8 SKINCARE INGREDIENTS TO AVOID
Our skin, it’s our largest organ and the first line of defense. At a glance it defines us, our level of health and vitality. Like all parts of our body it responds to care and attention. Most of us take our skin for granted but it’s our protective covering, our first line of defense against illness and disease. Healthy skin is vital for your survival both emotionally and physically. The skin acts as a barometer for overall health.
Our oil glands secrete oil that contains bacteria to fight off disease. Harsh chemicals in soaps and skincare products can strip these away and deplete our bodies of the natural oils essential to great, healthy skin.
The Organic Natural Beauty Directory urges all consumers to carefully read the ingredient labels on the products they intend to buy and be fully aware of what goes in them, that way you will know what to avoid.
Ingredients are listed most used to least used (meaning that the first ingredient listed is what makes up the largest part of the product). It is extremely alarming to know that many major brands of skin care and personal care products contain ingredients in them that are at best detrimental to our skin. All ingredients should be listed on the product label or packaging, it’s the law.
We have put together this list of 8 skincare ingredients to avoid, we don’t use them nor should you.
Ingredients to avoid
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES).
SLS & SLES are some of the most irritating cleansing agents used in skin-care products, but while safe to use in certain dosages, they are very drying. Composed of several non-volatile alcohols, these ingredients contribute foaming and lathering properties used in cleansing products and bubble baths. They are very common in hand soaps and shampoos. They function primarily as a surfactant but can also be used as a skin-conditioning agent, emulsifier, and solvent.
Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products. They stop fungus, bacteria and other microbes from growing in your favorite reams and makeup, especially in the moist, warm environment of a bathroom. They are also probably the cheapest preservatives to buy for big skincare companies. But over the past few years, a debate has been building among scientists, product safety regulators and cosmetic manufacturers about whether these ubiquitous chemicals, used for almost 70 years, may actually be harmful to our health and linked to allergic reactions. Truthfully? We don’t know yet. But some researchers feel there may be reason for concern. One of the most vocal is Philippa Darbre, a senior lecturer in oncology and researcher in bio-molecular sciences at the University of Reading, in England.
Their names are a mouthful—methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben. We at HarveyJ Skincare do not use these preservative as we feel there are other more natural, safer but very effective preservatives to choose from.
Alcohol dissolves the natural oil from the surface of the skin and this natural oil is necessary for preventing the evaporation of moisture and damage to the skin from irritating substances. Alcohol evaporates quickly, but it can dry your skin out, cause irritation, sensitivity and because it strips your skin of its natural protective barrier it allows in pollutants and other ingredients not so good for your skin. The cosmetic industry frequently uses alcohol as a solvent and to preserve botanical complexes.
Petrochemicals are chemicals made from crude oil and natural gas, they are used to coat the skin like plastic. But the results can show in clogging the pores, slowing down skin function and natural respiration and cell development, causing dry skin, premature aging. Ingredients derived from the petrochemical industry are notorious for causing or promoting acne, due to the comedogenic properties in these substances and may be carcinogenic.
Because the skin is the largest organ in the body, this is a substantial surface area through which toxic chemical migration may occur. When you rub chemicals on your skin, they can pass straight through and enter your bloodstream within minutes. Think about how nicotine and birth control patches work.
Ethoxylation, a cheap short-cut process that companies use to provide mildness to harsh ingredients. It requires the use of the cancer-promoting petrochemical ethylene oxide, which generates 1, 4-dioxane as a by-product. 1, 4-dioxane is considered a chemical “known to the State of California to cause cancer” under proposition 65.
Behentrimonium Chloride, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Linoleamidepropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate are toxic ammonium compounds for which concentrations as low as 0.1% can cause problems such as sensitivity, irritation and worse.
A chemical produced as a by-product of petroleum refining. In skincare it can be used as a solvent, a stabilizer, an emulsifier or a humectant. It forms a sort of seal over your skin, preventing the escape of water. (Note that it doesn’t add any moisture to your skin.) Meanwhile, it attracts and draws moisture from the lower layers into the top layer, helping your skin appear smooth and soft. Great for a short time, but as you use more and more, those lower layers gradually dry out. Your skin appears dull, exacerbating the look of any fine lines or wrinkles. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet on propylene glycol, the chemical is a strong skin irritant, and has been implicated in contact dermatitis. The sheet goes on to warn that the ingredient can inhibit skin cell growth and damage cell membranes, causing rashes, dry skin, and surface damage.
Mineral oil is another by-product of the petroleum industry and is an extremely common ingredient in personal care products from moisturisers to foundation to lip balm, and it is also an ingredient in a myriad of hair products. Mineral oil acts as a moisturising agent only to the extent that it keeps the area of skin that it is applied to moist. While most moisturisers include important nutrients that support the fragile and aging facial skin mineral oil provides no nutrients whatsoever. It actually seals off your skin, preventing it from breathing. As mentioned early your skin is the body’s largest organ, and it works together with the kidneys to rid the body of toxins. However, your skin needs to be able to breathe to perform these functions.
Artificial colours are used in skincare for the same reasons they are used in foodstuffs such as margarine – coloured yellow and multi-coloured sweets; to make them more appealing. Colour makes things look beautiful and companies know this. Colours have an effect on how we feel and perceive the things around us. The problem is that synthetic colours are usually made from coal tar or petroleum which can be contaminated with heavy metals such as lead and arsenic.
If they are used in products which are left on the skin (like moisturisers) they can be absorbed into your body.
Artificial colours also increase the risk of irritation, sensitivity, blocked pores and breakouts from your skincare.
Cosmetic fragrance is made with cheap synthetic chemicals which replicate the natural aroma of products which already exist in nature. Companies use them because it is cheaper than using the natural scent. Many of the chemicals used to formulate certain aromas are actually petrochemicals. derived from natural gas and petroleum. Benzene, toluene, xylenes, and methanol are some of the common petrochemicals used in these aromatic concoctions. These are one of the prime causes of skin irritations, sensitivities and localised rashes.
It is estimated that 95% of the synthetic fragrances on the market today are derived from petroleum by-products. Trademarked scent is protected by the law as a “trade secret”. These types of protected fragrances are not required to list the concoction of chemicals on the product label. They are only required to list the term “fragrance”. Our products include no synthetic or artificial fragrances.
We at HarveyJ Skincare do not use any of these ingredients, we list all ingredients used on our product labeling and we have full disclosure on our website. We also have a glossary of our ingredients where you can learn about any and all of the ingredients we use. We believe in using 100% natural botanical ingredients that actually bring benefits to our formulations and are used to help improve, protect and enhance your skin.