Did you know that your skin absorbs 60% of the topical products you apply? The average American uses approximately 12 personal care products each day and is exposed to as many as 126 unique chemicals from those products1. If the brands you use don’t provide full transparency on their ingredients, you may unknowingly be putting any number of toxic substances on your skin and consequently, into your body. These ingredients could potentially cause health issues that range anywhere from skin irritation to allergies and hormone disruption.

So how do you know that you’re seeing every, exact ingredient listed on the label? MyChelle uses standards set by the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) to provide full ingredient transparency on every product formulation. That includes using International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) ingredient labeling to provide the standardized, science-based names that are recognized internationally as a way to identify ingredients. These labeling standards give the beauty industry the ability to track the safety of ingredients efficiently on a global scale. That’s why you’ll see some very science-y looking names on our product labels. You won’t just see ‘rose’ as an ingredient, you’ll see the full ingredient name for the specific part of the rose that we’re using (e.g. Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil).

You always want to know what’s in your products, but it’s important to know what’s not in them as well! Read on below for some of the common toxic ingredients found in skin care and cosmetics and the clean, safe alternatives we choose to use instead.


The most commonly used synthetic preservatives in skin, hair, and body care. Parabens have been shown to easily absorb into the skin and may bioaccumulate once absorbed. Some studies indicate that parabens mimic estrogen and disrupt hormones, and have been found in breast cancer tissue3.

MyChelle’s Safe Alternatives: D-Alpha Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Plantservative from Honeysuckle

Sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate)

Sulfates are used to make products “sudsy” and are the most common foaming agent in health and beauty products. Sulfates corrode skin cells by breaking down lipids and proteins, irritating and drying out the skin.

MyChelle’s Safe Alternatives: Sugar Compounds, Coconut Oil Compounds

Benzoyl Peroxide

You’ll recognize this ingredient in many acne care products as it kills bacteria, but its use can come at a cost. Irritation, peeling, and dryness are a common outcome of using Benzoyl Peroxide on the skin and in some cases, can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

MyChelle’s Safe Alternatives: Totarol™, Willow Bark, Tea Tree Oil, Sulphur, Zinc, Lemongrass


Ureas are common synthetic preservatives, humectants, and buffering agents in skin care and cosmetic products, which means that they help prevent microbes from growing in water-based products, help maintain moisture, and help maintain the acidity of a solution. Urea can be absorbed through the skin and may release formaldehyde—a known carcinogen, gastrointestinal and liver toxicant, and neurotoxin.

MyChelle’s Safe Alternatives: Enzymes, Amino Acids, Oregano, Fruit Extracts

Artificial Colors

These petroleum-based, synthetic ingredients are found in almost every personal care product. Synthetic colors contain carcinogenic properties, can cause irritation, and have been linked to allergies.

MyChelle’s Safe Alternatives: No added color; just 100% natural coloring from vitamins, herbs, fruits, and flowers.

For info on more toxic ingredients to look out for in your skin care and beauty products, check out the Breaking Bad page on our site, where you can download a free PDF version to keep for reference.

Want to learn more about the ingredients we choose to use, and not to use? Email us at community@mychelle.com and we’ll be happy to chat!