Four ingredients to avoid in your skincare

At our very core, griffin+row stands for clean and beneficial ingredients to truly nourish, protect and enrich your skin. Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same ideals and there are still many products on the market which contain harmful and toxic ingredients. While we can’t eliminate them completely, the best form of defence from these products is to arm yourself with education. Being able to recognise the ingredients that are detrimental to your skin and body’s health is the easiest way to avoid them. We’re sharing with you four of the key ingredients to steer clear of in skincare.

Diethanolamine (DEA)

While DEA has officially been reviewed and deemed safe to use, it is subject to concentration limits (meaning it can be harmful in larger quantities) and provided it isn’t formulated with other compounds which could react toxically. It has been used as a pH adjuster in products. The primary concerns surround DEA are irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs and toxicity.

Coal Tar:

Coal Tar is made up of hundreds of compounds and can be found in cosmetics, personal care products, and even our food. It has a number of uses including an anti-dandruff agent, a cosmetic biocide (meaning it destroys living organisms) and a denaturant (which denatures biological proteins and DNA). It is a known human carcinogen with research showing exposure to coal tar can cause skin tumours and neurological damage. Toxicity is a major concern and is capable of persisting within the environment.


Used mainly as a solvent, fragrance and to increase the flexibility of plastics, phthalates are not chemically bound to the substance they reside in. As a result, they leech out and contaminate our environment. They affect our entire food chain and are very difficult to completely avoid. Primary concerns around phthalates are regarding endocrine disruption (our hormones), toxicity and their ability to remain within the environment. Research has even shown links to both male and female infertility and cardiovascular disease.

1, 4-dioxane

This ingredient has been found in as many as 22% of products listed in the Skin Deep database. It has no purpose but is, in fact, a nasty by-product caused when two ingredients are mixed together during the manufacturing process. Whilst there has been significant work done over the decades to decrease its occurrence in our skincare products, we can see by the statistic above that it has not been wholly eradicated. To avoid the likelihood of 1, 4-dioxane’s effects – which include irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs as well as being carcinogenic – the best option is to look for ingredients known to help produce the compound. Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS), polyethylene glycol (PEG) and any substances which include ‘xynol’, ‘ceteareth’ and ‘oleth’ have all been found to be capable of producing 1, 4-dioxane. These are just some of the ingredients residing in skincare that can have not only adverse effects on our skin but also major concerns for our health. At griffin+row we work hard to create the purest and most effective products. Our five-step skincare regime which includes Cleanse, Exfoliate, Hydrate, Nourish and Enrich has been developed with the best ingredients that nature offers, without the need for harmful chemicals that only detract from your overall skin health. To find out more about what goes into our products, you can click here and discover our six key ingredients in the griffin+row range!