To our SLFMKR community,

At SLFMKR, we care just as much about what goes into the products we carry as much as what doesn’t. Priding ourself in providing a clean, non-toxic and eco-friendly space in our community, we research every ingredient of every product before allowing it on our shelves. Over the years, through research and personal discovery, we are proud to share with you a list of ingredients that we do not accept on our store shelves because ultimately, you deserve uncompromising standards when it comes to your own self-care journey. Read more below about the harmful effects of each banned ingredient.  

1,4-Dioxane is an unwanted by-product occurring in small amounts in shampoos, detergents, and cleaning products. It has also contaminated some communities’ drinking water. In toxicity studies, laboratory rodents given 1,4-dioxane in their drinking water developed liver cancer. The US National Toxicology Program classifies the synthetic compound as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Likewise, the US Environmental Protection Agency deems this synthetic chemical a likely carcinogen. In addition, 1,4-dioxane doesn’t readily biodegrade in the environment, the EPA says. Source:
Aluminum Chlorohydrate
Antiperspirant deodorants help you sweat less by blocking your pores, the tiny openings in your skin that sweat comes out of. Antiperspirants contain many ingredients, including aluminum salts. Aluminum salts dissolve on your skin and “melt” into your pores. This helps plug up your pores and stop some of your sweat. The most common concern about aluminum in antiperspirants and other topical products is that it’s linked to breast cancers. Source: Health Line
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
BHA is used as a chemical preservative in food for human consumption, animal drugs, animal feeds, and related products. At high doses, it causes cancer in rats, mice and hamsters, but it does this exclusively in the forestomach, an organ that humans don't have. In the low levels used in food preservatives, however, many researchers consider it perfectly safe, especially given our lack of forestomachs. In fact, the same antioxidant effects that BHA has on fats can also neutralize the threat of other carcinogens. Source: Live Science
BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
Butylated hydroxytoluene, a cresol derivative, is an additive used as an antioxidant in foods, such as packet cake mixes, potato crisps, salted peanuts, and dehydrated mashed potatoes. In long-term toxicity studies, BHT at high doses can exert liver and lung tumor-promoting effects in some animal models. JECFA noted that in view of the probable involvement of hepatic enzyme induction in the development of hepatocellular damage associated with exposure to repeated doses of BHT, a well-defined threshold was demonstrated at 100 mg kg−1 bodyweight per day in rats. Source: Science Direct
2-Butoxyethanol (C₄H₉OCH₂CH₂OH) is a colorless liquid with a mild odor. It can harm the eyes, skin, kidneys, and blood. Workers may be harmed from exposure to 2-butoxyethanol. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done. 2-Butoxyethanol is used in many industries. It is used as a solvent and is found in paint strippers, thinners, and household cleaners. Source:
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) [1],[2]. 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. It is found in shampoos and scalp treatments, soaps, hair dyes, and lotions. Source:
Ethanolamine has several important industrial uses: as a “scrubber” to remove carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other acidic pollutants from waste gas streams; as a starting material for manufacturing surfactants, chelating agents, and even pharmaceuticals; as an agent for softening leather; and as an additive for controlling pH in industrial water streams. It is harmful to humans and the environment. Source: American Chemical Society
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic (EDTA)
EDTA is known to redistribute lead to the brain and should not be used to assess for lead mobilization in children.4 EDTA can be obtained as disodium EDTA or calcium disodium EDTA with different applications of use. Source: Science Direct
Formaldehyde is a strong-smelling, colorless gas used in making building materials and many household products. It is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; and certain insulation materials. It is also used to make other chemicals. It can also be used as a preservative in some foods and in products, such as antiseptics, medicines, and cosmetics. Sometimes, although formaldehyde is not used, substances that release formaldehyde are. These have been found in cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lotions and sunscreens, and cleaning products. Source: American Cancer Society
Hydroquinone is a chemical that a person can use to lighten their skin tone. It is available as a cream, gel, lotion, or emulsion. Hydroquinone is generally safe to use, but some people may experience side effects, such as dry skin. Long-term use of hydroquinone could give rise to ochronosis. Ochronosis causes a blue-black pigmentation and caviar-like spots to develop on the skin. Source: Medical News Today
Mercury and mercury compounds
Mercury compounds effect complex reactions in susceptible animal strains and human individuals. Organic mercury (e.g., methyl and ethyl mercury) acts initially as a potent immunosuppressor, but this effect is superseded within weeks of exposure by a strong immunostimulation that leads to autoimmunity. Source: Science Direct
Methyl cellosolve
Methyl cellosolve is a colorless liquid with a mild, ether-like odor. It can be exposed through inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, skin and/or eye contact. It targets eyes, respiratory system, central nervous system, blood, kidneys, reproductive system, hematopoietic system. Source:
Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) is a preservative that’s active against bacteria, yeast, and fungi. It’s used in the manufacture of water-based cosmetics and personal care products. It’s also used in industrial processes, including the manufacture of: paper coatings, detergents, paints, glue, cutting oils. In high concentrations, MCI can cause chemical burns and it’s a skin and membrane irritant. As an ingredient in cosmetics, MCI has been associated with allergic reactions. Those reactions were mostly related to leave-in products in the 1980s and 1990s. It has since been largely removed from the majority of cosmetic products and is now used primarily in rinse-off products in much lower concentrations. Since these changes, the rates of allergic and irritant reactions are lower. Source: Health Line
Methylisothiazolinone, along with other isothiazolinones, is a biocide widely used as a preservative in personal care products. It is also used in many industrial processes, such as paint and paper manufacturing, metalworking, mining, and sanitizing. Because methylisothiazolinone is a strong cytotoxin, its use is under fire because of its dangers to humans and the environment. It is especially problematic when it is added to products such as lotions that remain on the skin. Source: American Chemical Society
Mineral Oil
