If you’re one of the many women and men who seem to be in a constant battle with their skin, the culprit could be lurking underneath the active ingredients in your skincare products. Whether or not you have very sensitive skin, many of the most common ingredients found in the products that we put on our skin every day are known allergens. As a result, it could be the very products that are meant to help your skin that are, instead, contributing to breakouts, chronically dry skin or other persistent skin conditions.
When choosing your skincare products, whether cleansers, moisturizers or anti-aging treatments, look for these four allergens that could be embedded somewhere in the ingredient list.
1. Perfumes and Fragrances
A nice scent is often thought of as a plus in skincare products, but the truth is that these perfumes and synthetic fragrances may irritate your skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s estimated that 2.5 million women and men worldwide suffer from fragrance allergies, and these allergies are the leading cause of contact dermatitis in the United States.
Avoiding these fragrances, however, can pose a bit of a challenge, as many of them are difficult to detect by their names alone. Some of the most common synthetic fragrances in skincare, for example, include geraniol, cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol, isoeugenol and linalool. Thus, to make sure that your products don’t contain these ingredients, it’s best to buy only products that are clearly labeled as “fragrance-free.”
Like perfumes and fragrances, artificial colors and dyes are commonly found in many of our everyday skincare products, from shampoo to cleansers to moisturizing creams. But just because they’re common doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily gentle on or good for your skin. Many of these colors and dyes are derived from coal tar or heavy metal salts, which may pose a toxicity risk if absorbed into skin. Moreover, the dyes in your cosmetic products could be contributing to ongoing bouts of acne, eczema or other chronic skin conditions.
If you’re prone to irritated or severely dry skin, it’s especially important to be aware of the fragrances or dyes in the topical products that you’re using. Again, when it doubt, look for skincare options labeled “dye-free.”
Just as with certain food products, many skincare products contain preservatives to help them last longer without breaking down. But many of the most common cosmetic preservatives can negatively affect your skin. These include parabens, formaldehyde and methyldibromo glutaronitrile. In fact, the European Commission of Health & Consumer Protection has reported that no safe levels of methyldibromo glutaronitrile have been determined, which has lead to a ban of its use in cosmetic products.
While it may be slightly less convenient, keep in mind that many of the most effective skincare products that don’t contain potentially harmful preservatives will have a certain shelf life before becoming less effective. However, storing your products in a cool, dark location can help to prolong their efficacy.
4. Essential Oils
Essential oils often slip past consumers’ allergen radar because they are considered to be “natural” ingredients. But this is where it’s essential to understand that “natural” does not always mean “gentle” or “safe” for topical use. While there are many reported benefits of utilizing essential oils in skincare or even as aromatherapy, many people may have negative skin reactions to these oils. If your skin doesn’t tolerate synthetic fragrances or perfumes, it’s likely that essential oils will also lead to irritation. Pay close attention to how your skin responds to these ingredients to determine whether or not they could be contributing to an unwanted condition.
Choosing the Best Anti-Aging Skincare Products
When shopping for anti-aging skincare, it can be easy to fall into the trap of only looking at the active ingredients that claim to smooth away the signs of aging from your face. But equally important is finding products that are free of fragrances, dyes and comedogenic agents, which can clog pores, to ensure that you get the most out of your anti-aging regimen with as little irritation as possible.
In fact, AlphaRet® Overnight Cream FACE by skinbetter science has been specifically formulated to minimize irritation while still providing excellent skin smoothing results. The AlphaRet® formula is the result of combining a retinoid with an alpha hydroxy acid to help you achieve a significant reduction in the appearance of depth and size of wrinkles in as little as four weeks, with little to no resulting irritation.
Be careful not to overlook the ingredient list on your cosmetic products. Even when you feel you’re doing everything “right” in terms of the most appropriate skincare routine for your skin type, you may be experiencing problems due to some of these hidden allergens. Getting your products from a professional, or at least purchasing only those that have been dermatologist tested and are labeled fragrance and dye free can help to reduce your risk of mistakenly irritating your skin with unknown allergens.