The Purely Primal Skincare Blog

{Fix your skin. Naturally!}

The following post was adapted from a post that originally appeared on This list is not exhaustive. This is a primer. Using the ideas set forth in the Purely Primal Skincare Guide means you will not be exposed to any unnecessary chemicals and toxic substances that can be found in conventional skin care products!


There are lots of wonky ingredients in conventional – and heck, even “organic” and “natural” skin care products, but these top my list of ingredients to avoid. Why? Not just because they’re associated with skin irritation and allergic reactions (to say the least!) but because they’re flat-out unnecessary! The use of these ingredients isn’t to benefit your beauty – it’s to benefit THEIR bottom line. Avoid whenever possible!

Avoiding these potentially irritating ingredients is important! When trying to help or heal your skin, using sensitizing chemicals doesn’t help!

Gluten: That’s right, Gluten. This pesky protein is present in many personal care products under names like Hydrolized Wheat Protein or Wheat Germ. If you’re avoiding gluten in your food, or if you have a wheat allergy, you may want to avoid this in your skin care routine. Even the best products may still contain wheat protein, so be aware!

Triclosan: This is the antibacterial agent in most antibacterial soaps. It kills good AND bad bacteria, and encourages surviving bacteria to mutate. It may be an endocrine (hormone) disruptor.

Antibacterial soap is different from Hand Sanitizers, which IDEALLY should be alcohol-based (see next item), and have utility in acute situations (occasionally in the home, always in airport bathrooms).

Benzalkonium Chloride: You’ll find this in a wide range of cleansers and as the substitute antibacterial ingredient in “Alcohol-Free” hand sanitizer. Its long-term use is associated with impaired immune function and extreme skin sensitivity.

DEA: Also known as Diethanolamine and Cocamide DEA. It’s been labeled as potentially carcinogenic and may react with other ingredients in cosmetics to create other, delightful carcinogenic offspring.

Propylene Glycol: This is used to give many shampoos their smooth, gliding texture and will keep the product from hardening. It’s a skin irritant and kissing cousin to (though, contrary to popular belief, NOT identical to) the main ingredient in antifreeze.

Phthalates: These endocrine (hormone) disruptors that may be present despite NOT being listed in the Ingredients section.


Aluminum: A key ingredient in deodorant/anti-perspirants, aluminum doesn’t sit on your skin and nicely ask those sweat glands to please take a break for the day. Aluminum enters and blocks the sweat ducts, accumulates in body tissue, and may be linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

We’re supposed to sweat. Get over it and let it flow – and use baking soda & coconut oil to ward off any stink! (PS – we’re NOT supposed to stink. Shifting food and weird body care ingredients should take care o’ that issue.)

Parabens: Any ingredient that ends in “paraben,” like methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, is one and the same. They are preservatives that extend the shelf life of all those cute “herbal” products at the drugstore. They penetrate the skin and may be endocrine (hormone) disruptors.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): SLS was labeled mutagenic from the early 1980s, yet it’s still used in everything from shampoos to engine cleaners. It may cause immune damage. It makes your shampoos and soaps foamy, lathery and bubbly while messing with your skin’s ability to retain moisture. Therefore, you “need” an expensive and junk-filled conditioner or moisturizer! SLES is a kind of “mini-me/little brother” version of SLS, and no more necessary than its older sibling.

Do you have anything to add to the list? Join the conversation on Facebook!

Thanks for reading!





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