8 Shaving Ingredients that are Doing More Harm than Good

8 Shaving Ingredients that are Doing More Harm than Good

Unless you’re buying “all natural” shaving products, the ones you use are filled with chemicals that might not be as harmless as you would like to believe. All the creams and gels on the market claim to leave your skin hydrated, moisturized and smooth but do they really do what they claim? Have you had an allergic reaction to shaving cream? 

Here is a list of shaving cream ingredients that might not be as helpful as you think:

Triethanolamine (TEA)

This ingredient is often found in products that foam, like shaving creams and gels. Studies have found that chemicals like TEA, DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine) are readily absorhbed by the skin and can be linked to hormone disruption and can develop cancer-causing nitrates and nitrosamines.

Parfum (fragrance)

If you see this on a label, your guess is as good as anyone’s about what chemicals it may include because these “trade secret ingredients” of fragrance do not have to be disclosed to the public. These are one of the most common allergens that can cause headaches, dizziness, skin irritation and breathing-related issues.

Polyethylene Glycol or PEG

PEG is a petroleum-based compound that is widely used in cosmetics as a solvent, softener or a moisture-carrier. Aside from the cosmetic purposes, PEG is used as laxatives. While PEG may not be extremely hazardous, the process of manufacturing PEG puts it at risk of becoming contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.

Polyethylene Glycol

Palmitic Acid

This ingredient helps keep the shaving cream/gel formulas mixed evenly and prevents separation. Palmitic acid has been associated with dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction of the skin.


This ingredient is a solvent that helps the other chemicals dissolve, but the downside is that it can cause headaches and nose/throat irritation, dry skin, dermatitis, and dizziness.

Glycols (propylene, butylene, and ethylene)

While their main purpose is to help the skin absorb moisture, they have also been found to be a cause of dry skin, rashes, dermatitis and in high levels, blood/kidney disorders.


Even though these are extremely harsh and corrosive chemicals, they can be found in many personal care products, especially shaving ones. Their main purpose is either to act as a cleansing agent or to help the product foam, but the harsh reality is that they can also cause dry skin, impaired hair growth, and rashes.


Believe it or not, polytetrafluoroethylene’s the same substance used to make Teflon (yes, the non-stick cooking surface). It has been linked to osteoarthritis, breast cancer, early-onset menopause, and heart disease. While this chemical is only threatening when heated (to release the toxic fumes), knowing that it has been linked to so many terrible conditions is not comforting.

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

In 1992, the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry rated toluene (the base of BHT) as the 37th most toxic chemical. It is the culprit of many harmful conditions.

These are just a few of the most popular and harmful chemical compounds and ingredients that can be found in many of the shaving creams and gels in the market today. It doesn’t take much to realize that while you think you may be getting a closer shave, you are actually putting yourself at risk for dry skin or much worse.

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