4 Toxins in Makeup a Dermatologist Wants You to Avoid

Check for these ingredients if you want natural cosmetics.

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The hair and skin care aisles at your drugstore are increasingly packed with more and more brands offering “natural” products. These items boast of being free of ingredients like fragrances, parabens, and more.  But you kind of have to wonder: Are these labels a marketing scam, or are there real health benefits to choosing natural makeup.

Dermatologist Bobby Buka, MD, says there are legitimate reasons to choose natural products that are free of certain kinds of toxins.

One of the most common toxins to avoid is paraben, a man-made preservative used in everything from concealer to shaving cream. Parabens have been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer and a reduced sperm count, though more research is needed.

Another common toxin is phthalates—but you’ll have a much easier time avoiding these. This ingredient was previously used in nail polishes, perfumes, shampoos, and other common products, but is now rarely used in any cosmetics due to controversial findings about their effects on human health.

Propylene glycol is another common toxin you may want to scan ingredients lists for. Propylene glycol is a common allergy. Those who are sensitive to this toxin should avoid it, but it is generally safe to anyone without a sensitivity.

Finally, dermatologists typically recommend personal care products that are free of artificial fragrances and colors, as they contain chemicals that can be harmful to the skin. This is especially important to anyone with sensitive skin.

You can also make your own natural skin care products with common ingredients, like coconut oil for healthy hair or a body scrub made from coffee grounds.