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YOUR SKIN HEALTH MATTERS

AND SO DOES THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET

We believe skincare is about health and wellness and that it should never jeopardize our health nor the health of our environment. We know that our skin doesn’t have a system that filters out toxins before they’re absorbed into our bloodstream and accumulated in our body, potentially disrupting and altering its function and balance. We also know that what we use on our skin gets washed down our drains and ends up in our water systems, lakes, rivers, and oceans affecting our plant and wildlife, and eventually our planets ecological balance.

 

That’s why, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to create our own Cleaner Standards that avoid 2,700+ toxic and even questionably toxic ingredients and formulate using only those ingredients found in scientific study to be safe for you and the environment. This list of banned ingredients is scientifically-approved to be the safest standards in skincare and are constantly being reviewed and updated as we learn more about the safety of ingredients. Below are the most common offenders including scientific evidence gathered from PubChem, the Environmental Working Group, and many academic journals.

1,3-Butadiene

WHAT IT IS: a 4-carbon conjugated diene

ITS PURPOSE: a reagent of the production process, it is unlisted on ingredient labels and considered a contaminant

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen
  • respiratory toxin
  • possible reproductive and developmental toxin

1,4-Dioxane

WHAT IT IS: heterocyclic diether, produced by the acid-catalyzed dehydration of diethylene glycol

ITS PURPOSE: a reagent of the production process, it is unlisted on ingredient labels and considered a contaminant

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen
  • environmental pollutant

Aluminum and Aluminum Containing Compounds

WHAT IT IS: a naturally occurring metallic element

ITS PURPOSE: antiperspirant to block sweat ducts

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • bioaccumulating substance
  • carcinogen
  • hormone disruptor
  • neurotoxin
  • skin irritant

Aminomethyl Propanol

WHAT IT IS: an alkanolamine produced by the hydrogenation of 2-aminoisobutyric acid

ITS PURPOSE: pH adjuster, ingredient stabilizer

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • precursor to carcinogens
  • skin irritant

Aminophenol

WHAT IT IS: produced by the nitration of phenol, or the hydrogenation of nitrobenzene

ITS PURPOSE: colorant

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • environmental concern
  • skin, eye irritant
  • possible toxin (especially to the kidneys, blood)
  • possible immunotoxin

Benzalkonium Chloride

WHAT IT IS: quaternary ammonium cationic salt

ITS PURPOSE: antimicrobial preservative (biocide), surfactant

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • skin, eye, respiratory irritant
  • possible immunotoxin
  • possible neurotoxin

Butoxyethanol

WHAT IT IS: butyl ether of ethylene glycol

ITS PURPOSE: solvent for product texture (specifically viscosity), fragrance

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen
  • reproductive toxin
  • skin irritant

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

WHAT IT IS: a mixture of two isomeric compounds (2-tert-butyl-4-hydroxyanisole and 3-tert-butyl-4-hydroxyanisole), resulting from the reaction between 4-methoxyphenol and isobutylene

ITS PURPOSE: synthetic antioxidant, preservative

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen
  • hormone disruptor

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

WHAT IT IS: a lipophilic phenol derivative synthesized by the sulfuric acid catalyzed reaction between 4-methylphenol and isobutylene, or through the hydroxymethylation or aminomethylation of 2,6-di-tert-butylphenol followed by hydrogenolysis

ITS PURPOSE: synthetic antioxidant, preservative

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • multiorgan toxin
  • respiratory irritant

Butylene Glycol

WHAT IT IS: a chiral diol, and an isomer of butanediol

ITS PURPOSE: humectant, solvent for product texture and absorption

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • petroleum derivative (environmental concern)
  • skin, eye, respiratory irritant

Ceteareth Glycol

WHAT IT IS: polyethylene glycol ether of cetearyl alcohol

ITS PURPOSE: penetration enhancer, surfactant, emulsifier

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE:

  • contaminated by ethylene oxide and/or 1,4-dioxane (carcinogens)

Chemical Sunscreens [Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone]

WHAT ARE THEY: aromatic compounds conjugated with a carbonyl group and/or other electron-releasing substituents

THEIR PURPOSE: sun protection by UV radiation absorbance

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • environmental pollutants (significant links to coral bleaching)
  • hormone disruptors

Coal Tar

WHAT IT IS: by-product of the production of coal gas from coal, belonging to the drug class of keratoplastics

ITS PURPOSE: anti-dandruff agent, treatment of dermatitis and psoriasis

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • carcinogen
  • cause for increased sun sensitivity
  • skin irritant

Cyclic Silicones [Cyclo- tetra/penta/hexa-siloxane, Cyclomethicone]

WHAT ARE THEY: demethylated silicones in a ring structure

THEIR PURPOSE: occlusive agents, improvement of product texture

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • environmental pollutants
  • hormone disruptors
  • reproductive and developmental toxins

