Navigating common ingredients in other body & skincare products

The importance of our skin is an often over-looked subject. This miraculous organ not only protects our internal structures and organs from the external environment, but also help with temperature regulation, synthesis of vitamin D, prevents loss of essential body fluids, excretes toxic waste through sweating, contributes to a healthy immune system & allows us to sense through touch. Seriously how amazing is that?!?!

Along with all of these incredible functions, the skin is our largest organ and according to the American Journal of Public Health, has the ability to absorb 64% of what we put on our skin!! This is why it is vital to ensure that we are nourishing, protecting & feeding our skin and essentially our body with only the best, most pure, natural ingredients possible.

At BARE, we know that navigating skin care labels can be so confusing in today’s society, which is why we only use REAL ingredients.

With the plethora of “clean labelling”, big fancy words and hidden nasties out there, it is hard to know what you are truly investing your money in and ultimately, what you are putting on your body’s largest organ, the skin.

To help you navigate the crazy world of personal care products, we have composed a list of common nasties to avoid.


Common additives to avoid in skincare products:

Aluminium – commonly found in anti-perspirant deodorants to control sweat. This compound is a known neurotoxin, meaning that it damages nerve tissues, leading to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. There is also mounting evidence showing aluminium deposits in breast cancer tissue samples.
Butoxyethanol – ether alcohol used as fragrant ingredient and solvent found in hair and nail products. Industrially it is used for asphalt release agents, car coolant, firefighting foam, degreaser, herbicides, whiteboard cleaners and so much more. Known to be fatal if inhaled, skin irritant, causes organ damage and potentially causes reproductive toxicity.
Butylated compounds (BHA, BHT) – used as a preservative. Commonly found in lip, hair, skin and sunscreen products as well as deodorants. Concern is endocrine disruption and organ toxicity. Shown to cause cancer in some animals.
Coal Tar Dyes (P-phenylenediamine and colours identified by “C.I.” followed by a five digit number) – used extensively to colour cosmetics. Recognised as a human carcinogen. This bad boy scores an ALARMING 10 on the EWG skin deep safety scale.
DEA compounds (diethanolamine) – used to make cosmetics creamy or ‘sudsy’ and acts as a pH adjuster. Found mainly in moisturisers, sunscreens, cleansers and shampoo. Known to cause mild to moderate eye and skin irritation. Laboratory experiments have found high doses of DEA to cause thyroid changes and liver cancer.
Formaldehyde – historically one of the ingredients used to preserve dead bodies. Commonly found in nail polish, hair dye, baby shampoo, fake eyelashes, soaps, lotions and sunscreens. Is labelled in the US as a known carcinogen (cancer causing agent).
Fragrance/parfum – an umbrella term used in cosmetics, cleaning and candle industries to disguise a host (up to a hundred or more) of undisclosed ingredients. Fragrance/parfum often contain phalates and are linked to allergies, reproductive concerns and cancer.
Hydroquinone – most commonly found in “skin lightening” products. Banned from cosmetics in the European Union due to its link to cancer.
Microbeads – found in facewash, exfoliators, toothpaste and body washes. These tiny plastic pieces, often made of endocrine disrupting phalates and BPA, mostly get flushed down the drain and into our waterways. They go on to absorb toxins in the environment, whilst also being toxic themselves, and are then eaten by our marine life, slowly making their way up to food chain to our dinner plates.
Oxybenzone – chemical sunscreen agent used to absorb UV light found in conventional sunscreens and many foundations. Known endocrine disruptor. Oxybenzone is a derivative of benzophenone which is often found in lip balms and nail polish and is noted to be bioaccumulative and linked to cancer. This nasty scores a whopping 8 on the EWG skin deep safety rating data base.
Parabens (Methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl-, isobutyl-) – commonly used as a preservative in body products and deodorants. Endocrine disrupting chemical which has been linked to interfering with gene expression and breast cancer. Hydroxybenzoate is a common paraben.
PEGs (polyethylene glycols) – petroleum (petrol) based polymer derivatives used to mix oil and water together and enhances skin penetration of products. Noted to be harmful and irritate skin (PUBCHEM). Likely contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which is a known carcinogen.
Petrolatum (mineral oils, petroleum jelly, liquid paraffin) - petroleum (petrol) based polymer derivatives used to mix oil and water together and creates a water repellent film on the skin. Is often derived from petrol that is not fully refined and thus can contain harmful toxins.
Phthalates – known endocrine disruptors, meaning that they mimic the body’s natural hormones which can create havoc in the body. Linked to reproductive concerns, lower sperm count, breast cancer, birth defects early onset menopause and early onset puberty. Primarily used to make plastics and toys but can be found in personal care products like shampoo, makeup, body wash.
Phenoxyethanol – used as a preservative in personal care products. Common reactions include skin, eye and lung irritation. It is also noted that it may be toxic to the liver, kidneys and nervous system. Classified as harmful or toxic by the European Union in products used around the mouth or lips. A 2008 warning from the FDA stated not to purchase a mother’s nipple cream product containing phenoxyethanol as it was depressing the nervous system causing vomiting and diarrhoea to the infant and could potentially cause extreme drowsiness in the child.
Quaternium/Polyquaternium-15 – often found in hair products. It is a formaldehyde releasing preservative. Known human skin toxicant and allergen.
Sulphates (SLS, sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium laurate) – a surfactant, detergent, and emulsifier used in cosmetic products as well as industrial cleaners. Present in most shampoos, facial cleansers, body wash and detergents. Almost 16,000 studies on this chemical have found various links to skin irritation, organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, cellular changes, possible mutations and cancer, and negative impacts to the brain and other organs. Likely contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which is a known carcinogen.
Talc – commonly found in makeup powders, baby powder, eyeshadow, face masks, deodorant. Used to absorb moisture, prevent caking, and create smooth products. Some talc may contain the carcinogen asbestos. Other risks include respiratory irritation and endometrial cancer. The EWG highlight that even asbestos-free talc can be toxic and carcinogenic.

Triclosan – most often found in liquid soaps and toothpaste. Banned in 2016 from some soaps due to its toxicity, this powerful pesticide is still used in toothpastes, deodorants, shaving gels, over-the-counter antiseptic products, antibacterial soaps, and many other personal care products. According to the EWG, triclosan has been found in the bodies of ¾ of Americans and has been linked to endocrine disruption. Furthermore, it is often washed down the drain and subsequently ends up in waterways which can negatively affect our environment and marine life.



Whilst this list is daunting, unfortunately it is not exhaustive. These are the most common culprits we feel that should be avoided. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any further information. Our aim is to take the confusion out of reading ingredient labels & empower you with information so that you can make informed decisions when it comes to YOUR health.




Candice & Matty

bare by bauer blog post natural ingredients

Information sourced from:


PubChem -

Campaign for safe cosmetics -

Dr Mercola -


  • I never thought how our skin would absorb all these nasties! wow!! thank you for this list

  • Just went through my bathroom, and sadly there is so much rubbish in my products :( thank you so much for this. Its so simple! and will make it so easy for shopping in the future :)


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