Skincare ingredients to avoid and good products to buy.
Many of us don’t make the connection between what we put on our skin and its ability to influence our cellular function and overall wellbeing.
Our skin is comprised of an epidermis, a dermis and a hypodermis layer, all of which perform complex functions that keep homeostasis or us, in balance.
Certain ingredients and compounds are able to penetrate through our epidermis and pass into our bloodstream, circulating throughout our body to eventually be metabolised by the liver and detoxified through our detoxification organs snd pathways.
The reason we want to minimise our exposure and utilisation of these ingredients is to decrease our allostatic load, which essentially is the number of toxins we’re exposed to each day. Naturally, just living in our world, we’re exposed to so many through our environment and lifestyle. Think of your allostatic load as a bucket, and each group of toxins adds a rock to this bucket, and each of us differs in our ability to metabolise and get rid of these rocks, but as our bucket fills up, we experience degeneration, inflammation, pain, and disease. So cutting out rocks where we can, e.g through utilising clean skincare products is how we’re able to help our overall wellbeing as well as the environment.
Below is a breakdown of 12 ingredients and compounds you want to be avoiding as much as possible in your skincare products. These skincare ingredients to avoid have been shown to disrupt our skin’s barrier, drive irritation and allergies, are linked to cancers, damage our neurons, drive hormone imbalances as well as gut inflammation and dysbiosis.
Saying this, don’t feel like you have to all of a sudden throw everything out and abandon your current skincare products, do what sits best for you, your skin, your finances, and your values.
Skincare Ingredients To Avoid
Are preservatives utilised in a wide range of skincare products, and are xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic estrogen in the body driving hormone imbalances, reproductive difficulties and are linked to the growth of breast cancers.
Parabens will be written as – isopropyl and isobutyl parabens, or anything with a Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl, Isopropyl prefix.
It’s also important to realise that it’s all about what we do on the daily that impacts our overall health, so if we’re constantly exposing ourselves to parabens and other toxic ingredients, over time, this builds up, adds more rocks to our buckets and interferes with our bodies natural processes and functions.
Sulfates are irritants, disrupt skin pH, drive dermatitis and inflammatory skin conditions and ar included in the skincare ingredients to avoid.
They’re usually found in anything that foams or soaps up, like cleansers, shampoos and soaps. Look for SLES – Sodium Laureth Sulfate, SLS – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and ALS – Ammonium Laurel Sulfate.
Some sulfates can be derived from natural oils like coconut or palm, whereas others are petroleum-based and these are the ones to really avoid.
Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and drive hormonal imbalances and are utilised as plastics in skincare to create a creamy, gliding texture, as well in nail polishes and hair sprays.
Look for DBP – dibutyl phthalate, DMP – dimethyl phthalate, and they also are used to make “fragrances”.
Formaldehyde drives irritation and can worsen and drive respiratory issues, asthma, and is a neurotoxin.
When I think of formaldehyde I just think of being at university in the lab’s where the cadavers are kept because formaldehyde is what’s used to preserve them and the smell is nauseating, to say the least.
Formaldehyde is found in cleansers, moisturisers, soaps, toothpaste, eyelash glue and so many other products, and can be listed as formalin, morbicid acid, methylene oxide, methylaldehyde and methylene glycol.
Polyethene or Polyethylene Glycols/ PEGs are utilised as emollients, emulsifiers and vehicles to help other ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin, breaking down the barrier of the skin and are potential carcinogens.
PEG’s are found in most skincare and personal products and can be listed as PEG-6, PEG-8 or PEG-100.
✖️“FRAGRANCE” / PERFUME
Fragrance/ perfume are endocrine disruptors, are made up of known carcinogens, and drive, irritation, sensitivities and dermatitis. They also can cause headaches and can trigger allergies and asthma. Some are linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.
Opt for fragrance-free products or ones that are naturally derived from essential oils (side note, some essential oils blends can also trigger allergies and sensitivities for some individuals).
Propylene Glycol is used as a humectant and emollient and use often in hydrating personal care products. PG can cause dermatitis and skin irritation and is petroleum-derived and may have potential carcinogen actions.
✖️TRICLOSAN AND TRICLOCARBANS
Triclosan and triclocarban are used as preservatives and antibacterial agents and are commonly found in antiperspirants, antibacterial soaps and products, mouthwash and toothpaste.
Both are endocrine disruptors and their accumulation is linked to the development of allergies and eczema, as well as thinking about its antibacterial actions, would drive gut dysbiosis and inflammation.
They’ve also been known to interact with the chlorine found in tap/shower water and degrades in the presence of sunlight to produce chloroform….
Dea is found as Cocamide DEA and Lauramide DEA and is found in a wide range of personal care products, and causes skin irritation.
Aluminium is a neurotoxin and linked to Alzheimer’s disease, driving degeneration of our neurons (brain cells) and a build-up of beta-amyloid plaques, as well as a link to breast cancer also.
Aluminium is typically found in deodorants and antiperspirants (look for aluminium chloride or aluminium chlorhydrate) as well as our drinking tap water, so adding in a water filter or purchasing an external filter is 100% beneficial to overall health.
Fluoride is found predominantly in oral care products (as well as tap water) and disrupts thyroid function and is a known carcinogen.
A lot of these ingredients are utilised as preservatives to help keep the product viable, but more and more incredible brands are swapping out these toxic preservatives for more eco-friendly and non-toxic alternatives, such as ascorbic acid, castor oil, vitamin e/tocopherol, benzoic acid, glyceryl caprylate, xanthan gum and carrageenan.
Great Non-Toxic Skincare and Beauty Products
Leif, Blue Cypress Shampoo 500ml
A clean-formulation shampoo that acts as a wake-up call for those heads that need clearing. The clean formula heroes Australian native botanicals that cleanse the scalp and help repair damaged hair — leaving locks cleansed, shiny and freshly scented.
Earth Purities, Deodorant
The Bianca for Her Liquid Deodorant from Earth’s Purities works to reduce body odour and absorb sweat to keep your underarms dry and fragrant. It contains only a low percentage of Bicarbonate of Soda making this ideal for those with sensitive skin. It has a soft musk, floral scent accentuated with a citrus top note, courtesy of essential oils of Lavender, Tangerine and Lemon Myrtle
Dr. Bronner, Peppermint Pure-Castile Bar Soap
Scented with organic peppermint oil to cool skin, clear sinuses and sharpen the mind. This Peppermint Pure-Castile Bar Soap is made with certified fair trade ingredients and organic hemp oil for a soft, smooth lather that won’t dry your skin. 100% biodegradable in a 100% post-consumer recycled wrapper.
Acure Beauty, Seriously Soothing Moisture Lotion
Unscented with cocoa butter & colloidal oatmeal to protect and soothe. Paraben-free, Sulfate-free, Mineral oil-free, Petrolatum free, Formaldehyde free and Cruelty-free
My Magic Mud, Peppermint Silver-CharcoalWhitening Toothpaste
Using premium ingredients such as cleansing coconut oil, protective xylitol, mineralizing kaolin clay, soothing curcumin, and supportive theobromine, you’ll get the most effective gifts Mother Earth naturally provides.