Top Ingredients to Avoid




Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products
Including methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben

Known or suspected safety concerns.
Estrogenic effect

Harsh surfactants

(sodium lauryl/ laureth sulphate,
Ammonium lauryl/ laureth sulphate)

Drying and aggressive detergent for the skin and hair..

Research has shown that SLS when combined with other chemicals can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens.
According to the American College of Toxicology report, “SLS stays in the body for up to five days… Other studies have indicated that SLS easily penetrates through the skin and enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, the liver, the lungs and the brain. This poses serious questions regarding its potential health threat through its use in shampoos, cleansers and toothpaste.

Propylene Gylcol

Ethylene Glycol

Often used as humectant in skin care. Skin, eyes and lung sensitizer – may cause immune system response that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin. Penetration enhancer: alter(s) skin structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin, increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream..
Industrial use as paint solvent and in anti-freeze.


Oils- Cyclomethicone*


Dimethicone Copolyol*



Phenyl Trimethicone*

Not easily biodegradable, hence persistent in wildlife, environment.
Silicone oils* can irritate the lungs, eyes and skin in large concentrations. They may also clog the pores due to its large molecular size, leading to congested skin. Recommended to be avoided in products for the face.


Disodium EDTA


Tetrasodium EDTA

Trisodium EDTA

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive) Penetration enhancer: alters skin structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin, increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream.
Known to be cytotoxic and genotoxic to animals.

Triethanolamine (TEA)

Diethanolamine (DEA)
Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate

Risks of contaminations or concerns of reaction with other ingredients to form carcinogenic compunds.
Eg, Nitrosamines are the potential by-products of reactions between these ingredients and other ingredients. Nitrosamines are potent carcinogens.

Synthetic preservatives

Diazolidinyl Urea
Dmdm Hydantoin
Imidazolidinyl Urea

Contamination and bio- accumulation concerns.
Eg Imidazolidinyl Urea and Dmdm Hydantoin are two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep.

Charis Naturals only sells products using natural preservative systems or nature- identical preservatives to prevent microbial growth.

Nano particles

These can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Petroleum Derivatives

(unless they are nature identical)
Butylene Glycol
C13-14 Isoparaffin
Dipropylene Glycol
Disodium EDTA
Tetrasodium EDTA
Trisodium EDTA
Propylene Glycol

Eg, PEGs or abbreviation for polyethylene glycol that is used in making cleansers to dissolve oil and grease as well as thicken products. Because of their effectiveness, PEGs are often used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners and yet are found in many personal care products. PEGs contribute to stripping your skin’s natural moisture, leaving the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially carcinogenic.

Petrolatum, Isoparaffin, etc – The skin’s ability to release toxins is impeded by this ‘plastic wrap,’ that can promote acne and other disorders. This process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing the skin to prematurely age.

Synthetic Fragrances

Many of the compounds in fragrances are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. “Fragrance” on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation.
Intentional uses of phthalates include softeners of plastics, oily substances in perfumes, additives to hairsprays, lubricants and wood finishers

Related Research


On Parabens

Researchers at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine applied methylparaben in the same concentration as used in skin care products, on the faces of test subjects and exposed them to ultraviolet light at levels consistent with an average summer day. The paraben-treated cells died at a rate three times higher than those not treated with parabens.

Parabens were found in breast tumours, although there is no conclusive evidence to link cancer causation to parabens, we prefer to err on caution. Philippa Darbre, a senior lecturer in oncology and researcher in biomolecular sciences at the University of Reading, in England specializes in the impact of estrogen on breast cancer. In 2004, Darbre’s team published a pivotal study that detected parabens in 18 of 20 samples of tissue from breast tumour biopsies. Her study didn’t prove parabens cause cancer, only that they were easily detected among cancerous cells.

A 2007 French study addressed the effects of repeated applications of the preservative throughout the day. It compared how much of the chemical penetrated the skin after a single application of lotion with penetration after multiple applications during a 12-, 24- and 36-hour period. The results showed repeated applications led to increasing levels of parabens in the dermis and epidermis.

On Triclosan

On Phthalates

Phthalates are plasticisers that have been found to disrupt the endocrine system. Several phthalate compounds have caused reduced sperm counts, testicular atrophy and structural abnormalities in the reproductive systems of male test animals, and some studies also link phthalates to liver cancer, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s 2005 National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.

On Methylisothiazolinone

The dermatitis society named MI its “allergen of the year” in 2013, a listing intended to give attention to problematic and often obscure substances. That same year, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, a European advisory group, said that MI should be used only in limited quantities for rinse-off products, like soaps and shampoos, and that “no safe concentrations” existed for leave-on products like lotions. – Source: New York Times, 23 Jan 2015.

On March 27, 2014, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety issued an opinion on the safety of Methylisothiazolinone. This report only considered the issue of contact sensitization. The committee concluded:

  1. Current clinical data indicate that 100 ppm MI in cosmetic products is not safe for the consumer.
  2. For leave-on cosmetic products (including ‘wet wipes’), no safe concentrations of MI for induction of contact allergy or elicitation have been adequately demonstrated.
  3. For rinse-off cosmetic products, a concentration of 15 ppm (0.0015%) MI is considered safe for the consumer from the view of induction of contact allergy. However, no information is available on elicitation.- Source, WIKI.


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