These are some of the ingredients I try to avoid in my personal and household products and in the products I make. My deliciously fragrant all natural and therapeutic Touch Fitness Massage Oils, my Ritual 1, Intention-Based Aromatherapy by Attract Essentials, Everything You Need to Attract Everything You Want and my Root, Branch & Blossom products- Gentle, Safe, Effective – All natural products for Home & Body, never have anything even questionably safe in them.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate- “…Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), an anionic detergent, is a common ingredient found in various skin and hair care products. It has been shown to trigger a prolonged barrier disruption of the skin that lasts up to a week following a single 24-hour application and thus is used in studies involving skin barrier damage…” Source:

DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine) – “Ethanolamines. Monoethanolamine (MEA) is used in cleaners and degreasers, detergents, soaps, cosmetics, hair dyes, and as an emulsifier in lotions and creams; diethanolamine (DEA) is used as an emulsifier in shampoos, cleaners, detergents, polishes, and auto products (National Library of Medicine 2010b). Exposure studies are limited. MEA and DEA have been associated with occupational asthma (Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics 2010; Kamijo et al. 2009; Mäkelä et al. 2011; Piipari et al. 1998; Savonius et al. 1994). The European Commission prohibits DEA in cosmetics and restricts products with MEA to < 0.5% amine content because of concerns about formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines (European Commission 2011).”

TEA (triethanolamine)- “…TEA is widely used (in low levels) as an ingredient in industrial settings in alkalizing agents, in cosmetic products, as a chemical intermediate for anionic and nonionic surfactants, and in surface-active agents in household cleaning agents and herbicides and other products. The most widespread potential dermal human exposure to ethanolamines occurs through the use of cosmetics, although exposure also can result from contact with household detergents, other surfactants containing this compound, pharmaceutical ointments, cutting fluids, adhesives, and sealants…”
“…Although previous studies indicated that TEA was not carcinogenic in rodents, questions about the oncogenic potential of TEA were raised following a report citing a slight increase in the incidence of lymphoma and total number of malignant neoplasms in female ICR-JCL mice receiving 0.03 or 0.3% TEA in their diet…” “Because of the potential for widespread human exposure to the chemical and possible exposure of industrial workers, TEA was selected by the NTP for a 2-year chronic exposure carcinogenesis bioassay using Fischer 344 rats and B6C3F1 mice. Dermal application was chosen as the route of exposure to mimic the principal means of human exposure to TEA and because considerable systemic exposure is achieved with this route. Following completion of the study, lesions consistent with H. hepaticus infection in A/JCr male mice (i.e., those displaying karyomegaly and oval cell hyperplasia) were noted in the livers of some male B6C3F1 mice. In addition, an increase in hepatocellular carcinomas was also noted in both male and female mice and the incidence of these tumors was most elevated in the groups treated with the highest dose of TEA…”

Triclosan, Urea (Imidazolidnyl) and Parabens- Read: Part 4 of a 4-part series Miscellaneous Products: Trends and Alternatives in Deodorants, Antiperspirants, Sunblocks, Shaving Products, Powders, and Wipes.
“Objective: To provide updated data on the usage of ingredients that are common potential contact allergens in several categories of topical products. To identify useful alternative products with few or no common contact allergens… for patients with contact allergy to antiperspirants and deodorants are fragrance-free products… Data on allergens and alternatives for ancillary skin care products are not widely published. This article reviews some of the common potential allergens in antiperspirants, deodorants, shaving products, sunblocks, powders, and wipes. Suitable available alternative products for patients with contact allergy are listed. One limitation of this study is that the data are specific to CVS stores and that the exact percentage of a particular ingredient in a given product type may be different in other stores with a different inventory.”

Alcohols etc.- ‘Challenges and opportunities in dermal/transdermal delivery’
“A major advantage of topical and transdermal drug delivery is the reduction of systemic side effects. On the other hand, delivery of drugs by these routes adds the potential for side effects in the form of skin irritation at the delivery site. Skin irritation reactions include irritant contact dermatitis (ICD), an inflammatory response caused by repeated or direct exposure of the skin to weak irritants, and allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), delayed, T-cell-mediated inflammatory response to a specific allergen… Factors that contribute to skin irritation include changes in the physiological pH of the skin, disruption of the stratum corneum barrier (i.e., delipidization, hydration and disruption of stratum corneum lipid packing), immunological and physiological reactions, bacteria proliferation at the delivery site, and chemical/pharmacological features of the drug or vehicle…. Most known (Chemical permeation) enhancers fall into the following categories: alcohols (ethanol, pentanol, benzyl alcohol, lauryl alcohol, propylene glycols and glycerol), fatty acids (oleic acid, linoleic acid, valeric acid and lauric acid), amines (diethanolamine and triethanolamine), esters (isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate and ethyl acetate), amides (1-dodecylazacycloheptane-2-one [Azone®], urea, dimethylacetamide, dimethylformamide and pyrrolidone derivatives), hydrocarbons (alkanes and squalene), surfactants (sodium laureate, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, Brij®, Tween® and sodium cholate), terpenes (D-limonene, carvone and anise oil), sulfoxides (dimethyl sulfoxide) and phospholipids (lecithine). The importance of water, or hydration of the stratum corneum, is not to be underestimated. A fully hydrated stratum corneum (under occlusion) presents lesser diffusional resistance to xenobiotics than its dehydrated counterpart. However a common drawback of permeation enhancers is that their efficacy is often closely mimicked by skin irritation. In general, the same mechanisms that are responsible for enhanced drug transport such as disrupting ordered stratum corneum lipid bilayers or corneocyte structural organization are also responsible for skin irritation…”

There are a host of other ingredients I avoid such as mineral oil, FD&C Color Pigments, parfums and fragrance (as opposed to the actual Essential Oils), and in general, anything that makes my nose itch or smells toxic ie. ammonia, bleach.

Original Post Date 4.26.11
Last Updated 6.15.13