Ethanolamines (ETA) [Mono-, Di-, Triethanolamine, Cocamide MEA/DEA]

WHAT ARE THEY: an amino alcohol resulting from the treatment of ethylene oxide with ammonia

THEIR PURPOSE: pH adjustment, surfactants

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • common allergens
  • developmental toxins
  • hormone disruptors
  • sensitizing agents
  • contaminated by ethylene oxide (a carcinogen)
  • possible immunotoxins

Ethylene Oxide

WHAT IT IS: a cyclic ether classified as the simplest epoxide

ITS PURPOSE: a reagent of the production process, it is unlisted on ingredient labels and considered a contaminant

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen
  • immunotoxin
  • skin, eye, respiratory irritant
  • possible developmental toxin

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA)

WHAT IT IS: an aminopolycarboxylic acid synthesized with ethylenediamine, formaldehyde, and sodium cyanide

ITS PURPOSE: reagent in synthetic production processes, chemical stabilizer (especially in products containing metals), binding agent

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • bioaccumulating pollutant in aquatic environments
  • eye irritant

Ethylhexylglycerin

WHAT IT IS: a glyceryl ether

ITS PURPOSE: moisturizer (humectant), improves product texture, boosts antimicrobial preservative efficacy

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • environmental toxin, especially to aquatic life
  • sensitizing agent
  • skin, eye irritant
  • trigger for dermatitis

Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Releasers [Bronopol, Quaternium-15 Diazolindinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate]

WHAT IT IS: the most simple aldehyde (one carbon with a double bond to an oxygen, and two single bonds to hydrogens) and substances which spontaneously release it

ITS PURPOSE: preservative

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • carcinogen
  • developmental toxin
  • neurotoxin
  • skin, eye, respiratory irritant

Hydroquinone

WHAT IT IS: benzene ring with two hydroxyl groups bonded in the parapositions

ITS PURPOSE: hyperpigmentation reduction, skin lightening

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen
  • skin, eye irritant

Isobutane

WHAT IT IS: a simple, gaseous alkane with a tertiary central carbon; an isomer of butane

ITS PURPOSE: propellant for aerosols

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • skin, eye, respiratory irritant
  • contaminated with 1,3-butadiene

Mineral Oil

WHAT IT IS: the by-product of crude oil refinement, composed mostly of alkanes and cycloalkanes

ITS PURPOSE: occlusive agent

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • petroleum derivative (environmental concern)
  • skin irritant

Mercury and Mercury Containing Compounds (Thimerosal)

WHAT IT IS: a naturally occurring metallic element

ITS PURPOSE: antifungal and antibacterial preservative

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • environmental toxin
  • developmental toxin
  • neurotoxin
  • skin, eye, respiratory irritant

Methyl Cellosolve (2-Methoxyethanol)

WHAT IT IS: a glycol ether produced by the reaction between methanol and protonated ethylene oxide

ITS PURPOSE: solvent for product texture (specifically viscosity)

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • cardiovascular toxin
  • developmental toxin
  • neurotoxin
  • skin irritant
  • contaminated by ethylene oxide (a carcinogen)

Methylisothiazolinone / Methylchloroisothiazolinone

WHAT IT IS: methylated/chlorinated heterocycle of isothiazole

ITS PURPOSE: preservative (biocide), fragrance enhancement

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • sensitizing agent
  • skin irritant
  • possible neurotoxin

Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs)

WHAT ARE THEY: class of alkylphenols, characterized by a phenol ring substituted with a 9-carbon chain

THEIR PURPOSE: surfactants

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • environmental toxins, especially to aquatic life
  • possible hormone disruptors

P-phenylenediamine (Diaminobenzene)

WHAT IT IS: an aromatic diamine produced by treating 2-nitrochlorobenzene with ammonia and hydrogenating the product

ITS PURPOSE: colorant

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • extreme environmental toxin, especially to aquatic life
  • sensitizing agent
  • skin, eye, respiratory irritant
  • possible carcinogen
  • possible toxin (especially to the kidneys, blood)

Parabens

WHAT ARE THEY: esters derived from parahydroxybenzoic acid

THEIR PURPOSE: antimicrobial preservatives

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • common allergens
  • developmental and reproductive toxins
  • hormone disruptors
  • immunotoxins
  • possible carcinogens

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFASs/PFCs) [3,000+]

WHAT ARE THEY: organofluorides consisting of only fluorocarbons and a functional group

THEIR PURPOSE: oil, stain, and water repellents

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • carcinogens
  • environmental pollutants
  • hormone disruptors
  • liver toxins

Petroleum [Petrolatum and Paraffins]

WHAT IT IS: a mixture of many different hydrocarbons, such as alkanes, cycloalkanes, and aromatics

ITS PURPOSE: occlusive agent, common base ingredient

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • harm to the environment due to fossil fuel mining and laborious refinement process

