Our Lengthy List of No-No Ingredients

Do you want fossil fuels on your face? Neither do we! Believe it or not, even luxury skin creams contain chemical fragrances, endocrine disruptors, emulsifiers, preservatives, and even artificial colorants and dyes.

Over 60% of what you put on your face goes directly into your bloodstream. These harmful chemicals can cause skin reactions, inflammation, and premature aging — all in the name of beauty.

It’s 2018. We shouldn’t have to choose between products that work and products that poison us. Read on for an extensive list of ingredients we intentionally leave out of our formulas. LXMI’s labs only use ingredients ranked no higher than a “1” on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Index (the leading non-profit authority on toxic ingredients in skincare) — rendering our skincare safe enough to eat.*

A — F

Benzalkonium chloride

A disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies.

Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers.


Used in personal care products such as lip balm and nail polish to protect the products from UV light. Derivatives of benzophenone, such as benzophenone-2 (BP2) and oxybenzone (benzophenone-3 or BP3) are common ingredients in sunscreen. Benzophenone is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT). These chemicals are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and organ system toxicity.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

Most plastics contain chemical additives, such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates, thought to possibly increase incidences of endometriosis. Even though a product is advertised as phthalates-free or BPA-free, those chemicals can leach into the product from its packaging.


Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used as preservatives in a variety of personal care products. Both of these chemicals are also used as preservatives in foods. These chemicals are linked to several health concerns including endocrine disruption and organ-system toxicity.

Chemical Sunscreens

Includes Oxybenzone, Methylexylcinnamate. These can possibly cause skin discoloration due to a higher internal skin temperature. Also, it changes UV rays into heat which can exacerbate flushing in rosacea-prone skin types.

Coal tar

Coal tar is a known carcinogen derived from burning coal. It is a complex mixture of hundreds of compounds, many of which are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Coal tar is used in food, textiles, cosmetics and personal care products. Experimental studies have found that application of and exposure to coal tar produce skin tumors and neurological damage.


1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen linked to organ toxicity, may be found in as many as 22 percent of the more than 25,000 cosmetics products in the Skin Deep database [1], but you won’t find it on ingredient labels. That’s because 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant created when common ingredients react to form the compound when mixed together. It's typically found in products that create suds (such as shampoo, liquid soap, bubble bath). Look for sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth and oleth on the label.

Disodium EDTA

EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is a chelating agent, used to sequester and decrease the reactivity of metal ions that may be present in a product.


Ethanolamines are present in many consumer products ranging from cosmetics, personal care products and household cleaning products. Both have been linked to liver tumors. The European Commission prohibits diethanolamine (DEA) in cosmetics, to reduce contamination from carcinogenic nitrosamines.


Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs) are used in many personal care products, particularly in shampoos and liquid baby soaps. These chemicals, which help prevent microbes from growing in water-based products, can be absorbed through the skin and have been linked to cancer and allergic skin reactions.

G — P


On skin care ingredient labels, primary sources of gluten are listed as Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil or Extract and Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids.

There have been some reports of allergic reaction after using a soap containing hydrolyzed wheat protein.


Butylene glycol — is used in literally thousands of skin care and personal care products. One of the reasons for such wide adoption is that this chemical is relatively cheap, and because it has such a wide variety of effects on the skin. Although butylene glycol has many benefits for the skin, one of the likeliest side effects from this chemical is the potential for skin irritation. Several studies suggest that this ingredient can cause a rash around the eyes and other forms of irritation in individuals with sensitive skin. Further, it may even cause irritation of the respiratory passages if it is accidentally inhaled from products like hair spray or skin mist sprayers.

Hexylene Glycol — is a solvent and viscosity agent used in many skin care products. It is used to thin out heavy compositions and create a thinner, more spreadable product.

Propylene Glycol — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed propylene glycol as “generally recognized as safe. One typical adverse reaction to propylene glycol includes mild skin irritation. Usually, this happens in people who are allergic to the chemical and subsides after a short period of time after the body has had time to break down the compound.


Hydroquinone is most commonly used in skin lighteners, products heavily marketed towards women of color. It is linked to cancer and organ-system toxicity.


Lanolin cream is mostly comprised of lanolin oil, which is extracted from sheep’s wool. The oil occurs naturally within the wool and is taken out before the wool is processed to make clothing and other products. While a lanolin cream has a number of beneficial properties when it comes to healing and moisturizing dry, cracked skin, people who are considering its use should be aware that lanolin oil has been known to cause allergic reactions in those individuals with sensitive skin. Because lanolin oil is derived from sheep’s wool, people who have allergies to wool should not use any cream that contains lanolin.

