While we’re busy switching our sweaters for short-sleeves and our boots for sandals, it’s a good time to take a look at our skin care products too. We all want our skin to look and feel its healthiest, but some common ingredients are actually detrimental to the health of our skin…and the environment. Cleansers, exfoliants, lotions, and body oils don’t have to contain harsh chemicals to be effective. Eliminating these six ingredients from your skin care routine can improve skin tone, support your health, and protect the environment.
1. Fragrance/Perfume/Parfum: Although artificial fragrances may mimic natural scents, their side effects are anything but natural: skin irritations, allergies, headaches, even endocrine system and hormone disruptions. Oftentimes, skin sensitivities may be a reaction to synthetic fragrances. Unfortunately, as a consumer, we never know which of the thousands of chemical scents a company has chosen for their proprietary blend. Instead, choose products using quality essential oils in their ingredients which provide a safer scent and aroma therapeutic benefits.
2. Microbeads: Since these tiny plastic beads have turned up by the millions in our lakes and oceans, many cities have placed a ban on microbeads. These petroleum-based plastic beads are commonly utilized in exfoliators and scrubs, but they have become an ecological nightmare. Skip the microbeads and “polyethylene” to eliminate dry patches and rejuvenate your skin. Bamboo powder and organic cane sugar are natural exfoliating alternatives that help soften skin, reduce fine lines and fight free-radicals.
3. Methylisothiazolinone/Methylchloroisothiazolinone: Many companies understand that consumers are seeking products without synthetic fragrances or formaldehyde ingredients. Just because you don’t see those listed on packaging labels doesn’t mean that the company has eliminated cheap “antibacterial” ingredients too. Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone are common triggers for skin allergies and irritations. Organic essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Tea Tree oil are naturally antibacterial.
4. Mineral Oil/Petroleum/Paraffin: Your skin may feel soft after applying petroleum-based skin care products, however, they’re actually doing long-term damage. In addition to possible toxins within the petroleum by-products, these ingredients clog the pores and may cause skin irritation since their water-resistant properties trap dirt and contaminates inside the pores. Choose skin care creams, lotions, and moisturizers that utilize nutrient dense seed oils like organic Evening Primrose, organic Sea Buckthorn, and organic Jojoba oil which mimic the skin’s natural sebum and allow the pores to breathe.
5. Parabens: Essentially all skin care products that contain water need a preservative to prevent bacteria growth. The commonly used parabens, however, are not the safest choice. Parabens disrupt the body’s natural hormone processes- specifically estrogen- and have been linked to breast cancer. Plant-based preservatives like vegetable emulsifying wax NF and vegetable glycerin add moisture without drying the skin or interrupting the endocrine system.
6. PEG compounds (polyethylene glycol): Often used to thicken moisturizer creams, but, like parabens, PEG compounds have been linked to endocrine and reproductive system: uterine and breast cancers. Fractionated coconut oil safely adds moisture and thickness to lotions and skin creams.
Skin care products shouldn’t have to come with warning labels. Understanding ingredient list helps you choose products safest for your body and for the environment. Ready to take it a step further? Check out these 29 additional ingredients that can be harmful for your skin, health, and nature.