7 Cosmetic Ingredients That Are Bad For The Environment - Green Tidings

7 Cosmetic Ingredients That Are Bad For The Environment


Did you know that the chemicals and ingredients found in most standard deodorants, sunscreens, shampoos, and cosmetic products can cause harm to our bodies and the environment? Before you pick up that same old deodorant you’ve been using since high school, it may be wise to browse the ingredients list on the back of the product. Chances are, you’ll find a plethora of toxic chemicals that you never even knew existed! That’s why, in this blog, we’re going to take a closer look at seven harmful cosmetic ingredients you should keep an eye out for the next time you walk down the skincare aisle at the store.  

At Green Tidings, we understand how challenging it can be to find environmentally friendly and safe products online. All of our products, from our all natural deodorants to our body oils and lip balms, are carefully created using safe and non-toxic ingredients. When you purchase one of our natural beauty or skincare products, you can rest assured that you’re spending your money on certified cruelty-free and natural products. Shop our online store today!

Exfoliating Microbeads

If you own any exfoliating face or body washes, there’s a good chance they were made using polyethylene. This plastic substance can be used to create scrubbing beads, and unlike other natural or organic products that use sea salts to exfoliate, polyethylene gives these products that illusion of natural exfoliation while polluting our rivers and lakes. According to a recent scientific survey, these tiny bits of plastic have been found to gather in Lake Erie and Lake Superior, among other bodies of water. Not only will you find this harmful ingredient in your face wash, you’ll also find it in your lip gloss, eyeliner, shampoo, deodorant, and more.

In addition to polluting our waterways, these beads are also being eaten by fish and other wildlife, which can cause harm to their digestive tracts. When shopping for natural skincare and beauty products, keep an eye out for these harmful ingredients on the label:

  • Contains microbeads
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyethylene


Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) are two closely related chemicals that can be found in skincare products and foods. Often used in cosmetics and personal care products such as shampoos, body lotions, and deodorants, these chemicals have been found to be extremely toxic. BHT and BHA have been linked to a variety of health problems including skin irritation and organ-system toxicity. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies BHA has a possible human carcinogen. Under the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, BHA is listed as a chemical of potential concern, noting its toxicity to aquatic organisms. Likewise, a United Nations Environment Program assessment noted that BHT had a moderate to high potential for bioaccumulation in aquatic species as well.


Triclosan is another toxic chemical that can cause harm to our bodies and the environment. Used in a variety of antibacterial products such as hand cleansers, deodorants, and even laundry detergent, triclosan has been linked to an increase in antibiotic resistant organisms. When flushed down the skin or toilet, triclosan can change the biochemistry of amphibians, fish, and aquatic plants. The European Union has classified this ingredient as having the potential to cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.

Synthetic Fragrances

As you may already know, fragrances are one of the most sensitizing ingredients in most modern cosmetics. Synthetic fragrances are often found to be additives in perfumes, moisturizers, deodorants, and more. According to a 2005 study, the variety of ingredients that can be used to make up a particular fragrance can be harmful to the marine environment. Since wastewater treatment plants don’t break them down well, they can slip into the rivers and oceans via sewage discharge.

Siloxanes (Silicones)

Often used in anti-aging products, creams, lotions, hair care products, and more, siloxanes are slowly seeping into our environment. A 2005 Norwegian Institute for Air Research and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute reported high levels of siloxanes were found in samples taken from several Nordic countries. The detectable levels were also found within fish, raising alarm about the bioaccumulation of these chemicals. It was also discovered that when applied to our bodies, this harmful chemical can volatilize or release into the air in addition to contaminating our waterways.

Chemical Sunscreens

Did you know that chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone are toxic to coral and are contributing to the sharp decline of reefs around the world? Studies have found high concentrations of this harmful chemical around coral reefs in Hawaii and the Caribbean, where it has been found to alter coral DNA and acts as an endocrine disruptor.

As you can see, there are many toxic cosmetic ingredients that cause harm to the environment. If you’re looking for natural deodorant, lip balm or body oils, be sure to check out Green Tidings’ large online selection of natural products today!

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