Don’t Trust These 13 Skincare Ingredients with Eczema

eczema irritants

If you’re suffering from any skin condition, we’re sure you’ve tried countless treatments to provide some type of relief. However, you should know that there are many skincare ingredients that can make skin conditions like acne and rosacea even worse. And we know they are very often eczema irritants, so they are very important to highlight.

This week, we take a look at the top 13 skincare ingredients you should avoid in your daily regimen – this is most important for anyone with a skin condition, but its good advice for healthy skin too.

All skincare we recommend on this blog ALWAYS avoids the following 13 chemicals.

Please keep in mind I am in no way a medical professional. If you’re experiencing severe eczema or have a topical infection, it is always best to seek medical advice immediately.

Which Skincare Ingredients to Avoid


This active ingredient can be found in literally any type of anti-bacterial product such as deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers. There have been studies that show that this ingredient can pass through skin and interfere with hormone function.

Not only is it practically poison for our bodies, but it’s also extremely toxic to the environment [1].


You’ve probably heard this label thrown around a lot lately. Parabens are a class of preservatives that are included in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Not many people know how to recognize them in products due to the list of names they go by such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, n-propylparaben and many others that for the most part all end in “paraben.”

You can mostly find Parabens in moisturizer, lipstick, foundation, concealer, eye makeup and makeup removers.


Similar to parabens, there is a very long list of names these chemicals go by. Essentially they are used in plastics, but are also used in personal care products to make fragrances last longer.

Fragrance or Perfume or Parfum

Really, unless it says essential oil, you’re looking at an artificial and chemical additive. They are always seen in products that have a scent. This is a very common eczema irritant and should ALWAYS be avoided when you’re dealing with dermatitis.


These silicone-based compounds are seen often in cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten skin. They also make hair products dry quickly and deodorant creams slide on more easily. You easily find them in shampoos, and body or facial creams.

Similar to Triclosan, these compounds have been shows to be toxic for humans, as well as the environment. In fact it can possibly impair human fertility [1].


These chemicals are actually petroleum-based and are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, softeners and moisture-carriers. Interestingly enough, they are also used in pharmaceutical laxatives.

Although all these skincare ingredients should be avoided, it looks like PEGS are actually unsafe for damaged skin. It can actually cause irritation and systemic toxicity [2].

PEGS commonly go by the name Oxynol, Ammonium laureth sulfate, as well as all ingredients that have “eth” in the name.


This is the #1 chemical that is used in sunscreens. It actually is probably one of the most toxic ingredients in skin care products and according to The Environmental Working Group it is what skin allergies react to most [3].

To avoid this one, chose a zinc based sunblock instead of a sunscreen. Read more about that in our Summer Eczema Care Guide.

Diethanolamine, Monoethanolamine, Triethanolamine (DEAs)

Most products that are either creamy or sudsy like soaps, cleaners, and shampoos will contain these harmful ingredients.

Ever wondered how your eyes get irritated by shampoo or certain soaps, often times its due to DEAs! The European Union has actually classified DEA as harmful and can cause serious damage to one’s health from prolonged exposure [1].

P-Phenylenediamine (PPD)

This chemical is often found in hair dyes. In fact, it’s very difficult to find conventional hair dyes that don’t contain this ingredient. This chemical can cause allergic reactions to those with already sensitive skin or with skin conditions.

But how bad is it for you? Well let’s put it this way. It’s used in rubber chemicals, and textile dyes and pigments. Gross!

DMDM Formaldehyde

This ingredient is used extensively in a wide range of cosmetics such as nail polish, hair products, deodorants and so much more.

If you didn’t already know, formaldehyde is already classified as a human carcinogen that can cause cancer. And it’s an embalming fluid, need I say more?

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hdroxytoluene (BHT)

These chemicals are synthetic antioxidants that are used in preservatives for lipsticks, moisturizers and many other cosmetics. They are actually used in food as well.

Similarly to other harmful ingredients listed, it mimics estrogen and creates hormonal disruptors.


This substance is also known as methyleugenol.

Studies have shown that when this substance has been administered internally to mice, it has cause tumors to appear in multiple sites. In fact, it is so toxic, Health Canada has made sure to ban it from cosmetics.


You already know what petroleum jelly is! It’s been used by many over the years as a barrier to lock in moisture, as well as added to hair products to make hair shine.

However, this substance can actually be contaminated with another chemical know as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Exposure to both these harmful chemicals combined is associated with cancer. The European Union actually classifies petrolatum as a carcinogen and restricts its use in cosmetics [1].

So…What Now? 

If you’re feeling somewhat depressed after reading this article or thinking you might have to clean out your entire cosmetic cabinet, don’t fear. It’s extremely difficult to avoid all these chemicals in our daily lives, but small steps are always better than none at all!

You can start by just replacing one thing like a moisturizer. And don’t believe the hype – you can use a good natural moisturizer on every part of your body, even your face and around the eyes. A balm like Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream would be our suggestion for all over moisture.

If you’re ready to find a good source for non-toxic, chemical free, gentle skincare, free of eczema irritants, then we recommend The Eczema Company where you can find natural treatments for eczema as well as eczema clothing.

Do you try to avoid these skincare ingredients and eczema irritants?

How did you first learn about these chemicals?

How did you transition to all natural products?

Let us know in the comments below!

Bio: Laura Dolgy is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.


  1. European Commission. Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 , Annex VI, Table 3.2. Sep 2009.
  2. Lanigan, RS (CIR Expert Panel). “Final report on the safety assessment of PPG-11 and PPG-15 stearyl ethers.” Int J Toxicol.20 Suppl 4 (2001):13-26
  3. The Trouble with Ingredients in Sunscreens. The Environmental Working Group.

FROM: Eczema

1 Comment

  1. Rachel Arend on November 8, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Beautycounter makes safe and effective skin & body products, as well as cosmetics observing a NEVER list of over 1500 ingredients that they will never use. All ingredients you mention in this article are on the NEVER list. My son had horrible eczema and we use the baby balm, the nourishing cream cleanser, the daily shampoo, and the kid body wash. His skin has never looked better. After seeing he results of these products I️joined the company. Feel free to contact me with any questions at

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