Natural Skin Care: Avoiding Parabens & Other Ingredients

by Nicole on June 4, 2013

Two months or so ago I became interested in natural skin care. I was shopping around for sunscreen for Olivia and I wanted to buy something that had no junk in it. I have used California Baby and Babyganics on her in the bath from the start. I knew enough that I didn’t want to use Johnsons & Johnsons because of cancer causing ingredients but I didn’t really know why.

Once I started reading, I learned about parabens mostly. Parabens are estrogen disruptors and estrogen disruption is linked to breast cancer.

“Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. Four of these occur frequently in cosmetics: ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben”

Read more about parabens here. You know I’m not an extremist in any way, but if I can avoid parabens, phthalates and sulfates I’m going to.

I started looking through my products and found a BUNCH of things I use with them in it. Just to name a few: my bare essentials skin rev-er upper, Trader Joe’s lotion, Aveeno cream I use when I get eczema, lip balm, Proactiv skin products. Whatever had parabens in them I tossed (except for the eczema cream because I haven’t found an alternative to that yet.) They went in the trash. Anything that didn’t have parabens in it stayed and if they have ingredients I don’t love I will replace it when I’m done.

When I choose foods I always look at ingredient lists. 95% of foods I eat don’t have an ingredient list because they don’t come with one (veggies, fruit, meat, eggs, etc). Why wasn’t I doing the same for the beauty products I use? Mostly because I was naive to think that there wasn’t harmful ingredients in them. (Side note: most disturbing..I found parabens and artificial flavoring and coloring in vitamins my pediatrician prescribed. I decided I wasn’t going to give them to her. She was mostly getting them for fluoride, so I asked for just fluoride drops.)

I don’t really think I’m being extreme because it’s not like I’m overhauling my entire life. I got rid of some stuff, kept some stuff and am replacing things slowly. Olivia’s products have always been natural, so I’m not concerned about her. (Although I do use purple desitin when she has extreme diaper rash. If you know of a good alternative when it’s bad let me know!)

So what am I doing? Well first, you would think that natural skin care would be expensive, but actually it doesn’t have to be. Most of the more expensive products have ingredients you want to avoid in them.

I still am learning, so if you have anything to add let me know.

I joined the Honest Company. I will go into this in more detail in another post, but basically I don’t have to worry about anything I get/buy from this company. They are all natural. 100%. This company was started by Jessica Alba. (I signed up for the subscription service for a delivery every 8 weeks. I’m going to review it in the future. Yes, I bought it with my own money.)

I bought Yes to Carrots (well Yes to Tomatoes). I’ll be slowly buying and trying out all things from this line. I have the Yes to Tomatoes moisturizer (around $10 on amazon!) and I’m OBSESSED. (Also found in Parenting mag this month! see below pic!)


Other brands:

  • Neutrogena naturals (haven’t tried this yet) but they are supposedly free of sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, dyes or phthalates
  • Supergoop (Christine raves about this) it’s a sunscreen mist
  • Burt’s Bees
  • Dr. Bronner
  • some Trader Joe’s products (you have to read labels to see which ones the shave cream is paraben free)
  • Pratima Skin Care (a twitter friend told me about this one)

If you have other brands you know of please leave a comment!

Do you use any natural products? Anything to add? Any favorite products I should know about? 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Becki @ Fighting for Wellness June 4, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Have you checked out Arbonne? I became a consultant because I wanted safer products and now use their stuff exclusively, including toothpaste, deodorant, etc. No parabens, benzene, mineral oil, toluene, PABA, phthalates, or any animal products/byproducts.


Nicole June 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I’ve heard of it, but never looked into it! I absolutely will! thanks!


Cynthia June 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I have been using the Yes to tomatoes (and yes to carrots) line for quite a while, ever since I started looking at the ingredients of my beauty products. I use the shampoo, conditioner, body wash, daily moisturizer and acne lotion. The yes to cucumbers line also has these wonderful nourishing wipes that you can use to remove makeup or whatever. They are awesome. I love this entire line!


sarah @runfargirl June 4, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Like you I’m not extreme about stuff but for the most part I want what is best for me and my family. I have a mix of stuff that is all natural (I have a lot of Burts Bees, Toms of Maine) and run of the mill (None of my make up is natural). My mom makes her own lotion and made this awesome lotion from coconut oil and several other oils that I’ve used on Jack’s back during the expansion process. I think it is one of the reasons his skin was so good and responsive through that. I’ll probably start to use it on his scar once it is completely healed. This is so helpful thanks for posting!


Tim Smith June 4, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Ive been using Neutrogena tinted moisturizer since I was 17. Now I am 41 look 30. I swear….just discovered the “say Yes to” line if products…..they are great!


char eats greens June 5, 2013 at 10:36 am

I love this, Nicole!! We are a paraben-free household too. I was JUST talking to my friend about this the other day how SO many people are mislead. They think that Jergens, Neutrogena, etc are doing us all favours by making our skin super nice and such…NOT! I want everyone to be this informed.

I really want to try the Yes To Carrots line because it looks amazing. Thanks for sharing that you loved what you tried from them…I think I know what I’ll be purchasing next ;)


Lindsay June 11, 2013 at 7:59 pm

I love California Babies, Badger, wedela and burt’s bees. I just bought some Say Yes to Carrots bubble bath off babysteals today


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