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The Dirtiest Ingredients You Put 0n Your Skin

Your skin is your largest organ, so before you lather up, turn the bottle around and read the label!

Many of you have seen or heard of the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen & Clean fifteen list and strive to steer clear of the twelve dirtiest conventional foods. But, did you know that there are certain ingredients in our skin care and other hygiene products that are just as detrimental, if not more detrimental, than those found in and on the dirty dozen foods?

Our skin is our largest organ, and what’s put on it is directly absorbed into the body. This means that being aware and mindful of what you’re putting on your body is just as essential as what you’re putting into it. The list below identifies some of the worst ingredients you could put on your skin. To avoid these harmful ingredients, you can either make your own hygiene products or choose ones made with organic, natural ingredients.


Parabens are used in many creams, lotions, shampoos, and other similar items as a preservative. Parabens help prevent bacteria, mold, fungus, parasites, and other growths from occurring in the product. This comes at a cost, as parabens are easily absorbed into the skin and can lead to a number of health issues, including breast cancer.


This is a group of chemicals used in many makeup products to make them softer or more fragrant. But they also harm to the endocrine system, increase the chance for breast cancer, and potentially cause reproductive issues. The particular problem with this class of chemicals is that they can be hard to identify on the label, as they can simply be called fragrance. For this reason, it’s safest to either make your own or choose organic products that are either unscented or that use something like essential oils.


Petroleum is a derivative of coal. It’s used in many products, some of which are (nearly) pure petroleum, such as petroleum jelly. Petroleum can be named xylene, toluene, mineral oil, liquid paraffin, benzene, or toluol, among other names. This ingredient has been shown to cause birth defects, harm the immune system, and lead to different cancers.

Propylene Glycol

This ingredient is found in many hygienic products such as creams, sunscreen, makeup, conditioner, and others. It irritates the skin in sensitive individuals and also leads to dermatitis and hives.


Yes, the same ingredient used to embalm dead bodies can also be found in your hygienic products. This ingredient is used to help fight bacteria, therefore preserving the life of the product. However, it’s also a known carcinogen (cancer-causing) and can also irritate the skin and decrease immune function.

Artificial Dyes

Fake coloring agents are used in many makeups, lotions, and other such products to make it look visually appealing and fresh. But, many of these coloring agents are made from chemicals and coal derivatives. They can cause allergies and skin irritation.


This ingredient is often used for its antibacterial action and is often found in toothpaste, soap, and deodorant. Not only can it irritate the skin, but it can interfere with thyroid function and with the reproductive and hormonal systems.

Benzoyl Peroxide

This ingredient is primarily used in products that help combat acne. While it can help with acne issues, it is also linked to causing tumor cells to grow.

The bottom line is your top priority: be careful with what you put on your skin and live long and healthy!

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