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Occlusive Ingredients (inhibit trans-epidermal water loss)

  1. Beeswax and other waxes
  2. Castor oil
  3. Cocoa butter
  4. Dimethicone
  5. Honey
  6. Lanolin
  7. Most vegetable oils and nut oils
  8. Mineral oil, petrolatum, propylene glycol, paraffin

Toxins in Skin Care (among others)


The byproduct of ethoxylation, used to soften harsh ingredients. A March 2009 study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 67 percent of baby bath products tested contain 1,4-dioxane. The Food and Drug Administration says the levels are not hazardous. The Environmental Working Group ranks it a 10 out of 10 on its list of hazardous Personal Care ingredients, linking it to cancer, reproductive problems, and allergies. Products that include sodium myreth sulfate, or ingredient names that contain “xynol,” “ceteareth” and “oleth,” should be considered suspect. You won’t find 1,4-dioxane on your ingredients label.

Benzyl and isopropyl alcohol

Skin irritation and neurotoxicity concerns.

Bismuth oxychloride

An inorganic pigment used in some mineral makeups to ease application and provide sheen. It has been shown to cause skin irritation and be harmful when ingested.


A silicone-based polymer that adds a silky feel to lotions, creams and conditioners. A 2003 research review found that it is not absorbed when applied to human skin. However, it is a skin irritant, and some studies associate it with weight loss and decreased testicle size in rodents.


Some are carcinogenic. Others may cause allergic reactions.


A toxic compound released inside the container as preservatives age. Ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea. The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens classifies formaldehyde as a carcinogen to humans. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found it in 82 percent of baby bath products tested. However, only formaldehyde in the gaseous state has been proven carcinogenic.


Primarily because synthetic fragrances and perfumes are preserved with phthalates (see below), they are considered potentially carcinogenic and hormone disrupting. Essential oils, which are not preserved, are preferable. However, many people have significant reactions, including migraines and respiratory discomfort, to any scented products, even the finest essential oils.


A skin-bleaching agent often found in conventional antiaging products and other beauty creams. According to the Teens for Safe Cosmetics campaign, which lists hydroquinone among its “Dirty Thirty” cosmetics ingredients to avoid, it can be an immune system and respiratory toxicant, probable neurotoxin and possible carcinogen. Animal studies have shown it disrupts the endocrine system.

Mineral oil

An immune system suppressant, skin, eye, lung irritant; potential liver/kidney damage. Also, skin can become even more dehydrated because mineral oil dissolves the skin’s natural oil.


A science that engineers tiny particles—between 50,000 and 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair—with the intention of improving product performance. Some studies suggest nanomaterials in sunscreen may produce free radicals and damage DNA. One 2009 rodent study associated nanomaterials with nerve damage and reduced sperm counts.


Oxybenzone is used in many sun products with high Sun Protection Factors. Its function is to ‘filter’ ultra violet light on the surface of the skin, converting it from light to heat, but it can also be absorbed through the skin. When light is converted to heat in the basal layers of the skin, it can damage growing skin cells. Oxybenzone protects against sunburn and cancers like Carcinoma, but not against Melanoma, which has increased twenty-fold in Europe and the U.S.A. since 1935. Oxybenzone has also been related to early onset of puberty in girls.


Some studies have linked antimicrobial parabens to low sperm counts and decreased testosterone levels, as well as breast cancer and allergic reactions. Endocrine disruptors.


These industrial chemicals are common in plastics, and also appear in shampoos, lotions and nail polishes. Studies link phthalates to problems with reproductive, endocrine and respiratory systems. A 2009 study of 261 Korean children, ages 8 to 11, found the higher the concentration of phthalate metabolites in the urine, the worse their attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Propylene glycol

A mineral oil derivative in creams, hair products, dyes, and makeup, it can cause allergic reactions, including shortness of breath, rashes and inflammation. Some animal studies show adverse effects on brain and reproductive systems. Propylene glycol has been known to inhibit cell growth and has been linked to kidney damage and liver abnormalities. It may increase the ability of other toxins to penetrate into the bloodstream.


Rapid absorption into heart, brain, eyes, liver. These synthetic surfactants make soaps and shampoos sudsy. They are often derived from petroleum, and during their chemical processing, unwanted byproducts, such as 1,4-dioxane, are often produced. Although SLS and SLES may be derived from coconut, they are still known as skin and eye irritants.

Triethanolomine (TEA)

An allergen that forms cancer-causing chemicals.


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