Do You Read Labels?

The Ingredients Black Hole
Have you ever tried to find the ingredients of a product before you buy it? Maybe you or your child has an allergic reaction to certain chemicals you need to avoid. But finding safe products can be a challenge.

Beware of the terms “hypoallergenic” or “doctor tested.”

Did you know that there is no definition or regulation about the word hypoallergenic? According to L. Murphy in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology (1), there is NO research that shows that products labeled as “hypoallergenic” are in fact less problematic than any other product.
Sometime companies only list “Active” ingredients. Or only list ingredients in broad categories, like, perfumes, emulsifiers, etc. If it is not listing the specific ingredients, it is not telling you much.

There are many different types of Acrylates. Some of the more common ones are listed below:

  • Methyl methacrylate
  • Ethyl acrylate
  • 2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate (HEMA)
  • Triethyleneglycol dimethacrylate
  • Ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate
  • Bisphenol A glycerolate dimethacrylate (BIS-GMA)
  • Ethylene dimethacrylate
  • Triethylene glycol diacrylate
  • Ethyl cyanoacrylate

Often, if ingredients are listed at all, you might just see “Acrylates”

Can’t find the ingredients? (Or too small to read?)
Call the company! You can usually find a toll free number on the product. Call them and ask!



If they can’t tell you, tell them you can’t buy the product unless you can find out (it is the law to be able to tell you if there is any trace of a Sensitizer in a product. And Acrylates are sensitizers.)

Other Chemicals to Avoid

Acrylates are not the only toxic chemical manufacturers are putting into the products you use everyday. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but experts agree, you should avoid these ingredients:

  • 1,4-dioxane
  • BHA and BHT
  • Bronopol
  • Coal tar dyes:
  • DEA-related ingredients
  • Diazolidinyl urea, (formaldehyde releaser)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • DMDM hydantoin, (formaldehyde releaser)
  • “FD&C Blue No. 1” or “Blue 1”
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrance – Did you know that ‘fragrance’ is a loop-hole that means companies can use toxic ingredients but don’t have to disclose? Check out ‘Stink’ the movie!
  • Imidazolidinyl urea, (formaldehyde releaser)
  • Lead – found in many lipsticks!
  • Methenamine and quarternium-15 (formaldehyde releaser)
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and methylchloroisothiazolinone-methylisothiazolinone (MCI-MI)
  • Parabens
  • Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
  • PEG compounds (can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane)
  • p-phenylenediamine & colors listed as “CI” & a five digit number
  • Propylene glycol (or polyethylene glycol).
  • Petrolatum (can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)
  • Retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate
  • Retinol or retinoic acid in daytime products
  • Siloxanes (or ingredients ending in “-methicon” or “-siloxane” like cyclotetrasiloxane)
  • Sodium laureth sulfate (Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane)
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Toluene
  • Triclosan or triclocarban


Bottom Line: If the ingredients list looks like you need a Ph.D. in Chemistry to understand it, it’s time to shop for a safer choice!