You take the time to choose the skin care products that will target your problem areas. From preventing sun damage to reducing the appearance of wrinkles, you hope that these products will help to protect your skin.

But what if some ingredients added to your favorite products could be causing more harm than good?

Take a look at these six toxic ingredients you don’t want in your skin care products. Then, check your labels to make sure that you aren’t unknowingly ruining your skin!

#1 Fragrances

This is one of the vaguest ingredients used in skin care products. An ingredient defined as fragrance can be any mix of chemicals. Originally, cosmetic companies used fragrance as a way to hide their secret formulas.

Common fragrance mixtures have been shown to cause dermatitis, respiratory problems, allergies, and in some cases, problems with the reproductive system. Milder side effects that have been associated with fragrance include dizziness and headaches.

The fragrance header often hides some of the other toxic chemicals on this list, such as phthalates, which is why it is at the top of the list.

#2 Parabens

There is a large movement to stop using parabens due to their potentially toxic properties. Parabens usually have the word “paraben” in their name, but they can also be listed as alkyl parahydroxy benzoates.

Parabens are a family of chemicals used to prevent the formation of mold and other microorganisms. The FDA does not regulate what preservatives can go in a product, and parabens are considered to be a preservative.

The estrogen-like properties of parabens have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Remnants of parabens have even been found in biopsy samples from breast tumors, indicating that they remain as a risk deep in the tissue. Avoid parabens when possible!

#3 Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is another toxic ingredient that is used in skin care to prevent bacteria growth.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has released documentation that formaldehyde is a proven carcinogenic in humans. It has been linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancers. There is even a chance that formaldehyde may be linked to the development of leukemia!

More mild reactions can also be caused by formaldehyde. Using it in skin care products has produced allergic skin reactions and rashes in many people. These allergies are very common, so look for both formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives when choosing products.

#4 Lead

This next ingredient is a tricky one because it is not listed on any ingredients list.

Since lead is considered to be a contaminant, you won’t know it’s in any products without doing more research! Most commonly found in lipstick and hair dye, lead and other heavy metals can also be found in other cosmetics.

No level of lead exposure is considered safe. Lead exposure can lead to reduced fertility, behavioral and learning disabilities, menstrual irregularities, delayed puberty, and more.

Avoid lead at all costs. Research everything you put on your skin to make sure that you are not ingesting lead while taking care of your skin.

#5 Phthalates

Phthalates are another stealthy yet toxic ingredient that you should avoid. They are often included in the “fragrances” header, which makes them hard to identify.

Phthalates are a family of chemicals used to make plastics softer. Diethyl phthalate is the phthalate most commonly used in skin care lotions.

Phthalates have been associated with a higher risk for breast cancer. While some believe that the amount of phthalates in cosmetics might not be enough to cause damage, others believe that it can still have a significant effect.

The lack of disclosure on cosmetic labels is what makes this product so scary. Adapt to the better-safe-than-sorry mentality and avoid phthalates when possible.

#6 Oxybenzone & Sunscreen Chemicals

Sunscreen ingredients added to skin care can be toxic to your skin. The point of chemicals in sunscreens is to absorb ultraviolet light, but they can have dangerous side effects that many users are unaware of.

Oxybenzone is known to be one of the most common and most toxic sunscreen chemicals. Found in up to 96% of the population, this chemical can cause allergic skin reactions. Oxybenzone is also an endocrine disruptor, and it can cause to hormonal and reproductive problems.

Using sunscreens with toxic chemicals in it can put your body at risk. Stick to mineral-based sunscreens rather than those with toxic chemicals that can be absorbed into your skin.

It’s Up To You

Be an informed skin care guru, and always check the label before using a new product!

If you’re not sure what ingredients are in one of your favorite skin care items, you can check the list out online to find out if there are any risky ingredients.

You take care of your skin – so make sure that you take care of the dangers of toxic ingredients, too! Avoiding these ingredients will keep your skin glowing for decades to come.