I talk often about the importance of understanding the ingredients in your cosmetics products, because, ultimately, this is what separates the potent and effective skin care from the fluff. While i’ve recently wrote about copper peptides, ester c, alpha lipoic acid, alpha hydroxy acids and idebenone as some of the best, most cutting-edge ingredients for your skin, it’s also important that you’re aware of and looking out for the ingredients you want to avoid at all costs. While there are many, this is my list of the top four ingredients that that you want to avoid (and why).
1) Sodium Laurel/Laurelth Sulfate
- Why it’s bad: Perhaps the most harmful ingredient in personal care products – sodium sulfates are used as the baseline skin irritant to compare healing properties of other ingredients. Sodium sulfates are so harsh they are commonly used as garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash. They are often the cause of acne around the hair line.
- Commonly found in: Shampoos and conditioners. Look for shampoos that are “sulfate free”
2) Mineral Oil
- Why it’s bad: Mineral Oil or liquid petroleum is a by-product in the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum based products from crude oil. It creates a barrier on top of the skin which does not allow blackhead/whitehead debris to get out of the pores, and thus prevents acne from clearing. Read more.
- Commonly found in: Eye creams, body moisturizers, liquid makeup, heavy facial night creams and moisturizers and chapstick
3) Propylene Glycol
- Why it’s bad: Called a humectant in cosmetics, it is really industrial anti-freeze and the major ingredient in brake and hydraulic fluid. Tests show it is very irritating to the skin and can cause liver and kidney damage.
- Commonly found in: Shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, moisturizers and deodorant
- Why it’s bad: Though it makes your creams smell good “fragrances” are synthetic perfumes that contain chemicals such as PBA’s, which are well known as one of root causes to cause disease. Many people who believe they have sensitive skin are often just reacting to the fragrance in their skin care products.
- Commonly found in: Skin care products
BONUS TIP: When in doubt, cross reference your skin care ingredients on Skin Deep’s cosmetic database http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/