First made as a pesticide, this antimicrobial chemical has made its way into personal care items since the 1960s. “Triclosan is added to soaps and washes and even some clothing or cookware to reduce bacteria in products,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, New York City-based celebrity dermatologist. Now, because of its potential link to skin cancer and thyroid issues, the FDA has banned soaps and other antiseptic products from using the ingredient. This rule went into effect in September 2017. “Dial, Clearasil, and Bath & Body Works have had products containing this ingredient,” she adds. “Crest Pro-Health toothpaste and Mrs. Meyer’s avoid this ingredient.”
Sure, synthetic fragrances might make your products smell undeniably delicious, but they’re one of the top contenders to cause an allergic reaction to your skin. “Fragrances are usually made up of other harmful chemicals, like parabens, benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and more that are linked to cancer and nervous system issues,” explains Dr. Engelman. “Short term, they can cause irritation and redness on the applied area.” She recommends looking for these terms to clue you in that a product contains a fragrance: parfum, perfume, linalool, limonene, eugenol, citronellol, geraniol or cinnamal. Fragrance-free products are mostly labeled as so. “Eight Hour® Cream Skin Protectant Fragrance Free is a great way to boost moisture and strengthen the skin barrier without putting yourself at risk,” says Engelman.