Ingredients we don't want in our skincare. part 2

Here's the second half of our look at common chemicals in skincare and beauty products, and why we need to be aware of what we are putting on our skin and in our bodies. At benir we take care to avoid ingredients in our bee venom cream, anti-aging products and skin care that may put your health at risk. Our goal is to create velvety soft, healthy skin that glows gorgeous!

(Some) Alcohols

Alcohols encompass a large range of compounds which are quite diverse in their properties as well as their uses in cosmetics. The alcohols to be concerned about in skin-care products are:

  • ethanol
  • denatured alcohol
  • ethyl alcohol
  • methanol
  • benzyl alcohol
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • SD alcohol

These can be extremely drying and irritating to skin, as well as capable of generating free radical damage and disrupting the skin's protective barrier.

"Fatty" alcohols however, have very emollient properties and do not cause irritation or dryness. Ceteryl Alcohol for example has humectant, moisture binding properties and gives products a thick creamy texture.


Also listed as "Parfum", fragrance can contain any number of approximately 300 chemicals. It is not required by law that these chemicals are listed as they are considered a "trade secret" by most companies. Found in almost every type of cosmetic product, even those labeled "unscented" or "fragrance free" may contain fragrance as well as chemicals used to prevent the brain from perceiving the odour. Most of these chemicals have not been tested for toxicity and are linked to migraines, irritation and allergies in nearly three quarters of consumers. In laboratory experiments some of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity and other harmful effects. These compounds also "bioaccumulate" making them harmful to the environment.


Diethanolamine and related compounds are used in cosmetics to make them creamy or sudsy, as well as to adjust pH. They are used primarily in sunscreens, moisturizers, shampoos and soaps. They can be found listed as:

  • DEA
  • TEA
  • MEA

These compounds can cause minor irritation to the skin and eyes and in high doses can cause liver cancer as well as precancerous changes to the Thyroid. Their toxicity makes them hazardous to the environment, particularly aquatic life. Though they are regulated in countries internationally, they are unrestricted in Canada (as of post date). They have however been flagged for future assessment by Health Canada.

In closing, always read the label. There are many fantastic products available that make health a high priority in their active skin care and anti-aging formulations. Don't just believe the marketing, it's your health after all. 

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