World Environment Day 2020: Be aware of the toxins in your lipsticks and shampoos

Read the product ingredient list carefully to reduce paraben exposure. ©Shutterstock

As we approach World Environment Day on June 5, let us consciously try to take the eco friendly route to beauty and save ourselves from harmful chemicals.

Beauty products are supposed to make you look beautiful. But sometimes they may do more than that and not in the way that you may anticipate. Most beauty products in the market today contain harmful toxins that are not only considered to be environmental pollutants but are also harmful for your health and wellbeing. Today, as we approach World Environment Day, it is time for a reality check. You need to know what you are applying on your skin in the name of beauty. World Environment Day was first observed in 1974. Since then, every year, countries across the world observe this day on June 5th. This day is all about protecting the environment. It is your duty to take care of the environment. One way of doing this is by going in for eco-friendly products. And, yes, today the market is flooded with eco-friendly cosmetics with almost zero carbon footprint. You can choose those cosmetic brands that offer products that are vegan, organic, not tested on animals and not laden with chemicals. This way you will not be guilty of enhancing your beauty at the cost of the environment and also be safe from the harmful effects of the chemicals. Here, let us take a look at some of the synthetic chemicals that can not only penetrate deep into your skin but also act as endocrine disrupters. Most of these chemicals are also carcinogenic in nature.


Parabens are those chemicals (methylparabens, propylparabens, butylparabens, and ethylparabens) which help preserve shelf-life of products. It is found in every product from face wash, night cream, makeup, masks, body wash and shampoo. The estrogen present in them can disrupt your delicate hormonal balance. It may also lead to reproductive and fertility issues.


These are the group of chemicals which are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics in cosmetics. It is best to avoid them all together as they can be very serious endocrine disruptors and can even lead to birth defects. Phthalates are commonly found in deodorant, lotion, fragrance and hair spray.

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Fragrance is said to be a mixture of secret ingredients which companies don't disclose. The ingredients include tons of chemicals that can cause allergies, hormone disruption and lead to bigger health problems including reproductive issues and infertility. They are most commonly found in moisturizers, hand creams and hair products.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

SLS and SLES are again very toxic. These are added to shampoo, body wash and bubble baths and are known to cause skin irritation and trigger different allergies.


These chemicals are again a part of the synthetic antioxidants that are used to extend shelf life of the products. They are carcinogens and hormone disruptors that may cause liver damage. They are most commonly found in lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.

Retinyl palmitate and Retinol

Retinol is something which is believed to be a good ingredient, but it has got some negative sides too. It turns out that it may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used on your skin. These are one of the prime ingredients in moisturizers and anti-aging skincare.


Lead causes severe behavioural and learning problems, like low IQ. It is a heavy metal and neurotoxin. It has already been removed from things like paint and gasoline, but many still use it in lipsticks and lipcare products. If you wear lipstick that contains lead, it may get absorbed by your body.

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