What are we feeding our skin?

In a world full of choices, sometimes we need a little info to help in our decisions and eliminate choice fatigue. What are we feeding our skin and bodies? Knowledge is power – let’s use our power for the good of all!

Check your products!

(compiled from the David Suzuki Foundation)


Butylated hydroxyanisole and Butylated hydroxytoluene – used as preservatives in moisturizers and other cosmetics. Long-term exposure to high doses of BHT is toxic in mice and rats, causing liver, thyroid and kidney problems.

  • can induce allergic reactions
  • possible human carcinogen
  • evidence of hormone interference


diethyl phthalate – widely used as fragrance ingredients in cosmetics. As trade secrets, manufacturers do not have to disclose specific chemicals. The best way to avoid phthalates is to avoid products with “parfum” or “fragrance” as ingredients.

  • Suspected of causing reproductive problems.


Fragrance – as an ingredients, usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals. Some 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances, and in nearly every type of personal care product. Even products marketed as “fragrance-free” or “unscented” may in fact contain fragrance along with a masking agent that prevents the brain from perceiving odour.

Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives

DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15 and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate37- used as a preservative.

  • releases small amounts of formaldehyde, a carcinogen
  • can also irritate skin and eyes and trigger allergies

Paraben, Methylparaben, Butylparaben and Propylparaben

most widely used as a preservative in cosmetics. Studies indicate that methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage.

  • estimated 75 to 90 per cent of cosmetics contain parabens
  • can easily penetrate skin
  • suspected of interfering with hormone function
  • have been detected in human breast cancer tissues


DEA, cocamide DEA and lauramide DEA – used to make cosmetics creamy or sudsy.


MEA (monoethanolamide) and TEA (triethanolamine) are related chemicals. Like DEA, they can react with other chemicals in cosmetics to form carcinogens.

  • shown to cause liver cancers
  • precancerous changes in skin and thyroid
  • can cause skin and eye irritation

Coal Tar Dyes

p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number – used extensively in cosmetics, generally identified by a five-digit Colour Index (CI) number, may also be listed as FD&C Blue No. 1 or Blue 1.

  • is a mixture of many chemicals
  • derived from petroleum, recognized as a carcinogen
  • may be contaminated with heavy metals, toxic to brain


also known as mineral oil jelly – used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in hair care products to make hair shine. Can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). European Union classifies petrolatum a carcinogen.

  • exposure to PAHs is associated with cancer
  • can be irritating to skin


cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane and cyclomethicone, “–siloxane” or “–cone.” Also known as D4 and D5 – used in moisturizers and facial treatments to soften, smooth and moisten. Exposure to high doses have been shown to cause uterine tumours and harm to the reproductive and immune systems.

  • evidence that they interfere with human hormone function
  • possible reproductive toxicant that may impair human fertility

PEGs (polyethylene glycols)

petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cream bases for cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners and moisture-carriers.

  • may be contaminated dioxane
  • dioxane is classified as a possible human carcinogen
  • acts as a “penetration enhancers”, allowing easier absorption of harmful chemicals

46 of 100 personal care products marketed as “natural” or “organic” (uncertified), were found to be contaminated with dioxane.

Take this with you

Download this handy reference to take with you when you’re out and about.

cremeFRESH Ingredient Checklist

Besides focusing on making pure products, cremeFRESH values your ability to choose. Through education about the chemicals listed, we feel we are empowering you to make the right choices – for you, your children, your animals and the earth – xoxo

If your salon or spa is interested in offering natural products, joining the cosmetic revolution towards holistic anti-aging and information sharing, please contact us for wholesale pricing.




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