Can Chemicals in Cosmetics Cause Cancer?

skin cancer in cosmetics

Many are transitioning to natural, organic, or homemade products because they fear toxic ingredients. In order to make a profit some companies use less expensive ingredients or pump in tons of preservatives which can be toxic to our bodies.

As if infertility and intense skin reactions aren’t enough some ingredients found in cosmetics can cause cancer. Carcinogens are ingredients or things you are exposed to that could possibly cause cancer. Carcinogens create cancer in the body by mutating cells and damaging DNA.

Here are a few things you should know about this serious disease:

  • Cancer can develop at any age.
  • In 2011, over 900 people died from cancer per day.
  • Studies show cancer can be linked to lifestyle.
  • There are 200 types of cancer and they each have different causes.
  • A person can also be diagnosed with cancer from the environment.  

Common Carcinogens


Why avoid Phthalates? Excessive exposure to Phthalates disrupts the endocrine system which is responsible for delivering hormones to the body. This ingredient can cause young women to enter puberty more rapidly which is linked to developing cancer later in life.

What are Phthalates used for? This chemical is used to make things feel softer. It is used on plastics and are found in many products outside the cosmetic industry.

Phthalates are found in: Nail Polish, Fragrances, products with synthetic fragrance (moisturizers, cleansers, serums etc.)


Why avoid Triclosan? This chemical is actually classified as a pesticide and can affect the body’s thyroid hormones. When the thyroid doesn’t work properly the breast tissue have issue developing properly.

What is Triclosan used for? This chemical is used as a preservative. It inhibits bacteria growth so products don’t spoil.

Triclosan is found in: Antibacterial soap, deodorant, toothpaste.


Why avoid parabens? Women who were diagnosed with breast cancer had traces of parabens present on their breast tissue. Some women are now on the hunt for paraben free deodorants since the product is applied so close to the breasts.

What are parabens used for? Parabens are used to lengthen a products shelf life.

Parabens are found in: Creams, lotions, ointments, deodorants etc.

Ethylene Oxide

Why avoid ethylene oxide? Ethylene Oxide has been linked to breast cancer in animals. It is one of 51 ingredients that is documented by the National Toxicology Program as a carcinogen.

What is ethylene oxide used for? This ingredient is used as a buffering agent in products that create suds. Sulfates are commonly used in cosmetics to make suds but can be very drying to the skin. Ethylene Oxide is added to reduce the risk of irritation.

Ethylene oxide is found in: Shampoos, body washes

Your skin is the largest organ, so large it actually has its own name (the integumentary system) and like the rest of your body should be handled with care. Despite how great a product performs it is important to check the formula to ensure your health isn’t at risk. Believe it or not there are many brands that perform effectively without toxins but it is up to you to do your research!

Skincare Watchdog is an informative website that separates skincare breakthroughs from skin care scams. As humans, beauty has always been high on our list of priorities and unfortunately companies find ways to profit from it. The Skincare Watchdog site offers:

  • Product Reviews
  • Company Reviews
  • Skin Care Advice
  • Ingredient Information

Find out what when it’s time to open your wallet and when it’s time to run, visit Skin Care Watchdog and get the real on skin care.


Source: Cancer Research UK