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  • Julianna Sweeney

9 Harmful Ingredients In Your Every Day Products To Look Out For

We use SO many products on a day to day basis. It can seem impossible to keep track of everything that we are putting in, on and around our bodies. Ever since my mom's second cancer diagnosis, my family has been much more cautious with these matters.

Experiencing the hell that cancer creates really changes your entire perspective on health - especially how external factors play a role. Through some preliminary research, the most surprising thing was in discovering that most of the products that we use every single day are infused with ingredients, fillers and chemicals that ARE KNOWN to be linked to various cancers and ailments.

I will preface this by saying that I don't know exactly what caused my mom's cancer, and for many people all over the world facing the same unfortunate, horrible affliction, we may never know an exact answer. What I do know is that if there is something that I can do to at least minimize the possibility of it happening to my loved ones or myself - especially in a natural way - I'm going to take it.

At the very least, I hope this post encourages you to take a closer look the next time you pick a product off the shelf or order your essentials online.


9 Harmful Ingredients In Your Every Day Products To Look Out For:


This chemical is used in many shampoos as a detergent, emulsifier and/or foaming agent. Aside from stripping your hair and scalp of their natural oils and leading to irritation, the main concern surrounding them is that they have the potential to form carcinogens that have ultimately been linked to things such as hormone disruption and kidney damage.

  • Check for this on the label: Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)


These additives are found in most name brand shampoos and conditioners and some soaps and are used as a preservative to prolong shelf life. Besides causing skin irritation, they have also been known to disrupt your natural hormone balance, affect your reproductive health and have been linked to in increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Check for this on the label: any words that end with "paraben" - butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, etc.

Polyethylene Glycols (PEGs)

These are used as thickening agents and stabilizers in shampoos, conditioners and toothpaste (often made from petroleum and other byproducts). The compounds have been classified as developmental toxins (damaging and/or disruptive to human Development) and has also been linked to numerous cancers

  • Check for this on the label: anything that has "PEG" and a number next to it


Found in toothpaste, soaps, conditioners, deodorants, and more, this ingredient has been linked to cancer, found as harmful to the human immune system and potentially contributes to the development of antibiotic resistant germs. It can also lead to infertility, depression, uncontrolled cellular reproduction and more.

  • Check for this on the label: triclosan


You know, that yellow-ish liquid you found in jars with animal parts in the science lab back in high school. Yeah, it can also be found in laundry and dish detergent, soaps, body washes, hair straightening treatments and more. The chemical has been proven to cause irritation and breathing and can to cancer.

  • Check for this on the label: Formaldehyde

Retinyl Palmitate

This ingredient has been linked to reproductive issues, cancer and toxicity as well as various skin issues. It is found in skincare products and sunscreens.

  • Check for this on the label: Retinyl Palmitate

Synthetic Fragrances and Colors

Did you know that the word "fragrance" is a loophole that manufacturers use in order to avoid listing what was used to create a fragrance in a product? Ultimately, you might never really know exactly what you're getting in certain products. Many chemicals found in these synthetic fragrances and colors have been found to lead to infertility, irritation, hair loss, breathing problems and even cancer.

  • Check for this on the label: look for the terms FD&C or D&C combined with a number

Dibutyl and Diethylhexyl Phthalates

These ingredients, found in products such as nail polish, insect repellent and hair spray, are known to disrupt hormones and damage reproductive systems which can lead to infertility. The most frustrating thing is that although they may be listed on some products as they are, they might also be hidden under the guise of "fragrance" - even if they make up 20% or more of the product.

  • Check for this on the label: Dibutyl Phthalates, Diethylhexyl Phthalates, terms FD&C or D&C with a number

M- and o-phenylenediamine

Used in hair dyes, these chemicals have been found to irritate and sensitize the skin, damage DNA and can cause cancer.

  • Check for this on the label: m-phenylenediamine, o-phenylenediamine


These are only a few of the dozens upon dozens of harmful chemicals that we are subject to regularly. Unfortunately these chemicals can be found in almost everything that we use day to day. It is almost impossible to completely rid yourself of all of these toxins. There are some products, however, that I have personally found to be worthy alternatives to the mainstream brands that I used to use - They are not all 100% free of all of the chemicals listed above - only some of them are. Others have only 1 or 2 of the ingredients. It's extremely difficult to find products that are completely clean and it is a process that I am continuing to work on.

I've put together a list below:

Some Safer And More Natural Alternatives:

I hope this helps you to become aware of some of the harmful ingredients that we let seep into our lives unintentionally. This is only the tip of the iceberg and there is still SO much more research to do on the part of the scientific community and myself as a consumer. My wish for you is to start doing some research of your own and just take a moment to read the ingredients on a label before you buy next time - you never know what you'll discover.

We don't know definitively what caused my mom's cancer or how to prevent it from ever happening to ourselves or our loved ones in the future. We do know, however, that there are at least certain things that we can modify and/or eliminate to minimize the risk and live a cleaner, healthier life. I wish nothing less for you and your loved ones as well.

Wishing you a healthy and happy week ahead!

Sending love always,




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