How to choose non-toxic skincare products

How to choose non-toxic skincare products

nature in beakers

On average, people use 12 different skincare products everyday, which can add up to over 170 different chemical ingredients.

Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, skin care, cosmetics, hair products, deodorant, and perfume are all common products used before breakfast. 

Certain ingredients like fragrance and phthalates can be found in all of these products, which makes them some of the most common toxins found in human urine. (see ref:1) 

Why are there so many ingredients in commercial products?

  1. They are preservatives - prolonging shelf life
  2. They are fillers - reducing the manufacturing cost 
  3. They are artificial scents - or masking scents (many unscented products are made using "masking scent ingredients")
  4. They enable convenience -  think aerosols, foams, face wipes, some creams, waterproof,  24 hour odor protection, etc...

What kind of ingredients should I look out for?

Phthalates: are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break like the rubber ducky. Also known as plasticizers.
  • Examples of phthalates: vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics, plastic clothes (raincoats), shower curtains, some childrens toys, garden hoses, inflatable toys, blood-storage containers, medical tubing, and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes). (see ref:2)
    • The new car smell, when you open up a water floatie, and plastic ducks are all examples of the smell of phthalates. 

Parabens: are the most widely used preservative in cosmetics.

  • An estimated 75 to 90% of cosmetics contain parabens (typically at very low levels). It has been estimated that some people are exposed to 50 mg of parabens per day from cosmetics.(see ref: 3)

Fragrance (or Parfum): is not a single ingredient but is a blanket term for some combination of up to 3000 different ingredients.

  • Fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets, so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients.
  • The European Union has recognized Fragrance as the #2 most common cause of allergies in dermatology. (see ref: 4)

What is the risk?

These ingredients are known to be endocrine disruptors. 

Endocrine disruptors are:

  • Ingredients that mimic estrogen and can affect hormone function.
  • More dangerous when applied to the skin than ingested through the digestive tract because digestion breaks down the chemical. While ingredients that pass through the skin barrier are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
  • Are particularly dangerous in early stages of development (pregnancy, infancy, puberty). (See ref: 4)
  • Are harmful to the marine environment; as they have been linked to the feminization of fish and amphibians. (See ref: 5)

How come these toxic ingredients are allowed in cosmetics?

To test an ingredient for toxicity, the lab measures the lowest concentration a body can ingest before showing symptoms of toxicity. Once the lowest concentration to BMI (body mass index) is calculated companies must not surpass this limit in any individual product. (See ref: 6)

The problem: Although a single product has low concentrations of contaminants, people are ingesting much more than just a single product. Additionally, there are kids and babies who have small bodies and by comparison they are ingesting much larger concentration than their adult counterparts. 

Bioaccumulation: when your body is ingesting toxic contaminants at a faster rate than which it can process and excrete it.

If a body ingests toxic substances faster than it can excrete them, there might be  signs of toxicity. Symptoms are brain fog, skin irritations, headaches, migraines, asthma, inability to lose weight, depression, anxiety, and much more. (see ref: 7)




Shopping Guidelines from Miiko Skin Co

infographic on how to choose non toxic products




At Miiko Skin Co we have gone to great lengths to make sure our products are 100% toxin free.

We choose edible ingredients as often as possible is because organic standards and manufacturing processes are better in the food industry. Choosing olive oil, coconut oil, honey and apple cider vinegar as the foundation of our product line ensures the safety of the product. 

We choose raw and unrefined ingredients to preserve the true benefits of the product and avoid any contaminants.

We chose glass packaging because we were worried about the soft plastic leaching into the products (and therefore into your skin). 

Want to learn more?

Here is a list of Resources we have used over and over again for almost a decade.

Online Resources:



Resources cited:

  1. Canadian Health Measures Survey
  2. Phthalates Factsheet - CDC
  3. Suzuki Foundation - Dibutyl Phthalate
  4. The Dirty Dozen: Parabens - David Suzuki Foundation
  5. The Dirty Dozen: Parfum aka Fragrance - David Suzuki Foundation
  6. Environmental Working Group: Endocrine Disruptors
  7. Contaminant-induced feminization and demasculinization of nonmammalian vertebrate males in aquatic environments.

  8. Clean - Dr. Alejandro Junger MD

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