Methyl Cellosolve

This solvent is used in anti-aging creams, moisturizers, and serums. According to the EWG, methyl cellosolve is a neurotoxin that causes DNA mutation. It’s an obscure ingredient that is sometimes not explicitly listed on labels. It has been banned in Canada and restricted in the EU.


Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) may be hard to pronounce, but they can be even harder on the body. These common preservatives are found in many liquid personal care products, and have been linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions and possible neurotoxicity.


Tiny Polyethylene Beads

Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil is a liquid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum. Possible human immune system toxicant or allergen (only for products that may be aerosolized (airborne)).


Nitrates and nitrites are chemicals used to preserve foods, prevent deadly botulism infection, enhance flavors, and color. In some people, sodium nitrite can trigger allergic reactions, development of hives, runny nose or asthma.


Parabens are preservatives used in a wide variety of personal care products and foods to prevent the growth of microbes. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be absorbed through skin, blood and the digestive system.


PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. While carcinogenic contaminants are the primary concern, PEG compounds themselves show some evidence of genotoxicity, and if used on broken skin can cause irritation and systemic toxicity.


(DBP, DEHP, DEP and others). Pronounced THAL-ates, these chemicals, which are linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer, have been banned from cosmetics in the European Union, but still remain prevalent in U.S. products.


Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative in cosmetic products and also as a stabilizer in perfumes and soaps. Exposure to phenoxyethanol has been linked to reactions ranging from eczema to severe, life-threatening allergic reactions. Infant oral exposure to phenoxyethanol can acutely affect nervous system function.

Q — Z


Retinol is the chemical name of the essential micronutrient vitamin A which can be harmful to your health when it’s added to cosmetic products in certain forms. Two derivatives – retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate – should be avoided in cosmetics and personal care products while retinol itself should not be used at high doses.


Silicones give products a silky, spreadable, texture — filling in crevices to make skin look and feel smoother. This will make you think the product is working, even though it's only a temporary, surface effect. Silicones form a barrier on top of your skin that locks in moisture, but also can trap dirt, sweat, bacteria, sebum, dead skin cells and other debris.


(SLS And SLES). Sulfur can be found naturally on earth, but for manufacturing it’s generally produced using petrolatum. There are hundreds of varieties of sulfates, but sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are the ones most commonly used in personal care products. In some people, sulfates can temporarily aggravate the skin, causing redness, dryness and itching.

Synthetic fragrance

Synthetic musks are chemicals used in personal care product fragrances. They are rarely listed on the label, since fragrance ingredients are often not disclosed. Synthetic musks bioaccumulate in the environment and have been detected in human breast milk, body fat, blood, and umbilical cords. Studies show that these compounds can disrupt cell functioning and hormone systems.


Some talc may contain the known carcinogen asbestos, therefore it should be avoided in powders and other personal care products, unless it is known to be asbestos-free. Even asbestos-free talc should be avoided in the pelvic areas.


Toluene is a toxic chemical used in in nail products and hair dyes. Exposure to toluene can result in temporary effects such as headaches, dizziness and cracked skin, as well as more serious effects such as reproductive damage and respiratory complications

Triclosan and Triclocarban

Triclosan and triclocarban are commonly used antimicrobial agents found in many soaps and detergents.[1] The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has identified triclosan in the urine of 75 percent people tested.[2] Widespread use with few regulations has led to concerns regarding their effects on humans and the environment, such as endocrine disruption, bioaccumulation, and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibodies and antibacterial products.

Synthetic colorants

You’ll find them in soaps, lotions, shave gels, toothpastes, shampoos, styling creams, face creams, toners, cleansers, bath gels, and more. Many are made of coal tar, and may contain heavy metal salts like arsenic and lead that can deposit toxicity onto the skin. These toxins and chemicals increase your risk of skin sensitivity and irritation, and are known for blocking pores and increasing the risk of acne breakouts. If they’re included in products you leave on your skin, such as moisturizers and masks, they may be absorbed into your body where they can cause additional damage.

*We had to make one exception to this rule for our sheet masks to be accepted into retail stores, using a preservative labeled as a “2” on the index, the cleanest option out there — as there was no other way to launch a sheet mask! For a moisture delivery without a preservative, use our single-ingredient, organic-certified Pure Nilotica Melt.

Sources: CosIng, EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, SafeCosmetics.org, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, Health Canada, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange