Bad Chemicals For Bath And Beauty Products

Do you read the ingredients in your lotion or shampoo bottle? Does “propylparabens” or “polyethylene glycol” mean anything to you? I can’t pronounce half of these chemicals, let alone, understand why they are in the lotion that I am putting on my skin. After all, skin is the largest organ in the body and it absorbs everything you put on it. So, what are these chemicals that I can’t pronounce and what will they do to my body once they get absorbed?

Well, let’s sample a few of these funky sounding chemicals and see what they actually do. There’s a lot of information so I’m going to cover only two chemicals today.

1) Parabens (i.e.butyl-methyl-, ethyl and propylparabens)

What they are – chemical preservatives used in up to 90 percent of cosmetics
What they do – keep products from going bad.
Why avoid? Ongoing studies suggest parabens causes typical Contact Dermatitis due to allergic reactions and parabens may act like estrogen in the body causing proliferation of breast cancer cells due to the increased estrogenic effects of paraben.
Products: Some lines of products from: Revlon, Noxema, Desitin, Cover Girl, Aussie,Kohl Eye Liner, Johnsons, Clairol, Ponds, Jergens, Avon, Neutrogena, Sensodyne, Olay, Baby Magic, Four Paws Petdental Products, 8 in 1 Pro Pet Products. Read here for the detailed list.

2) Propylene glycol (PG)

What it is – a thick, clear alcohol
What it does – helps the skin soak up moisture, thins out liquids, and enhances skin’s absorption of other ingredients in the product.
Why avoid? If ingested, it can cause toxicity, especially in young children, and can cause respiratory problems, systemic organ failure to coma. And at the least, PG causes stinging in the eye and allergic reaction upon contact. The problem with this chemical is that the general population may be exposed to PG through dermal and ingestion pathways when products containing PG are used. It is used in aerosol mists (in hospitals and public buildings for disinfection purposes) and in many personal care products as well as industrial products.
Products: Noxema, Clairol, Keri Lotion, Loreal, Cover Girl, Suave, Benjamin Moore, Behr, Glidden, Colgate, Avon, Armorall, Softgel Hand Sanitizer, and Aussie.
Read here for the detailed list.

Go read the labels on your personal products. See if you can pronounce the ingredients. Like my daughter says, if you can’t pronounce it, the chances are, it’s not good for you.


  1. ecogeneration says

    Thanks for visiting and your comment.

    You are right; Ethylene Glycol is toxic and Propylene Glycol (PG) is not as toxic, but nevertheless toxic if you are sensitive to it. Not everyone reacts to any of these chemicals the same way. Some babies, for example, have become sick from exposure to PG, a very common ingredient in baby wipes and diaper rash ointments. (see And according to, PG can be irritating to the skin although considered safe. It breaks down very fast in the body although symptoms might be present.

    I’m just trying to make readers be aware that these substances, although considered ‘safe’, can be irritating to the system if you are sensitive to them.

  2. Angie says

    Propylene Glycol is safe. It is used not only in cosmetics but medicines also. I think fear about this ingredient is due to confusion of Ethylene Glycol which is toxic and used in Anti-Freeze.
    Propylene Glycol is now added to “Safe” anti-freeze products. Not everything is bad. Just think, Water is natural, pure, and sustains life. However, it can be deadly as well if you breath it in or even drink too much.

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