The Dirty 30


When it comes to skincare, we are all trying to find the right product to protect our exposed-to-the-elements skin. So of course, when we think skin-care products, we think healthier skin. But some products mislead you and consumer habits are often misinformed. Today, many skin-care products are made with dangerous and unhealthy products for our skin to absorb.

Luckily, MyChelle Dermaceuticals, a company focused on finding natural and effective alternatives to harmful chemicals, shared their list of “The Dirty 30” ingredients to help us identify products that are actually harmful to our skin. These “dirty” ingredients can cause allergic reactions, severe irritation, and endocrine dysfunction; they may even put you at risk of developing cancer. They should be avoided.

Look for and avoid products containing these harmful ingredients:
01. Acetone: the active ingredient in nail polish remover
02. Artificial (synthetic) colors: labeled FD&C or D&C with a color and then number
03. Benzalkonium chloride: a preservative
04. Benzene: used in aftershave and is an additive in many skin care products
05. Benzoyl peroxide: used to treat acne
06. Coal tar: primarily in products used to treat psoriasis
and dandruff
07. Diethanolamine(DEA),Triethanolamine(TEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA): used as emulsifiers and foaming agents
08. Ethylenediamine: used in a variety of products including moisturizers, sunscreens, and deodorant
09. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): a common preservative
10. Formaldehyde: created when other synthetic ingredients are used including quanternium-15, DMDM, and ureas
11. Fragrances(synthetic): often made up of thousands of different chemicals to create one compound
12. Isopropyl alcohol: most dangerous in skin care cleansers
13. Lanolin: only the pure form should be used
14. Mineral oil: derived from petroleum
15. Monoethanolamine (MEA): chemical that adjusts skin pH
16. Nitrosamines: toxic impurities formed when chemicals such as DEA and TEA are used in cosmetics and skin care products
17. Octyldimethyl PABA (also known as padimate-O or p-aminobenzoic acid): often used in sunscreens
18. Parabens (methyl-, propyl, butyl-, and ethyl-): most common preservatives used in skin care products
19. Petrolatum (petroleum jelly): suffocates the skin
20. Phenylenediamine (PPD): commonly used in hair dyes
21. Phthalates: simply labeled as “fragrances” or used in nail polish, hair spray, and perfumes
22. Polyethylene glycol (PEG): a chemical used to make things thicker or stickier
23. Propylene glycol (PG): commonly found in moisturizers
24. Quaternium 15: a preservative that also creates toxic
by-products such as formaldehyde
25. Sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate: often disguised in “natural” products as a coconut derivative that is extracted using harmful petroleum solvents
26. Sodium cyanide: toxic chemical used to help create EDTA
27. Stearalkonium chloride:often used in hair conditioners
and creams
28. Talc/talcum powder: proven to cause respiratory problems in people and cancer in laboratory animals
29. Triclosan: often used in antibacterial cleansers and toothpaste
30. Ureas (imidazolidinyl, diazolidinyl, and/or DMDM): most commonly used preservatives after parabens

Resources for understanding the chemicals commonly found in cosmetic products and a rating system for product safety is available at:


Last modified: October 3, 2012

4 Responses to :
The Dirty 30

  1. mari lapointe says:

    well, such a list can only be greeted with some sort of natural-material dustpan, to scoop up our chins from the floor, where the list left them dropping …. uh, I guess this pretty much leaves people, mostly women, to go traipsing off to retail land to find those products labelled “all natural” and “no harmful ingredients” or “not tested on animals”. Then, there is the little problem with the fact that there are no real testers, examiners, investigators, regulations or regulators, nothing between women and those people they buy stuff for, and the smutty, greedy corporate (usually a strong male presence) types who have no one stopping them from paying admen to put out attractive campaigns to sell us stuff, regardless of the truths behind what is and what isn’t healthy for our bodies, and the earth that is supposed to support our presence without any reason to resent us. I truly don’t know what to do with this dirty 30 list, since it starts to incriminate itself with inclusion of “talc”, yes, I know it’s bad for lungs and the first thing women need to know is that we can change a diaper without giving the kid lung cancer in 20 yrs, and that fluffing ourselves with bath talc really doesn’t make us cleaner, it just gives us a perfume rush (see other ingredients for artificial fragrance, talc dispersants, etc) and helps us feel better about being dirty-skinned at that time. Please, at least amend your list to affix vital information about why each list chemical or mineral is specifically harmful or dangerous, otherwise, you run serious risk of teaching your readers that you are trying to scare folks unnecessarily, and since sodium laureth sulfates are in every single (yes, I checked) shampoo at the Food Lion and at the Walmart, it truly doesn’t seem rational to think we’re all supposed to just smack an egg in our hair in the shower to wash it with. I raise poultry so I hate to waste a life on my hair, anyway. Or, how about developing this list in such a way as to have at least a paragraph of background information on every chemical/mineral, the worst offending producers/sellers and where people can write to protest current manufacturing or mining practices, and if at all possible, what real world alternatives do you know of to the use of the offending item. Sort of a click-on list, and a companion list of our most common household cleansers and toiletries, with a clickon component to let us see what is usually most objectionable in them and why these are bad, possibly what natural or unharmful alternatives are used. All I keep seeing is that little booklet, “1001 things you can do with apple cider vinegar” and that would get a bit smelly, wouldn’t it?

  2. Cyndy Gimble says:

    Response from jill wigand to mari lapointe’s query?

  3. Jennifer says:

    This article might help explain some of this for you. We added this list to supplement what we didn’t print. Hope it helps clear things up and helps identify some of those available alternatives.

    Full disclosure: I use shampoo and lotions that contain several of these dirty 30 ingredients.

  4. Prapti Hinge says:

    Coconut Derivatives Market Size, Share And Global Trend By Type (Coconut Oil, Coconut Water, Coconut Milk), By Nature (Conventional,Organic), By Application (Food&Beverage, Cosmetics), And Geography Forecast Till 2026
    View more info:

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