that Triclosan contributes toward making bacteria antibiotic-resistant.

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  1. Synthetic Colours

On the back of your label, synthetic colours will show up as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6. Synthetic colours are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources – in other words, they’re derived from extremely harsh petrochemicals! There is concern that these artificial colours are a human carcinogen – aka, a leading agent in causing cancer. They also irritate the skin and are linked to ADHD in kids.

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So next time you pick up a  cosmetic or skincare product, make sure you check the back and be sure they don’t include any of the above! Remember, go for natural, go for safe – know your ingredients. If you wouldn’t willingly consume a  petrochemical, why would you allow your skin to absorb it?


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