11 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Skincare Routine

The skin is the largest and also one of the most important organs on our body. It performs several vital functions for the body - including protecting other vital organs, bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. It only makes sense to be extremely mindful of what we are putting on our skin - up to 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into the body. That means that the products we put on our bodies affects our health and overall well being, either in a negative or a positive way. Because the FDA does not regulate skincare, almost any ingredient can be incorporated in formulas, with some of them being super dangerous to your health.

Many ingredients commonly found in skincare have now been linked to health issues such as allergies, eczema, cancer, hormonal disruption, and reproductive problems. Here’s a list of those ingredients you should be avoiding:

1. Aluminum: This is a toxic metal that can have oestrogen-like effects in our bodies, disrupting the healthy functioning of the endocrine system. It’s usually found in almost every personal care product, especially antiperspirant deodorants.

2. DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine): These are clear, colorless and viscous liquids with a smell similar to ammonia. These are usually found in foaming products such as facial cleansers and soaps. They are also found in eye makeup, fragrances, hair products, and sunscreens.

3. DMDM Hydantoin & Urea (Imidazolidinyl): These are preservatives that release formaldehyde - which may cause joint pain, skin allergies, headaches, and loss of sleep. They are usually found in skincare products, cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners, and detergents.

4. Mineral Oil: A petroleum by-product that coats skin in a plastic-like film, clogging pores and causing further breakouts to occur. It interferes with skin’s ability to breathe, therefore increasing likelihood of acne and other skin conditions. It is commonly found in creams, lotions, ointments, and cosmetics.

5. Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl): These ingredients are not always labeled, and are used as preservatives. They are known to contribute to hormone imbalance and are found almost everywhere - including skincare products such as moisturizers and deodorants.

6. Phthalates: These are chemicals used to increase flexibility and strength of plastics, and not often listed among the ingredients on products. Phthalates are commonly found in cosmetics, and are listed under “fragrance" in the ingredients list.

7. Propylene Glycol (PG) & Butylene Glycol: These gaseous hydrocarbons penetrate the skin quickly and can weaken the protein and cellular structure. They are commonly used to create extracts from herbs - which are found in many skincare and makeup products.

8. Siloxanes: Look for ingredients that end in "siloxane" or "methicone." This is used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten skin, while disrupting endocrine. It is also extremely harmful to the environment.

9. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): SLS and SLES are detergents that give products the ability to foam, lather, and bubble. This chemical is found in a whopping 90% of personal-care products that foam. 

10. Synthetic Fragrances: Anything that is synthetic or artificial should automatically raise a red flag. These are made up of hundreds to thousands of different ingredients not listed on the label, so you are never sure what exactly you are putting on your body. These are found in makeup and skincare products, and also many household products.

11. Triclosan: A synthetic antibacterial agent that may disrupt thyroid function and can degrade into a form of dioxin, a class of chemicals linked to cancer. It is commonly found in soaps, mouthwash, shaving cream, deodorants, toothpastes and more.

 Avoiding Toxic Skincare

Considering all of these toxic ingredients the next time you are shopping for skincare products, it is important to read the ingredient lists thoroughly. Taking measures to protect your skin from these harmful ingredients will save you from potential damage to your skin. These ingredients have many harmful factors which may have negative effects on the rest of your body as well, so it’s a good idea to take steps to avoid excessive exposure. Because these products are necessary in day-to-day life it’s hard to avoid them, but we can limit their use and avoid their worst impacts.

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