Men's Skin Care Products: 8 Gross Ingredients

The dangerous ingredients in men's skin care products include parabens, dioxane, propylene glycol and others. Yes, we give you a hard time about eating too fast, leaving your dirty underwear in the bathroom and your obsession with Battlestar Galactica, but guys, you know we love you. In fact, you don't really need to do much to impress us. And you especially don't have to slather toxic ingredients all over your bodies to get our attention, either.

Unlike women, most of whom get detailed hygiene and cosmetic advice from a very young age, men are often left to figure it out for themselves. College is usually the first time many men will purchase their own skincare and hair care products, leading to lifelong purchasing habits. Most of those purchases are influenced by price first, scent second. The health of the ingredients? Well, that rarely comes into play for most young men, if at all.

And while Old Spice may sound friendly enough, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most of the personal care products geared towards men are anything but healthy. Here are a few of the suspect ingredients to avoid:

1. Parabens

Some of the most commonly used chemical preservatives in cosmetic products are parabens. They are intended to prevent the growth of bacteria and extend shelf life. But, they're also connected with certain reproductive cancers, hormonal imbalances and even topical skin allergies. They're common in products such as shaving cream, deodorant and lotions.

2. Dioxane

Found in polyethylene glycol (PEG), polysorbates, laureth, ethoxylated alcohol,which are common in men's care products from Axe body spray to Gillette shaving cream,dioxane is a chemical stabilizer and solvent that has been linked with damage to the nervous system, damage to eyes and respiratory tract, liver and kidneys. California's Proposition 65 classifies dioxane as cancer causing.

3. Propylene glycol

This ingredient is extremely common in personal care items including toothpaste, deodorant and shaving cream, as well as deicing products and tobacco. While the FDA gives it GRAS classification (Generally Regarded as Safe), it has been linked with organ damage and skin conditions.

4. Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex

You'll find this pore-plugging ingredient in antiperspirants and deodorants, like the popular Axe Body Spray. Essentially, it soaks up your sweat before it hits the skin's surface, something many guys can certainly appreciate. But, the product has shown strong evidence of being a neurotoxin, especially when airborne, which makes any aerosol spray body products that contain aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex less than ideal.

5. Mineral oil

This common ingredient is found in petroleum jelly products like Vaseline, lotions, deodorants, and shaving creams. It's a byproduct of the gasoline industry, which is why it's so cheap, too. It costs more to dispose of mineral oil safely than to buy it for use in personal care products. Despite being so common in skincare products, it's actually difficult for your body to absorb the product. It puts pressure of the liver and absorb vitamins, which can lead to deficiencies.

6. Talc

You'll find talc in personal care products particularly body powders and deodorants. It's related to asbestos, and has been shown to cause cancer in studies. Despite these findings, the product use is still unregulated and widely used in personal care and baby products.

7. BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

Used as a preservative to keep products from changing color or texture, this ingredient found in products made by brands including Lubriderm, Aveeno and Neutrogena, has been shown to cause serious health issues including live damage, cancer, developmental problems, allergies, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption.

8. Dyes and fragrance

Most men's skin care products can also contain dyes to give the product unnatural, yet somehow alluring color, and detergent-based fragrances to keep scents lingering for hours. Dyes, particularly "Brilliant Blue" have been connected with an increased risk of ADHD, asthma and allergies, as well as hypotension and even death. Fragrances can cause difficulty breathing, dizziness, headache and fatigue. Some are even linked to cancer. Phthalates, which are added to prolong scents, are known endocrine disruptors, which can lead to weight gain and fertility issues.

Ready to ditch those harmful products once and for all? Consider giving some natural brands a try:

Aubrey Organics makes clean organic hair care.
Dr. Bronner's is best known for their amazing castille soaps, but they also make natural shaving creams and lotions, too. Or, make your own!
Tom's of Maine offers natural deodorant and toothpastes.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger





Photo credit: Andrew Dyer

By Jill Ettinger| January 29, 2013
Categories:  Care

About the Author

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, she bridges her love for changing the food system with her lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values. You can connect with Jill on Twitter and Instagram.

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