Clean Beauty Guide: Top 3 Ingredients to Avoid

In a world where we are hyper-sensitive about what we put into our bodies, you think we would be equally concerned about what we put onto it. It’s important to remember that, when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, what you put onyour body is just as significant as what you put in it. Conscious exercise and eating can only do so much when, at the end of the day, a host of chemicals are lathered onto your face and body.

The skin is the largest organ of the human body, and since it is porous, it absorbs whatever is put on it. Of the 82,000 common ingredients used in personal care products, such as skincare, bath, and beauty products, 14,000 of them have been found to be toxic, industrial-level chemicals. As consumers, it is critical to monitor the labels and ingredients on our products before we introduce our body to carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and pesticides—especially considering that a majority of mainstream body care products contain this toxic cocktail of harsh chemicals without seeking to hide it.

Clean beauty means a consumer can trust and use a product without risking their health. Clean beauty means transparent labels with only safe, nontoxic, and simple ingredients. The idea of reading complicated ingredient lists can be overwhelming, especially with ingredients that are unrecognizable and barely pronounceable. However, the first step to incorporating cleaner personal care products is to start learning.

Top 3 Ingredients to Avoid


Parabens are a type of preservative, first introduced in the 50s, to preserve shelf life in a variety of health and beauty products. Parabens prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, allowing products to last for months, even years, in our bathroom cabinets.

However, numerous studies have confirmed that parabens mimic estrogen in the human body. What does this mean? By mimicking estrogen, parabens disrupt normal hormone function, triggering a hormonal imbalance that increases cell division and even the growth of tumors. When parabens penetrate the skin, they can then remain within the tissue. In addition, parabens have been linked to thyroid cancers, reproductive organ harm, hormone-related cancers, and obesity. Recently, early exposure to parabens through beauty products has even been linked to early onset puberty in girls. Finally, parabens are not great for the skin, either—they increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, which causes premature aging.

Fragrances and Phthalates

The word fragrance on ingredient lists is a catchall term that can disguise up to 3,000 synthetic or natural chemicals used to make beauty products smell amazing. Fragrances help make these beauty products distinctive; therefore, fragrances are considered to be trade secrets and do not have to be disclosed. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to help these fragrances last longer and make plastics more pliable. As a result, when you spy the vague ingredient fragrance listed on a product, it is likely that there are phthalates lurking as well. Diethylphthalate (DEP) is the most common solvent and fixative used to keep fragrances, but you will also see DBP, DEMP, or DMP. Look for anything with phthalate ending as the suffix.

Phthalates are suspected carcinogens linked to reproductive and hormonal harm, obesity, type 2 diabetes, reduced sperm count, breast cancers, infertility, and cardiovascular events. They have been linked to possible endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and ADHD. While the proof seems to be undeniable at this point, the FDA has not acknowledged phthalates as a harmful ingredient.


Sulfates are responsible for the bubbles and lather in cleansers like shampoo, and they act as a cleanser, removing dirt and oil. Sulfates come from a salt that forms when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical. It’s a broader term for other synthetic sulfate-based chemicals you may be concerned about, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). These compounds are produced from petroleum and plant sources, such as coconut and palm oil.

Sulfates are not inherently toxic, and there is still debate about whether they are carcinogenic or not. However, they are known to be extremely irritating to the skin and the eyes, ultimately drying and damaging both skin and hair. Additionally, as hormone disruptors, sulfates are also believed to cause acne. Though sulfates are not yet known to cause long-lasting bodily harm, they are still not beneficial to the skin.

Fawn Organics offers a variety of luxurious bath and body products always formulated without parabens, phthalates, and sulfates to nourish your skin and protect your body. We believe safety should never be sacrificed for effectiveness, and at Fawn Organics, we have found products that combine both. From lavender-scented body butters and scrubs to artisanal soap bars, baths salts, and bath bombs—Fawn Organics provides clean and cruelty-free alternatives that work.


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