Phenoxyethanol

WHAT IT IS: a glycol phenol ether and aromatic alcohol, produced by the hydroxyethylation of phenol

ITS PURPOSE: antimicrobial preservative

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • hormone disruptor
  • skin irritant

Phthalates

WHAT ARE THEY: esters derived from phthalic anhydride

THEIR PURPOSE: solvents for product texture and consistency, enhancement of fragrance persistence

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • developmental toxins
  • hormone disruptors

Polycyclic Musks / Nitromusks

WHAT ARE THEY: aromatic rings with various substituents, produced by the reaction between toluene and isobutyl bromide in the presence of aluminum chloride

THEIR PURPOSE: synthetic fragrances

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • environmental contaminants
  • possible bioaccumulating substances
  • possible hormone disruptors

Polyethylene Glycols (PEGs)

WHAT THEY ARE: polyether compounds of varying molecular weights

THEIR PURPOSE: thickening agents, occlusive agents

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • petroleum derivatives (environmental concern)
  • contaminated by ethylene oxide and/or 1,4-dioxane (carcinogens)

Polysorbate

WHAT IT IS: class of ethoxylated sorbitan, esterified with fatty acids

ITS PURPOSE: surfactant, emulsifier

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • contaminated by ethylene oxide and/or 1,4-dioxane (carcinogens)

Propanediol

WHAT IT IS: a 3-carbon chiral diol

ITS PURPOSE: absorbance and penetration enhancer

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • skin irritant
  • possible hormone disruptor

Propylene Glycol

WHAT IT IS: product of the high temperature reaction between propylene oxide and sulfuric acid/alkali

ITS PURPOSE: humectant, solvent for product texture, preservative

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • petroleum derivative (environmental concern)
  • trigger for dermatitis or eczema

Resorcinol

WHAT IT IS: phenyl ring substituted with two hydroxyl groups in the meta position, produced from benzene and propylene

ITS PURPOSE: colorant, fragrance

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • hormone disruptor
  • immunotoxin
  • skin, eye irritant

Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)

WHAT IT IS: ester of retinol and palmitic acid

ITS PURPOSE: anti-aging benefits such as collagen production and increased rate of cell turnover

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen when used topically (forms radicals when exposed to sunlight which contribute to formation of lesions and cancerous tumors)
  • sensitizing agent

Sodium Benzoate

WHAT IT IS: salt produced by the reaction between potassium hydroxide and benzoic acid

ITS PURPOSE: preservative, corrosion inhibitor

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • agent in producing carcinogenic benzene when combined with L-ascorbic acid
  • skin, eye irritant
  • possible mutagen

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate

WHAT IT IS: anionic molecule consisting of a hydrophobic 12-carbon chain with a hydrophilic carboxylate, containing an amide linkage

ITS PURPOSE: penetration and absorption enhancer, antistatic agent

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • skin, eye, respiratory irritant
  • possible carcinogen

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

WHAT IT IS: product of dodecyl alcohol ethoxylation, esterification and neutralization

ITS PURPOSE: surfactant

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • skin, eye irritant
  • contaminated by 1,4-dioxane (carcinogen, pollutant)

Synthetic Fragrances (Parfums) & Dyes

WHAT ARE THEY: man-made aromatic or colored compounds

THEIR PURPOSE: longer shelf-life, greater degree of customization, more complexity than natural sources

STUDIES SUGGEST THEY MAY BE:

  • common allergens
  • hormone disruptors
  • neurotoxins
  • asthma and migraine triggers
  • skin, eye, respiratory irritants
  • petroleum derivatives (environmental concern)
  • possible carcinogens

Talc

WHAT IT IS: a naturally occurring clay mineral

ITS PURPOSE: colorant, improves product texture, moisture and oil absorbent

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen (especially to the lungs and ovaries)
  • reproductive toxin
  • respiratory irritant

Toluene (Toluol / Methylbenzene / Phenylmethane)

WHAT IT IS: phenyl ring monosubstituted with a methyl group

ITS PURPOSE: solvent

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen (especially to the blood, brain, reproductive organs)
  • immunotoxin
  • neurotoxin
  • severe skin irritant

Tosylamide / Formaldehyde Resin

WHAT IT IS: polymer derived from toluenesulfonamide and formaldehyde

ITS PURPOSE: plasticizer, film former

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • common allergen
  • persistent environmental toxin
  • sensitizing agent
  • possible immunotoxin

Triclocarban

WHAT IT IS: a derivative of urea with two chlorinated phenyl rings

ITS PURPOSE: antimicrobial preservative

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • environmental toxin, especially to aquatic life
  • hormone disruptor
  • agent in enhancing bacterial antibiotic resistance

Triclosan

WHAT IT IS: a chlorinated diphenyl ether

ITS PURPOSE: antimicrobial agent

STUDIES SUGGEST IT MAY BE A:

  • carcinogen
  • hormone disruptor
  • agent in enhancing bacterial antibiotic resistance

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