10 Skincare Ingredients You Want To Avoid

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Your skin is the largest organ in the body. It acts as our barrier to our world and absorbs a lot of what goes onto it, if what we’re putting using in our skincare has a negative effect on our body, it’s not something you want to be using.

We’re a big fan of looking after your skin but what you put on it is extremely important, look through this list and keep in mind, while you may not be able to remove all of these from your skincare routine, even a couple will help in the long run. 

  • Parabens:  A synthetic chemical that acts as a preservative in cosmetics, it’s linked to increased skin sensitivity, breast cancer and can lead to heightened cell damage from UV exposure.
    They have been in use since the 1920s and, like many chemicals on the list, are used to stop the growth of bacteria in cosmetic products.
    They disrupt the normal function of hormone systems, with the potential to cause infertility in men. ‘’In an animal study, developmental exposure to butylparaben harmed male reproduction by decreasing sperm production and lowering testosterone levels’’ Link
Both the method and amount of chemicals used in skincare products greatly control how they will react with your body.
  • Phthalates: A chemical used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break., If that sounds like something you shouldn’t put in your skincare, you are correct. 
    They are what’s know as an EDC ( Endocrine-disrupting chemical), meaning they disrupt metabolism and normal hormone function. This can lead to low sperm count, infertility asthma, and even obesity.
    For hair care and skin care, it is used as a solvent and fixture in fragrances. This is why you want to look for a product that is fragrance-free or has ‘’fragrance’’ derived from natural ingredients such as mint or lavender.
  • Fragrance:  What’s curious about fragrance is that they are usually synthetic man-made chemical, designed to emulate the fragrance of a natural plant, such as mint or lemon.  In skincare, the term fragrance is a bit get out of jail free card, as it can include any number of chemicals to create the desired scent. 
    They are usually derived from petrochemicals benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxins and synthesizers capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, and allergic reactions. Look for products that list the plant the scent came from e.g Mint = Mint extract.
  • SLS Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Used as a cleansing and foaming agent, SLS is a surfactant and used a bridging ingredient between oil and water. It’s low cost and efficiency means it’s most commonly found in skincare products such as shampoos but also in food and cleaning products. 
    It means this product can be found in a wide variety of products. The main cause or concern is that it causes low to mild irritation on the skin and continued use can lead to this worsening. People with already sensitive skin should look to avoid this ingredient where possible.  
All sorts of chemicals are used in skincare cosmetics, from oil to aluminum.
  • SLES Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Used as a cheap and effective foaming agent, SLES status as bad’’ or ‘’Good’’ additive is debated for use in skincare products. SLES is extracted from SLS via a methodology known as ethoxylation. Ethoxylation is a gas sterilant and works to remove the compounds that cause skin irritation in SLS.
    There is a lack of trust that all companies do this process and as result, SLES can cause the same problems as SLS if not properly sterilized.  
  • Paraffinum Liquidum: A highly refined ( From Crude Oil) and cheap mineral oil, this is found in many cosmetics the world over, predominately found in men’s hair products, such as wax or pomade.  Chemicals derived from the oil can cause damage to your nervous system via the neurotoxins which cause all sorts of damage from repository issues to loss of vision. They also form a film on your skin, blocking it from absorbing vitamins and minerals that it needs to stay healthy and firm.  

PEG-100 Stearate: Usually white or tan in colour, it is a solvent for polyethylene glycol and stearic acid. it’s used to clean skin and hair by enabling water to mix with oil, allowing dirt and grime to be washed away. It can reduce your skin’s natural moisture levels, which can leave it dry and ultimately vulnerable to damage.  

  • Phenoxyethanol: This is a synthetic preservative that is used as an anti-bacterial sterilize. It works to help give products longer shelf life and stopping anything nasty from growing in your product.  Some studies have found it to cause allergic reactions of hives and anaphylaxis as with other ingredients, concentration and frequency of use matter here.  If you have sensitive skin this one may be worth avoiding. 
  •  Alcohol: There are both Good (beneficial) and bad (non-beneficial) alcohols in skincare. Types of alcohol to avoid are isopropyl and SD alcohol. These alcohols work to remove oil and degrease your skin.  The downside of this is that they leave your skin dry, as they were down your skin’s protective barrier, leaving your skin ineffective at retaining moisture.  This can lead to a whole host of other issues from mild irritation to breakouts.
  • Aluminium: You’ll find aluminium present in most store brought deodorants.  Research is ongoing but evidence has shown that prolonged exposure, such as using deodorant every day, can lead to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. When it comes to skincare It’s recommended that you do not use a product containing aluminium on damaged skin or after shaving.


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