Skincare Ingredients to Avoid
Skincare can be overwhelming and confusing. There is so much choice, so many brands vying for your attention with different claims and promises that sometimes you can overlook the very fundamentals of skincare: the ingredients inside.
Like the food you choose to eat and nourish your body with on the inside, we believe the ingredients used in skincare should perform the same nourishing and nurturing role on the outside. The certified-organic, plant-based ingredients we use across our skincare have each been carefully selected to perform a specific function for your skin and support and promote overall skin health. There is absolutely nothing hidden, synthetic or artificial. And to give you even more control over your skincare, we detail a full ingredient list on the front label across our skincare collection. But not all skincare brands act this way.
Many mainstream skincare products contain ingredients to make them feel a certain way (like lathering into bubbles) or to prolong the shelf life (for many, many years in some cases). But these ingredients don't provide any benefits to your skin; worse still, their properties are well documented to cause allergies and skin irritation and are harmful to our endocrine, respiratory and reproductive systems. So not only are you paying for skincare with cheap ingredients that don't provide any skin care benefits, but they're harmful too.
I've set out some of the main culprits in the table below so you can take a screenshot or easily refer to it if you're out and can't remember which ingredients to avoid and why. Let's get started:
|Ingredient||Reason to Avoid|
This is a man-made alcohol which is used as a skin conditioning agent, frequently found in mainstream facial cleansers, moisturisers and soaps. It's a known skin irritant which has been associated with allergic contact dermatitis. It's a toxin which can cause liver and kidney damage. It's also the key component of car anti-freeze and brake fluids. Definitely one to avoid.
|Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)||
Both SLS and SLES are responsible for the foaming and lathering properties in many face washes, soaps and shampoos. It is known to be a skin, eye and lung irritant and may be contaminated with potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane - a suspected carcinogen which easily penetrates the skin.
|Mineral Oil or Petroleum||
This is a by-product from the petroleum industry, made in the production of oil and gas. It's used in many conventional moisturisers and hydrating skincare products. Petroleum is known to cause allergies, skin irritation and sensitivities. 1,4-dioxane is commonly found in petroleum-based products too. Products to avoid: Vaseline (made from petroleum) and Baby Oil (made from mineral oil).
|Synthetic Fragrance or Parfum||
Look out for the word "fragrance" or "parfum" which is an undisclosed concoction of scent chemicals. Brands don't disclose the exact chemicals used (they're "trade secrets"), so you have no way of knowing what exactly you're putting on your skin. This is ingredient labelling at its worst. Known to cause allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. They also contain potential carcinogens and can affect the endocrine system and have been linked to birth defects and neurotoxicity.
Parabens are used as preservatives and are found in many mainstream deodorants, shampoos and conditioners. Parabens mimic the actions of oestrogen in the body and their toxicity can disrupt the endocrine system. They can cause reproductive and developmental disorders. And are also linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
You can read more about these ingredients, and others to avoid, on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Another helpful resource is Cosmetics Info with the science behind ingredients. While the concentrations of these ingredients might be low in any one particular product, the cumulative effect of being exposed to these ingredients is not beneficial for your skin, health or the environment.
You won't find any of the ingredients to avoid listed above in our skincare. We champion the beauty and efficacy of using only the finest, ethically sourced, all-natural and certified-organic, plant-based ingredients across our skincare collection. This means that 100% of what you're paying for is benefiting your skin.
When Sarah created skincare to help with my dry and sensitive skin when I was recovering from leukaemia (read more about us), choosing plant-based ingredients was the only way to be totally sure that we were avoiding harmful ingredients. Read about the organic pumpkin seed oil and organic apricot oil we use in our skincare, and why we use matcha green tea in our Green Clay Face Mask - there's not a harmful ingredient in sight.
Written by: Lauren, COO, BY SARAH
Sign up to our mailing list to be the first to receive our latest blog posts, as well as our news, offers and new product launches. Sign up now!