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Ingredients To Avoid In Your Skincare

Hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, peels, exfoliants, mud, clay, retinol, vitamins A-Z, ceramides, essential oils; sometimes it seems like there are too many skincare ingredients to fit in one product, much less on the human face. Add that to the new layering trend, and, it may even seem like companies are creating more room on the human face for even more products. If you’re confused about which ingredients to look for when you’re looking to buy your next skin care product, maybe you should focus on what not to use. The FDA has only so much say in what goes into and what stays out of your cosmetic products, so for optimal health, you may need to be the one who makes the decisions. Here are some ingredients to avoid in your products to help you narrow it down.

Aluminum
Aluminum is a chemical salt you don’t want to find in your skin care products. It is used for its disinfectant and absorbent properties and is most often found in deodorants and antiperspirants. Recent studies of breast cancer patients detected higher amounts of aluminum is the outer areas of the breast, where deodorant is normally applied. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health showed that the accumulation of aluminum in bodily tissues can lead to bone disease, tissue damage, impaired kidney function, and has also been found in the brains of those suffering Alzheimer’s disease. Opt for aluminum free natural deodorants and antiperspirants.

Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is a compound commonly used for lightening of freckles, melanoma, age spots and discolorations which has been found to increase exposure to UV rays and cause mutations in laboratory studies. The chemical has been shown to cause contact dermatitis, and degeneration of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Doctors warn pregnant women to avoid its use during pregnancy and nursing, and the Environmental Working Group has assigned a hazardous warning to the compound. Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid may be a better choice for skin brightening.

Fragrance
Fragrance can be intoxicating, in more ways than one. Apparently, fragrance can contain up to 200 undeclared ingredients, some of which may be hormone altering preservatives called phthalates, and you may have no way of knowing. Since companies don’t have to give a chemical breakdown of fragrances, it is difficult to tell the exact components of the scent. Problems such as coughing, vomiting, hyper pigmentation, allergies, skin rashes, and dizziness have all been known to occur from the use of synthetic fragrances. A word to the wise: avoid the word “fragrance” on the ingredient label unless it is derived from essential oils.

Parabens
Parabens can include propyl, butyl, methyl, and ethyl parabens. This group of preservatives extend shelf life of cosmetics, and are estimated to be contained in over 90% of all beauty products. A 2006 study of the urine sample of healthy adults showed evidence of parabens in over 90 percent of the participants.

Phthalates
You probably don’t want to find any chemicals used to make plastics in your cosmetic supplies. Phthalates are chemicals derived from oil, often found in product like perfume, hair spray, and nail polish and are often used to help the product cling to the skin, nails, and hair. The fear is that these products may be absorbed through the skin, fingernails, and lungs. Animal studies have shown an association between phthalates and kidney, liver, lung, and reproduction system damage. Human studies have shown abnormal development in male infants whose mothers show high levels of phthalates in their bodies. You may especially want to look out for dibutyl phthalate (DBP) di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and butylbenzylphthalate (BBP) on ingredient lists.

What ingredients are you looking to avoid on your beauty products? Let us know! It may be helpful!

Signs You’re Allergic To Your Skincare Product

Woman in front of mirror

We all know how difficult it can be to find a skincare product you love. After consigning half your paycheck’s worth of products to the garbage bin, you come upon something that actually works; that anti wrinkle cream that really seems to be making you look younger, that spot treatment that really seems to be getting rid of those spots. And just when you declare yourself an official customer for life, it happens: the itching, the redness, the wheezing, the inflammation – the allergic reaction. Sure, the product did what it said it would, but are you really just trading one problem for another? Here are some signs that you’re allergic to your skincare product and what you can do about it.

Aluminum Compounds
If your armpits are getting red and peeling, it may just be that you’re having an allergic reaction to the aluminum compounds in your antiperspirant, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

You can try swapping it with a natural deodorant. However, Zeichner says, “They do a fine job of masking odor, but aren’t great at preventing sweating.” If leaky pits are still problem, try a sensitive skin antiperspirant with low levels of aluminum.

Acids
It may not surprise you to note that some of the products designed to get rid of skin cells may be causing more harm than good. Salicylic acid, topical retinoids, and glycol acids all, “can cause skin irritation, dryness, redness, and/or burning if you over-use them, ” says Zeichner.

If you notice a negative reaction to topicals, you may want to consult a dermatologist and follow usage instructions carefully. It may be that you need to start with a lower dosage and gradually build up from there, or decrease usage to every other day or every few days. If you are having an allergic reaction to a glycol peel, you may want to trnon-chemicalal forms of exfoliation, like a gentle scrub or a vitamin C or fruit enzyme peel.

Fragrance
Health researchers at the University of Washington credit the use of synthetic fragrance with the development of skin and respiratory irritation in over 20% of the American population. “And fragrance doesn’t just mean perfume; it’s used in almost every beauty product under the sun, points out Siobhan O’Connor, co author of “No More Dirty Looks.” Fragrances pop up even in products that are labeled “unscented” because companies are known to use fragrance chemicals as masking agents to create neutral “non-scents.”

A word to the wise and fragrance sensitive: avoid products with the word “fragrance”on their label, and look for the term “fragrance-free” instead.

Metallics
Glitter can be a girl’s best friend, but not if she’s allergic to nickel. If you’re allergic to the metal, found in the plating of buttons and snaps and costume jewelry, you may also have an allergic reaction to cobalt, used in personal care products, such as light brown hair dyes and antiperspirants. Aluminum, lead, and chromium are other metals to be wary of.

Do a patch test with any cosmetic or mineral makeup which is likely to contain metallic elements to be sure it will not cause a reaction when you apply it to your face.

Emollients
Perry Romanowski, cosmetic chemist says, “Emollients are ingredients designed to feel good on your skin, but any go them cause breakouts, especially for acne-prone skin. Coconut butter, lanolin, cocoa butter, iso-stearyl isostearate, isopropyl palmitate and myristyl lactate are all emollients to be put on the “use with caution” list.

If you’re breakout-prone, use a noncomedogenic, water-based moisturizer to keep skin hydrated without clogging your pores.

Are you allergic to your skin care product? Let us know how you prevent breakouts and what you use to replace the cosmetics that cause you irritation.