Skin allergies are often triggered by the use of chemicals on the skin and in the home and workplace. Around 6 million Brits,  that is 1 in 5 children and another 1 in 10 adults,  all suffer from Eczema. Why not digest this time tested ‘Toxin Checklist’ – to congratulate yourself on what you chemical nasties you are avoiding!

Sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate (SLS) – Used as a water softener and foaming agent, SLS is a very common ingredient in personal care products including; shampoos, body-washes and toothpastes.  SLS strips the skin’s natural oils, alters its structure and allows chemicals to penetrate deep into the skin, reaching the bloodstream.

Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl) – The second most common ingredient in skin care products, after water, Parabens are used for their preservative qualities.  However, there is an unproven potential link to human breast cancer tumours as they possess mild oestrogen-like qualities.

Phthalates – Plasticiser used in cosmetics and plastic packaging to stop them becoming hard and rigid.  This known hormone disrupting chemical is found in many skincare products and can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs and also the developing of testes!  It has also been linked to allergies in children.

Propylene glycolThis wetting agent and solvent is the main ingredient in anti-freeze! It alters the structure of the skin by allowing synthetic chemicals to penetrate and enter the blood stream.

Synthetic fragrances – Often referred to as ‘parfum’, synthetic fragrances are a by-product of petrochemicals and commonly cause allergic skin reactions  – there can be as many as 100 man-made chemicals in a single fragrance!

Petrochemicals – Made from crude oil, or mineral oil, petrochemicals act like cling film to the skin – preventing the elimination of toxins and stripping the skin of its natural oils.  It is found in many common baby care products.

Synthetic colourants – The most common colourants used are azo-dyes and these are strongly irritant to the skin, especially eyelids, lips and mucous membranes.

Alcohol (Ethyl or Ethanol alcohol) – A volatile ingredient that dissolves the skin’s natural oils and lipids that provide protection to living skin cells.

Lanolin – Lanolin is extracted from sheep wool and can often contain traces of pesticides (used in sheep dip – a liquid formulation of insecticide and fungicide).  Small amounts of these toxins may be left behind in lanolin which can cause allergic reactions.

DEA, TEA, PEGs – Used for their emulsifying and detergent properties, these are known to cause allergic reactions, irritate the eyes and dry the hair and the skin.

Find out more at Green People




For as long as I can remember I have held a passion for nature and the countryside. I like to see the things I love being taken care of – from the bees to trees – so I try to live ethically and organically wherever possible. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to join the organic skin care company Green People (www.greenpeople.co.uk), amazingly based a mere few miles from me in rural Sussex, where I write about products that are produced with the environment and ethics in mind at every step. Since joining, I’ve learnt so much about the effects of commonplace chemicals on the skin and body and every day I am reminded by our fabulous customers how much difference using ‘no nasties’ products can make to those with sensitive skin. I am now on a mission to spread the word about the beauty of going natural and organic!

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