The "No Thanks" Ingredients List

Updated January 8th, 2019.

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The NO THANKS list is a robust list of ingredients that you will never find in Healthiest approved products. We’ve done the research for you and vetted thousands of products to ensure they are the healthiest for you and your family.

Time to say NO THANKS to these ingredients:

1,4-dioxane: a contaminant created when common ingredients are mixed together and react and are therefore not found on ingredient labels. It is considered a probable human carcinogen, toxic to organs and the respiratory system, and a skin irritant. Likely to be present where ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate, PEGs, ceteareth, xynol, and oleth are listed on ingredient labels. Found in products that create suds: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Acetone: a powerful solvent most commonly used to remove nail polish. It can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation and non-reproductive organ system toxicity. Persistent use can result in endocrine disruption and neurotoxicity.

Aluminum: Often used in antiperspirant and aluminum powder (finely ground particles of aluminum are used as a colorant in some make-ups). May lead to non-reproductive organ system toxicity.

Artificial Coloring (FD&C Red 27, FD&C blue, FD&CBlue 1, FD&CBlue 2, FD&CRed 40, FD&CYellow 5, FD&C, Yellow 6): Pigments from animal, plant, and synthetic sources used to color foods, cosmetics, and other products. Cochineal is from insects. Widely used FD&C and D&C colors are coaltar (bituminous coal) derivatives that are continuously tested on animals due to their carcinogenic properties. Alternatives: grapes, beets, turmeric, saffron, carrots, chlorophyll, annatto, alkanet.

Artificial Sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, saccharine, acesulfame): Used as a sugar substitute and found in a variety of foods and beverages. They are just as bad as sugar and can cause diabetes and obesity.

Avobenzone: A common ingredient found in sunscreen. According to the Global Healing Center, “avobenzone degrades in the sun, resulting in the release of free radicals that may actually increase the risk for cancer.”

Benzalkonium chloride: A disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant that is associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies. Found in sunscreens and moisturizers.

Benzoate (Sodium benzoate, Benzoic acid): A synthetic chemical and preservative commonly used in foods (fruit juices, sodas, salad dressings), pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. A small percentage of people are hypersensitive to sodium benzoate and can experience asthmatic attacks, hives, or other allergic reactions when they consume the preservative. A more common problem, however, is the combination of sodium benzoate and citric acid and/or ascorbic acid (vitamin C). When these ingredients combine, they form benzene, a cancer-causing chemical associated with leukemia and other blood cancers.  

Benzophenone: Often used in nail polish and sunscreen as a fragrance ingredient and to absorb UV light. It’s a possible human carcinogen and hormone disruptor.

BPA (Bisphenol A): Found in plastic bottles, plastic bottles, the lining of aluminum food cans, possibly in eyeshadow and styling gel. Maybe a hormone disruptor that may also alter DNA.

Butoxyethanol: A solvent used to control viscosity or a “fragrance” additive. It irritates skin and may cause cancer and reproductive toxicity. Found in fragrance and synthetic hair color.

BHA BUTYLATED HYDROXYANISOLE BHT (BUTYLATED HYDROXYTOLUENE): Synthetic antioxidants that are used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors and may cause liver damage. Found in chewing gum, lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.

Chlorine: Chlorine dioxide is used as a drinking water disinfection agent and as a bleaching agent for cellulose, paper pulp, flour, and oils. In water, it rapidly decomposes into the toxic disinfection byproducts chlorite and chlorate.

Chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs): One of the primary sources of global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer. This ozone layer depletion allows more UV rays into the earth which can cause skin cancer. CFCs were originally developed as refrigerants during the 1930s. Some of these compounds, especially trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) and dichlorodifluoromethane (CFC-12), are found in aerosol-spray propellants, solvents, and foam-blowing agents.

Corn maltodextrin: Often labeled as natural since it’s derived from plants, but it's highly processed food additive which can affect your blood sugar and gut bacteria. It is used as a filler or sweetener for powdered drinks, sports drinks, sauces, canned fruits, instant puddings, and gelatins.

Cyclic silicones include cyclotetrasiloxane (D4), cyclopentasiloxane (D5), cyclohexasiloxane (D6), and cyclomethicone. Cyclopentasiloxane, A lubricant solvent often used in hair products and cream deodorants. It is known to be an endocrine (hormone) disruptor and may impair human fertility.

Doxylamine Succinate: An antihistamine used to relieve symptoms of allergy, hay fever, and the common cold. This medication works by blocking certain natural substances (histamine, acetylcholine) that your body makes. It causes dry mouth, ataxia, urinary retention, drowsiness, memory problems, inability to concentrate, hallucinations, psychosis, and a marked increased sensitivity to external stimuli. Studies have shown it to cause both liver and thyroid cancer in mice. Found in Zyrtec, Benadryl, and sleep aids.

Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA): Surfactants and pH adjusters linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. It is found in hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, and pharmaceuticals.

Ethoxycinnmate: A chemical widely used in sunscreens and skin care products with SPF. It is a potential endocrine disruptor and studies in cells suggest it may impact hormones. It may also enhance the absorption of pesticides in the body.

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): A chelating (binding) agent that is added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. It is found in synthetic hair color and moisturizers.

Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives Antimicrobial preservatives that work by forming formaldehyde in cosmetic products. The formaldehyde-releasing preservatives can be absorbed through the skin and have been linked to cancer, allergic skin reactions, asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity., Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol [Bromopol] and several other preservatives are listed. Found in shampoo, body wash, and bubble bath.

