Health One Family Medicine

Common Skincare Ingredients that Are Linked to Cancer

The laws governing the skincare and cosmetics industry are very limited. You will be surprised to know that some known cancer-causing ingredients are allowed in beauty products. How can you ensure you don’t buy a product that puts you at risk of developing cancer? You read the ingredient list!

Let’s take a look at the list of carcinogens in skincare products. These ingredients can cause cancer and are commonly found in skincare products that we use regularly.

A List of Carcinogens in Skin Care Products

1. Coal Tar

Coal tar is a by-product of coal processing and is a known carcinogen. Still, it is used in cosmetic products such as hair dyes, dandruff and scalp treatments, shampoos and treatment for skin conditions like redness and rosacea.

Coal tar was first linked to cancer when young chimney sweeps started suffering from scrotal cancer due to exposure. Coal tar can also cause lung, kidney, digestive tract and bladder cancers. Exposure to coal tar can also lead to bladder, lung and skin tumors and cause non-cancer issues such as reproductive toxicity.

2. Parabens

Parabens are the most talked about skincare ingredients to avoid. They are found in beauty products such as moisturizers, shampoos, spray-tan products, shaving creams and makeup. The FDA has acknowledged several studies that claim parabens can cause breast and skin cancer and decreased sperm count.

Parabens are added to most products to prevent bacteria from growing in your product, but they are extremely dangerous. Studies have shown parabens can disrupt the endocrine. This means they can upset your hormones and alter your growth, development, and reproduction.

3. Triclosan

Triclosan is a famous carcinogen found in over-the-counter cosmetics. As with parabens, manufacturers add them to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination. You can find triclosan in body washes, toothpaste and antibacterial soaps.

According to the FDA, high levels of triclosan can affect thyroid hormones and cause germs to grow. Research is currently being conducted to study the long-term effects of triclosan on the development of skin cancer.

4. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde and chemicals containing formaldehyde are common carcinogens in skincare products, hair straightening products, nail polishes, shampoos, lotions, and shower gels. If humans are exposed to high amounts of formaldehyde, it can put them at a higher risk for developing cancers.

Formaldehyde can cause allergic reactions, as well as irritation to the eyes and respiratory system. Using products with formaldehyde can also increase the amount of the carcinogen in the air, which can be considered hazardous.

5. Contaminated Talc

In 2019, the FDA advised consumers to avoid using certain cosmetic products because they tested positive for asbestos. A lot of these products contained talc.

Talc can be found in various makeup products such as eye shadows, contour powders, bronzers and blushes. But talc may pose a health risk if it is contaminated with asbestos. Both talc and asbestos are natural minerals in the Earth that often occur close together, so contamination is very likely. Even though talc itself is safe, asbestos is a known cancer-forming chemical and can contaminate untested talc used in certain cosmetics.

Be Smart With Your Beauty Products

At Health One Family Medicine, we always place more emphasis on overall wellness, since a healthy body will automatically look beautiful. Now that you are aware of carcinogens in skincare products, be sure to check the list of ingredients before you purchase any beauty product. To make an appointment with a Health One Family Medicine practitioner, visit our website: or call us at (469)262-5762 today.

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