Toxic Ingredients To Watch Out For And Avoid In Your Grooming Products

24 March 2017


Like most people, you may think that only women should be concerned with subjects like skin care and beauty products and need to worry about harmful chemicals that are in those cosmetic products. But recent research has shown that men need to be just as careful with selecting their grooming products.

According to a U.S.-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the average American man uses up to six different grooming products each day, containing more than 80 different chemicals that are absorbed into the skin.

Our Skin Absorbs Whatever We Put Onto It

Our skin is the biggest organ of our body and it absorbs much more than you would think. Most deodorants, body washes, shaving creams and aftershaves contain harmful chemicals that can affect our health in the long run.

These chemicals that enter via the skin’s pores, enter into our blood stream and are processed by the body. Some of them can be discarded out of the system without affecting us, but others remain in the blood stream for longer causing a negative impact on the body.

Recently, 17 popular male grooming products were tested by the Environmental Defense. Out of the sample, 4 possibly contained human carcinogens, 5 contained chemicals harmful to reproductive health and 10 contained artificial musks, which have been reported to be linked to male hormone disruption.

The hormone-disrupting chemicals can cause prostate and testicular cancer, obesity as well as sperm damage. You can’t just grab a male grooming product off the shelf and ignore the possible side-effects of the chemicals it contains.

If you are serious about your health, you should consider switching to all-natural male grooming products. In the long run, your body will be very grateful for your choice.

The Toxic Ten

The long-term effects of all the harmful chemicals haven’t been studied extensively but researchers worry about the damaging effects on humans and the environment. When mixed they could cause a dangerous “chemical cocktail”.

Researchers warn that these chemicals can still be harmful even in extremely low doses. If you think about it, taking a small dose of poison every day will eventually affect you.

Next time you are selecting a male grooming product, first check the list of ingredients to make sure that one of the following chemicals are not present.

  • Triclosan
  • Artificial Musks
  • Parabens
  • Dibutyl Phthalates (DBP)
  • Petrolatum
  • Formaldehyde Releasing Agents
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
  • Silicone Chemicals
  • Coal Tar Derived Colors
  • BHA and BHT


This chemical is found in products with the label “antibacterial”. It is linked to allergies, dermatitis, endocrine disruption and may also have a depressant effect on the body’s central nervous system.

Artificial Musks

These are found in most fragranced products. It is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, dizziness, headaches as well as immune system toxicity.


The chemical is found in various moisturizers and cosmetics. It is linked to organ and immune system toxicity, increased risk of breast cancer and it is also likely a carcinogen.

Dibutyl Phthalates (DBP)

These are found in various nail products. It is a known carcinogen and linked to testicular cancer and genital abnormalities.


This chemical is found in a wide variety of lip, skin and hair products. It is linked to allergies and skin irritation. It could possibly be contaminated with cancer-causing ingredients.

Formaldehyde Releasing Agents

These are found in a variety of moisturizers, cosmetics and hair products. They are linked to skin irritation and immune system toxicity as well as likely being a carcinogen.

Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

These harmful sulphates are found in lathering products such as a body wash or shampoo. They are linked to eye and respiratory tract irritation and is also likely a carcinogen. Could possibly also affect your brain and nervous system and cause disruptions in the endocrine system as well as damaging reproductive effects.

Silicone Chemicals

These are found in a variety of moisturizers, cosmetics and hair products. They also have a damaging effect on the environment. Could most likely be a carcinogen as well as a reproductive toxin.

Coal Tar Derived Colors

These are found in hard dyes. They are linked to dermatitis, certain types of cancer as well as severe facial edema.


Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene are found in moisturizers, makeup and also some fragrances. They are linked to allergies, endocrine disruption, carcinogenicity and development toxicity.

Keep These Away From Your Skin

Wait, there’s a few more to look out for. The good news is that some of the toxins are not bio-accumulate. This means your body can flush the poisons out of your system, under the proper conditions such as drinking enough water, eating right and avoiding harmful pharmaceuticals.

  • Phthalates
  • Parfum
  • Triethanolamine


This chemical can negatively affect the functioning of hormones by disrupting the natural production of hormones. The effect can be harmful to important balances throughout your body and it can also impact your brain and immune system.

Traces of the chemical metabolites found in human urine have been associate with insulin resistance and obesity in men because of their inhibiting effect on testosterone function. Research shows that up to 80% of people are exposed to this toxin.


Otherwise known as fragrance. Sure, it’s nice to smell good, but parfum is made up of toxic chemicals. It’s calculated that as many as 3 000 chemicals that are used to make fragrance are untested for their toxicity. Some of the chemicals that have been tested in labs are associated with cancer and neurotoxicity.


This chemical is created by combining two known toxins, ethylene oxide and aqueous ammonia, to create a potent reaction. It is a respiratory and skin toxicant. Animal studies have proven that it can cause liver and bladder cancer as well as cell mutation in testicles.

Stick to the Natural Stuff

No one can predict exactly how an individual body will react to certain toxins. But being aware of the effect of harmful chemicals on your body, can give you a head-start to good health. You will never be able to cut out all the toxins you’re exposed to in your life, but you can make small adjustments, such as switching to all natural products.

Here’s a few DIY recipes you can try out at home:

Our Body Can Only Fight for So Long

Exposing your body to toxins on a regular basis will eventually take its toll. Your body can only keep up the fight for so long. Eventually, it will become vulnerable to the toxic build-up and you will start feeling the consequences of the harmful chemicals.

Take a moment to check the ingredients list on the product you are grabbing off the shelf at your local store. Those few seconds of double checking exactly what you’re buying will possibly save you from terrible health issues in the long run.

Have you ever experienced negative effects caused by the grooming products you used? Or maybe you’ve heard a horror story of someone you know suffering because of harmful products? Let us know by commenting below.

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Profile image Written by Andries

This article was written by Andries, from Manomics is a men’s lifestyle blog that focuses on men’s grooming, fitness and health.