Glycol Ethers: Solvents used as an ingredient in cleaning compounds, liquid soaps, and cosmetics. Exposure to high levels of the glycol ethers in humans results in narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage.

GMOs: A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques (i.e., a genetically engineered organism). GMOs are the source of medicines and genetically modified foods and are widely used in scientific research and to produce other goods.

Homosalate: A chemical widely used in sunscreens and skin care products with SPF. It is a potential endocrine disruptor and studies in cells suggest it may impact hormones. It may also enhance the absorption of pesticides in the body.

Hydroquinone: A skin lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation. Found in skin lightening creams.

Lead: Exposure to small amounts of lead over a long period of time is called chronic toxicity. Lead is particularly dangerous because once it gets into a person's system, it is distributed throughout the body just like helpful minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. Found in paints and some lipsticks.

Lilial (BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL): Lilial (butylphenyl methyl propanal) is a synthetic scent ingredient and is associated with allergies and contact dermatitis. Found in beauty products including perfumes, shampoos, deodorants, tanning lotions, and hair styling products.

Mercury (Thimerosal): Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative used in ear and eye drops and mascara.

Methyl cellosolve: A fragrance ingredient and solvent that is an irritant and a possible neurotoxin, developmental toxin, and cause of DNA mutations that could lead to cancer. Found in anti-aging creams.

Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone: Chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers, and causes of contact skin allergies. Found in shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.

Methylparaben: Member of the paraben family of preservatives used by the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries. Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.

Mineral Oils (liquid paraffin, liquid petrolatum, paraffin oil) - Mineral oil is a colorless and odorless oil that's made from petroleum—as a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. Mineral oil is considered “comedogenic,” which means it can clog your pores and increase the risk of acne and blackheads. It's long been used as a common ingredient in lotions, creams, ointments, and cosmetics.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG, also known as sodium glutamate, autolyzed yeast extract, Torula yeast ): A flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups, and processed meats. It's also one of the worst food additives on the market. It overstimulates the nervous system and can cause a variety of symptoms like burning sensations of the mouth, head, and neck, weakness of the arms or legs, headaches, upset stomach, hives or other allergic-type reactions with the skin.

Oxybenzone: Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization, and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. Found in sunscreen and moisturizer.

Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others): A class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Parabens mimic estrogen. They can lock on to our cell’s own estrogen receptors and mess with important natural signals. They may play a role in triggering breast cancer. Found in shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.

Peg 40: Hydrogenated Castor Oil is the polyethylene glycol derivatives of hydrogenated castor oil. It is an amber colored, slightly viscous liquid that has a naturally mildly fatty odor. It is used in cosmetics and beauty products as an emulsifier, surfactant, and fragrance ingredient, according to research. Organ system toxicity and contamination are of concern.

PEGS (polyethylene glycols): Petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on the manufacturing process they may contain measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxan which are known as human carcinogens.

Perchlorate: A colorless, odorless chemical most commonly found in rocket fuel that can damage thyroid function. It is also used to make other commercial items such as matches, dyes, pool chemicals, and fertilizers. You’re most likely to be exposed by ingesting food from contaminated soil, drinking contaminated water, breathing contaminated dust.

Petroleum: Petrolatum, or petroleum jelly, is often used in personal care products as a moisturizing agent. Properly refined petrolatum has no known health concerns, but often it is not fully refined in the US, which means it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals called PAHs. White Petrolatum is refined and safe for use.

Phenoxyethanol: A preservative used in cosmetic products and also as a stabilizer in perfumes and soaps. Exposure has been linked to reactions ranging from eczema to severe, life-threatening allergic reactions.

Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in synthetic fragrance, nail polish, and hairspray.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): An odorless and solid plastic. PVC contains high levels of chlorine and dioxins are released during the manufacturing, burning, or landfilling of the plastic. Exposure to PVC often includes exposure to phthalates, which are used to soften PVC and may have adverse health effects. Dioxins and phthalates are suspected to be endocrine disruptors.

Resorcinol: A colorant and fragrance ingredient that is a skin irritant, toxic to the immune system and organs, and suspected to cause hormone disruption. Found in hair color.

Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A): A nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Found in moisturizer and anti-aging skincare.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in shampoo, body wash, and bubble bath.

Sodium nitrite: A preservative that fights harmful bacteria in processed and cured meats. Under certain conditions in the human body, nitrite can damage cells and change into molecules that cause cancer.

Benzophenone: A fragrance ingredient and prevents UV light from damaging scents and colors in products like soaps and perfumes. It can also be added to plastic packaging as a UV blocker. Benzophenone and its derivatives (oxybenzone) are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and organ system toxicity.

PABA: Commonly used in sunscreens as UVB filters. Can alter thyroid activity and its derivatives may have other endocrine disrupting properties.

Synthetic flavor or fragrance: A engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000+ stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law's classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. Can be found in all types of cosmetics.

Triclosan and Triclocarban: Antimicrobial pesticides that are toxic to the aquatic environment and may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in liquid soap, soap bars, and toothpaste.

Toluene: A volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can cause birth defects. Found in nail polish.

Healthiest will never give a product the "Healthiest Stamp of Approval" to any products containing these ingredients.

Sources include: Environmental Working Group (EWG), Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, National Institute for Health (NIH).