As promised a few weeks back, I wanted to share the four skincare ingredients I do my best to avoid. I am definitely not 100% there, as some of these are pretty tough to cut out completely. I am doing my best, though! I chose these five because I feel they are some of the most important AND they are some of the easiest to identify on ingredient lists.
Parabens are man-made preservatives that interfere with our endocrine system and our bodies’ ability to produce hormones. They have also been found in breast tumors, so some believe their is a link between these preservatives and breast cancer.
There is good news, though! Many brands are well aware of the effects of parabens and are now removing them from their products. Even better, most companies will make their “no parabens” claim very apparent in their packaging, so the safer alternatives are easy to spot. Please know that parabens may show up as methylparaben, propylparaben or butylparaben on ingredient lists, so keep an eye out for all three names.
Artificial colors are suspected of being carcinogens (in both food and personal care products). Look for colors like Yellow #6, Red #40, Green #3, as those are the most controversial when it comes to skincare. If your hand soap is hot pink, your shampoo is lime green or anything you are using looks unnatural, there are probably some unnecessary dyes in the product. I recommend starting to phase these products out for products without any color added.
This is probably the most common, but possibly the sketchiest ingredient out there. It looks pretty innocent on the ingredient list, usually reading as fragrance, perfume, or parfum. However it is really is a combination of chemicals that get to hide behind this benign sounding label. Read more about the concern over the ingredient “fragrance” here. Eliminating fragrances doesn’t mean you can’t use products that smell nice. There are plenty of brands on the market that use essential oils and other natural substances to add scents to their products.
Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
These are detergents or foaming agents present in most personal care products (like your shampoo and toothpaste). These chemicals are used in engine degreasers, and somehow also in everyday products we put on our body. As you can imagine, a substance such as this could be irritating to the skin. They can also potentially cause health issues such as kidney and respiratory problems. This one is tough to say goodbye to, especially if you love a really nice lather in the shower. I admittedly have both in my shower and resort to the one with SLS if my hair really feels like it needs a deep clean. I’m obviously still a work in progress here!
Looking to make some changes to your skincare routine, but not ready to jump in with both feet just yet? Read about my very doable approach to safer skincare.