Valentine’s day shouldn’t just be about loving that special someone in your life – above all, you should love you! One of the most important ways we can start loving ourselves is to make sure that our skincare regimens involve products that are truly beneficial for our skin’s health. Yes, you use your products every day, but do you really know what you are exposing your skin to?
To lather your skin with love, here is a list of 5 ingredients commonly found in cosmetics and beauty products that we should avoid in order to keep our skin healthy and radiantly glowing:
Parabens are a common type of preservative that are used in many skincare products to keep them fresh and resistant to the growth of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms, particularly in hot and humid conditions.
Although they are natural organic compounds, several studies have linked parabens to breast cancer as well as reproductive and developmental disorders. Even though there has yet to be any conclusive evidence that they are a cause, the studies have been enough to result in a high pressure on cosmetic companies to remove them from their products.
Avoid ingredients with the suffix “-paraben” and look for “paraben-free” indicated on the product labels. Safer alternatives to parabens are phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate, benzoic acid and benzyl alcohol.
The purpose of SLS is basically to make bubbles, enabling liquid products to easily turn into a good, even lather that cuts through oil and residue. This allows smoother application and leaves your skin feeling beautifully clean. Because SLS is so versatile, it is used in many other industries as well and can be found in engine degreasers, floor cleaners and car wash detergents.
SLS has shown to cause or contribute to skin irritation, ulcers, eye damage, and disrupting the skin’s natural oil balance. It is also widely believed to be a major contributor to acne, especially around the mouth and chin.
Hydroquinone is found in many skincare products that are marketed as skin-lightening agents. The FDA warns that this chemical could be a cause of a skin disease called ochronosis, which creates disfiguring and irreversible black and blue lesions on the skin. However, as it bleaches the skin, it helps with hyperpigmentation, which includes acne scars, age spots, freckles, melasma, and post-inflammatory marks from psoriasis and eczema.
Be wary of skin lighteners where ingredients aren’t clearly labelled and avoid products with “mercury,” “calomel”, “mercurio” or “mercurio chloride”. Instead, go for natural alternative skin lightening products like plant-based acids such as kojic acid or ellagic acids, antioxidants (vitamins A and C) and niacinamide (vitamin B3).
Oxybenzone (benzophenone-3 or BP-3) is an organic compound that is useful in stabilising and strengthening the colour and scent of skincare products. Its most common use, however, is in the form of sunblock as it absorbs UV Beta and UV Alpha rays and is easily absorbed into the skin.
There are concerns within the medical community about the use of this high-risk compound as it has shown to disrupt the hormone system in animals. With it being so easily absorbed into our bodies, the oxybenzone may accumulate and eventually lead to potentially toxic levels.
When searching for a sunscreen, look for safe alternatives like Non-nano zinc oxide or Non-nano titanium dioxide and where possible, avoid the sun at its strongest by going out early in the morning or in the later afternoon when the sun is not as intense.
Alcohol is used in many skincare products as a solvent to mix ingredients together with ease, as well as in cosmetics that require quick-drying abilities because of its low evaporation point. It is also used in many lotions and creams as it helps the skin to absorb products better.
It is important to note that not all alcohols used in the beauty industry are harmful to our skin. The ones in question here are what we call “drying” alcohols such as ethanol, SD alcohol, methanol, denatured alcohol and ethyl alcohol.
Prolonged usage of these alcohols leaves the skin dry and flakey as they eat away at the skin’s surface. An unnecessary stress is placed on the skin, interrupting the skin renewal cycle and thus resulting in an extremely unhealthy skin condition. Although certain skincare products claim that alcohol helps to prevent pimples caused by oily skin, most consumers have found an increase in blemishes due to its damaging properties.
However, as mentioned above, not all alcohols used in beauty products are harmful. “Fatty” alcohols are considered healthier versions of alcohol as they are extracted from natural fats and oils. Instead of causing damage, these types have proven to help nourish and moisturise the skin! Glycol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol are all examples of “fatty” alcohols.
Be careful to read product labels carefully and do your research on the ingredients to ensure that they are safe for your skin. Organic and natural alternatives are available and should be considered as we use our beauty products every day. All in all, for great looking skin, consume a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables as they are easily available and have no side effects – as long as you aren’t allergic to them!
If you’re looking for safe and beneficial treatments to love your skin this V’day, check out our website for our tried and tested range of revitalising facial treatments on offer!