Common Ingredients in Skincare that You Should Avoid (and Their Substitutes)
If you’re an avid skincare and beauty fan, you may have seen some of these ingredients pop up in the products you purchase– and some of these may be hiding many harmful effects despite being approved for use in your skincare or makeup!
Take some time on your next shopping trip to check through the ingredients list, especially if you have sensitive skin. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
Talc is usually used as a smoothing agent. While it is generally safe for use, it may be irritating to sensitive skin.
It also contains risk of contamination from asbestos, which is responsible for several lung diseases and even cancer.
A better alternative would be arrowroot powder, which is known for its use in cooking to thicken sauces and stews.
This chemical is often added to products due to its antimicrobial properties. While it is being slowly phased out in cosmetics and skin products, it is still prevalent in personal hygiene products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash.
After the US Food and Drug Authority banned companies from marketing Triclosan as an effective antibacterial ingredient, more brands are looking to Chlorhexidine as a better, safer alternative.
Chlorhexidine has been proven to be just as effective, if not more than Triclosan, and is less likely to trigger adverse skin reactions and allergies.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) can be found in many of skincare and personal care products. While there are many articles out there claiming that SLS can cause cancer, infertility, or even development issues in children, none of these claims have been proven and the amounts present in products, even if built up over time, are likely to be too insignificant to cause cancer.
However, SLS can be harmful to our skin in other ways. It strips our skin of its natural sebum, causing dry skin, irritation, and may trigger allergic reactions.
Products targeting consumers with sensitive skin and scalps (e.g. body soap and shampoo) will often substitute SLS for Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate or other substitutes due to the tendency for SLS to cause irritation and reactions.
With people gaining more awareness of the toxic side effects of Formaldehyde, more brands and retailers are starting to phase out products containing it.
However, many brands, especially in Asia, still retain this ingredient in their beauty and personal care products.
In addition, there are other numerous other chemicals approved for use that will release formaldehyde, such as Quaternium-15.
This chemical can be found in blush, lotion, and shampoo. The average consumer will likely not realise its possible side effects, as little is known about them.
Generally, everyone should avoid fragrance or ‘parfum’ in their skincare and cosmetics as much as possible, whether your skin is sensitive or not.
Companies do not have to disclose what goes into the ‘parfum’ on their ingredient labels, and these may contain harmful chemicals.
A side note: consumers often opt for ‘natural’ fragrances as they believe they are less irritating to skin as compared to synthetic fragrances.
This is not true!
Often, natural fragrances are derived from essential or mineral oils, and these can be extremely irritating to skin especially if not diluted properly.