Skincare: Two Ingredients to Avoid and Why

As consumers increasingly prioritise health-conscious choices, understanding the potential risks associated with common skincare ingredients becomes paramount. From the ubiquitous presence of phthalates to the once-ubiquitous 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor (MBC), and the controversial use of oxybenzone, this article sheds light on the concerning impact these chemicals can have on both human health and the environment.

Skincare: Two Ingredients to Avoid and Why

In this article, we will explore three important chemicals to avoid in skincare and the reasons behind steering clear of these ingredients.


Phthalates are a group of synthetic chemicals commonly used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics, they can be found in a wide range of products, including cosmetics, fragrances, lotions, shampoos, nail polish.

While they make many products more useful and comfortable, phthalates have raised concerns about their potential health effects. Many, but not all, phthalates are classified as endocrine disruptors, meaning they can interfere with the body's hormone system. This can lead to various potential health issues, especially in vulnerable populations like pregnant women, infants, and children.

Organic standards like Soil Association, COSMOS organic and NATRUE restrict phthalates in certified organic skincare products.


Oxybenzone is a chemical compound commonly used as a UV filter in sunscreens and other personal care products. However, its use has become controversial due to concerns about its potential impacts on human health and the environment.

The association of Oxybenzone BP-3 level on thyroid hormone, testosterone level, kidney function and pubertal timing has been reported and prompts further investigations to validate a true association.

Oxybenzone is not allowed in beauty products certified by NATRUE, COSMOS ORGANIC, and the Soil Association.

Bonus Information: Another ingredient to potentially avoid - 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor (MBC)

4-MBC is not completely prohibited in the EU. However, a new draft regulation proposes banning it in cosmetic products. This regulation is still under discussion and hasn't been finalised yet.

4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor (MBC) is a chemical used in some beauty products, primarily as a UV filter in sunscreens and skincare products. Some studies suggest MBC might act as an endocrine disruptor, potentially interfering with hormone systems. European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) expressed concerns and couldn't confirm its complete safety in 2023 due to incomplete data.

Soil Association prohibits MBC as a UV filter.


1. Phthalates and Their Impacts on Human Health

2. The effect of sunscreen 4-methylbenzylidene camphor in different and reproductive models, its bioaccumulation and molecular effects on ligand-receptor interaction, and protein expression

3. 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC):

4. The Banned Sunscreen Ingredients and Their Impact on Human Health: A Systematic Review

5.Which ingredients will be restricted in the European Union by the end of 2023?

6. COSLAW.EU Watch-out database. is the information platform on European cosmetics law.

Sign up to our newsletter