Mineral oils, greases, triglycerides and body oils are examples of hydrophobic soils, present as dispersed soil or in the form of stains. The greasy/oily stains often contain strongly coloured contaminants (soot and metal oxides in mineral oil, dyes or pigments in food and cosmetics) which make them very noticeable. A wide variety of mineral oil compositions are employed in cutting and grinding fluids. The lubrication properties are modified for particular applications using additives. Source: Science Direct
Nanoparticles exist in the natural world and are also created as a result of human activities. Because of their submicroscopic size, they have unique material characteristics, and manufactured nanoparticles may find practical applications in a variety of areas, including medicine, engineering, catalysis, and environmental remediation. Nanoparticles also have been used in the development of health-related products. For example, a sunscreen known as Optisol, invented at the University of Oxford in the 1990s, was designed with the objective of developing a safe sunscreen that was transparent in visible light but retained ultraviolet-blocking action on the skin. The ingredients traditionally used in sunscreens were based on large particles of either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide or contained an organic sunlight-absorbing compound. However, those materials were not satisfactory: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are very potent photocatalysts, and in the presence of water and sunlight they generate free radicals, which have the potential to damage skin cells and DNA. Source: Britannica
Parabens are a group of preservatives that are widely used in topical pharmaceutical products. They are also used in cosmetics, skin care products, medications, foods, and industrially in oils, fats, shoe polishes, textiles and glues. A British study found 19 out of 20 women studied had parabens in their breast tissue. This has caused concern as it showed that the parabens in self care products don't just sit on the skin but they can be integrated and remain into our bodily tissues. From such data it has been speculated that parabens could potentially lead to cancer formation. There is also some evidence that parabens can mimic the effect of oestrogen, which has again in turn been linked to cancer formations and infertility. Parabens can also commonly cause skin sensitivities and allergies. The skin sensitivities and allergies occur by repeated exposure of parabens to the skin, and then the immune cells in the skin slowly but significantly mounting an immune response to when parabens subsequently come into contact with the skin. Source: Elle
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable. They are often called plasticizers. Some phthalates are used to help dissolve other materials. Phthalates are in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, lubricating oils, and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays). Some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system in animals. Human health effects from exposure to low levels of phthalates are not as clear. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates. Source: CDC
Propranolol belongs to a class of drugs called beta blockers. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. Propranolol is a non-selective beta receptor blocking agent. This means it works similarly on the heart, lungs, and other areas of the body. The way that this drug works to lower blood pressure is not clearly understood. It reduces the workload of the heart and blocks the release of a substance called renin from the kidneys. Source: Health Line
Resorcinol is commonly used in hair dyes and acne medication. In higher doses it is toxic and can disrupt the function of the central nervous system and lead to respiratory problems. It has also been shown to disrupt the endocrine system, specifically thyroid function. Most common in hair dyes, also in shampoos/hair lotions, peels and in products used to treat acne, eczema and other dermatological issues. Health concerns include skin and eye irritant, skin sensitizer, organ system toxicity, and possible endocrine disrupting chemical. Source:
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
SLS is what’s known as a “surfactant.” This means it lowers the surface tension between ingredients, which is why it’s used as a cleansing and foaming agent. Most concerns about SLS stem from the fact that it can be found in beauty and self-care products as well as in household cleaners. Regarding its use in cosmetics and body products, the safety assessment study of SLS, published in 1983 in the International Journal of Toxicology (the most recent assessment), found that it’s not harmful if used briefly and rinsed from the skin, as with shampoos and soaps. The report says that products that stay on the skin longer shouldn’t exceed 1 percent concentration of SLS. Source: Health Line
Sulfate is a salt that forms when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical. It’s a broader term for other synthetic sulfate-based chemicals you may be concerned about, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). These compounds are produced from petroleum and plant sources such as coconut and palm oil. You’ll mostly find them in your cleaning and personal care products. These chemicals may slowly build up in your body over long-term use, but the amounts are small. The highest risk of using products with SLS and SLES is irritation to your eyes, skin, mouth, and lungs. For people with sensitive skin, sulfates may also clog pores and cause acne. Source: Health Line
Synthetic dyes
Artificial dyes are added to products to change their color and make them more appealing to consumers. These additives are one of the ingredients to avoid in skincare products as they can cause inflammation, irritation and unwanted redness to your skin. Artificial colorants can also irritate acne prone skin. They often will block pores and change the natural oil balance of the skin, increasing the probability of getting pimples. Source: Aprisa Skincare
Toluene is a common ingredient in degreasers. It's a colorless liquid with a sweet smell and taste. It evaporates quickly. Toluene is found naturally in crude oil, and is used in oil refining and the manufacturing of paints, lacquers, explosives (TNT) and glues. In homes, toluene may be found in paint thinners, paintbrush cleaners, nail polish, glues, inks and stain removers. Toluene is also found in car exhaust and the smoke from cigarettes. When toluene is spilled on the ground or improperly disposed of, it can seep into soil and contaminate nearby wells and streams. Toluene can remain unchanged for a long time in soil or water that is not in contact with air. Although the chemical may irritate the skin, it passes through the skin slowly. People can be exposed to toluene when they touch the chemical, touch contaminated soil, or bathe in contaminated water. Source:
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. It is found in antibacterial soaps and detergents, toothpaste and tooth whitening products, antiperspirants/deodorants, shaving products, creams, color cosmetics. Some of the health concerns tied to this include endocrine disruption, triclosan-resistant bacteria, environmental toxicity. Source:

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