4 Common Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

Choosing the most effective skincare products can seem overwhelming if you’re unsure which ingredients you should avoid and which to include in your daily routine. While there is some conflicting research concerning certain “buzz word” skincare ingredients, avoiding these four potential irritants could help to lower the likelihood of experiencing unnecessary skin irritation.

1. Sulfates

Sulfates are commonly found in many shampoos, soaps, cleansers and other cosmetic products. Chances are, you’ve come across the two most common sulfates, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), in some of the products that you use. These ingredients are surfactants, which provide the foaming or sudsy effect of many skincare and hair products. But the problem with using sulfates on your skin or in your hair is that they are known irritants (Environmental Working Group).

While proper formulation of certain sulfates may help to reduce the incidence of irritation, those with skin concerns such as eczema, psoriasis, sensitive skin, severely dry skin or aging skin may benefit from avoiding these ingredients to help improve the look and feel of skin texture.

Those with skin concerns such as eczema, psoriasis, sensitive skin, severely dry skin or aging skin may benefit from avoiding these ingredients.

Those with skin concerns such as eczema, psoriasis, sensitive skin, severely dry skin or aging skin may benefit from avoiding these ingredients.

2. Ammonia Compounds

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are two of the most common ammonia compounds that can be found in skincare products. Like sulfates, these ingredients are also used as foaming agents or emulsifiers to help stabilize certain formulas. DEA and TEA, however, may dry out the skin and hair, cause allergic reactions and irritate the eyes. Some research has also shown that when combined with certain ingredients, DEA and TEA increase the risk of developing cancer as well as other potentially harmful side effects (Environmental Health Perspectives).

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are two of the most common ammonia compounds that can be found in skincare products.

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are two of the most common ammonia compounds that can be found in skincare products.

3. Mineral Oil

Mineral oil has sparked a recent debate regarding its use in cosmetic products for a variety of reasons. This ingredient is a by-product of the process of distilling petroleum in order to yield gasoline. It can be found in a number of lotions, creams, ointments and makeup products.

While there is a distinct difference between what’s known as “technical grade” mineral oil, which is unpurified, and “cosmetic grade” mineral oil, which is purified, experts have expressed concern about the possibility that mineral oil contamination could have adverse health effects (Journal of Women’s Health).

Additionally, mineral oil is comedogenic, which means that it can clog pores. When pores become clogged, acne breakouts, blackheads and whiteheads can form, leading to an uneven, discolored complexion and possibly scarring. Instead, look for skincare products labeled “non-comedogenic,” meaning that they do not contain ingredients that will clog your pores.

Mineral oil is comedogenic, which means that it can clog pores.

Mineral oil is comedogenic, which means that it can clog pores.

4. Fragrance

Adding fragrance to your anti-aging or other skincare products may also lead to skin irritation and dryness, especially for those with sensitive skin. In addition, dry, flaky skin can make the appearance of lines and wrinkles more pronounced, creating the opposite effect that those using anti-aging products want to achieve. Replace products that may be irritating your skin with formulas that don’t contain fragrances or dyes.

Replace products that may be irritating your skin with formulas that don’t contain fragrances or dyes.

Replace products that may be irritating your skin with formulas that don’t contain fragrances or dyes.

The Bottom Line

While it might seem like many of your cosmetic products contain at least one of these potentially irritating ingredients, the truth is that there are a variety of excellent products to choose from that leave these ingredients out.

You won’t find any of these ingredients in skinbetter science products, for instance, which are dermatologist tested, non-comedogenic and fragrance- and dye-free. However, these formulas do contain revolutionary blends of anti-aging, hydrating and skin-soothing ingredients to help improve the appearance of skin radiance.

  • Daily Treatment Cream EYE includes a potent concentration of vitamin C derived from the world’s richest source of this powerful antioxidant to provide a skin brightening effect, along with a cutting-edge blend of messenger peptides, humectants and moisturizers.
  • Daily Treatment Cream FACE is formulated with powerful polyphenols derived from Mediterranean olive trees to help protect against the breakdown of collagen.
  • AlphaRet™ Overnight Cream FACE is a proprietary formula that combines two gold-standard anti-aging ingredients, a retinoid and an alpha hydroxy acid, to help minimize the appearance of lines, wrinkles, uneven texture and discoloration like never before. This revolutionary product also utilizes a trilogy of skin-soothing ingredients such as allantoin glycyrrhetinic acid, bisabolol and portulaca extract to provide a sensation of calmness.

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