‘Lifestyle choices’ and ‘Genetics’ are the two most important factors in the appearance of aging skin. While we don’t have control over our gene pool, we can certainly make lifestyle choices that benefit our skin and general health, while choosing products for our daily skin care routine that are free from toxic chemicals. A commitment to those things can help you have trouble-free, radiantly younger looking skin for years to come.
Here is our list of skin care ingredients to avoid like the plague if you want healthier “ageless” skin.
Oxybenzone (also known as benzonphenone-3) is a common ingredient in chemical sunscreens, as oxybenzone absorbs both UVA and UVB rays. According to studies, Oxybenzone is a hormonal disrupter, and can upset our Androgen/Estrogen balance. Oxybenzone is also highly allergenic and a common reason for sudden anaphylactic reaction to sunscreens, especially in children!
Aside: This blog’s author had a first hand experience with this, when one of her children had be hospitalized for an Oxybenzone reaction from sunscreen applied by a well-meaning camp counselor. This very frightening experience led us to working with our chemist to come up with the best hypoallergenic broad spectrum zinc oxide sunscreen in the world. (See below)
Did you know? Oxybenzone has been detected in nearly all American women’s breast milk, which is believed to be affecting infant birth weights.
Organic alternative: Mineralized zinc oxide and plant-based SPF SunProtect SPF 30+
Alcohols (such as ethyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, denat alcohol, etc.) are often used in toners or in moisturizers to make the product feel lighter. It is also used to help other ingredients penetrate the skin. They also work as an astringent and preservative. However, alcohol is also often the cause of breakouts, dryness and irritation. Alcohol based ingredients also deteriorate the skin’s protective acid mantle or barrier (pH balance) and stimulate excess oil production.
Mineral oil (or liquid paraffin, paraffin oil, liquid petroleum, petrolatum liquid, white mineral oil, etc.) are some of the most controversial ingredient in skincare and haircare products such as lotions, creams, moisturizers, cleansers, perfumes, shampoos and cosmetics. The process of extraction of cosmetic grade/pharmaceutical grade mineral oil or paraffin itself can contaminate the final product with toxins (which is arguably carcinogenic in nature!). Mineral oil is highly comedogenic and clogs pores and can increase the risk of acne and blackheads. Additionally, it does absolutely nothing to improve your skin.
Sulfates are what is known as surfactants or degreasers (originally used in industrial floor cleaning!) and are used extensively as a lathering agent in face washes and cleansers. These are added to products in the form of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfates (SLES) or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS). Certain non-organic sulfate-free cleansers contain ‘cocamidopropyl betaine’, which some manufacturers actually claim as a ‘natural’ ingredient as it is remotely obtained from coconut oil.. and although this ingredient nominally reduces irritancy factor, it is actually more harmful for your skin as it strips natural sebum, and is another hormonal disruptor We could go on, as in point of fact, there are more than 100 different types of sulfates obtained synthetic, sulfur and petroleum based derivatives! We hope we have convinced you to get these ingredients out of your life!
Using alternatives such as Black African Soap, Yucca Root and Castile Soap will help to retain natural oils, gently cleanse and remove build up, reduce irritation and inflammation and promote moisture retention.
Ethanolamines (DEA, TEA, MEA)
Ethanolamines such as Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are commonly used in skin cleansers, masks and sunscreens as an emulsifying agent. They are also used to control the pH of products. Ethanolamines can rapidly increase skin sensitivity causing allergic breakouts such as rosacea and acne. In a study, it was found that Ethanolamines can cause chronic damage to the skin barrier and disrupt the acid mantle of our skin by making it more alkaline.
Organic alternative: Look for green emulsifiers in the product list (like milk, honey, apple cider vinegar, beeswax and lecithin) such as those found in our Papaya & Honey Exfoliation Mask & Scrub.
Artificial Colors and Fragrances
A fruity scented facewash maybe one of your go-to products, but more often than not, these ‘flavored’ and ‘colored’ products are just plain bad for your skin and health in the long run. Inexpensive artificial colored ingredients are made up of azo dyes, anthraquinones, phthalocyanines, coal tars and even heavy metals such as lead, and are generally bright, clean or transparent colors.
Some of the commonly known artificial fragrances are made from acetaldehyde, synthetic musks, formaldehyde, chloromethanes, betoxymethanol etc.
Organic alternative: For natural fragrance-rich products look for formulations that are made with plant-based and steam distilled essential oils such as rose, calendula, chamomile, peppermint, frankincense, geranium, calendula, sandalwood, lemongrass, evening primrose, vanilla etc.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
You can find BHA in masks, exfoliants and cleansers. The National Toxicology Program classifies BHA as ‘reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen’. When used constantly over a long period of time it can lead to skin pigmentation. At the internal level, it can disrupt the hormonal balance and the thyroid system.
Did you know? Under California’s Prop 65, Butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA)is listed as a carcinogen and the compound also find a place in the list of Priority 1 Endocrine Receptors.
Organic alternative: Deep cleansing and naturally exfoliating agents such as French Green Clay, Bentonite Clay and Kaolin Clay in our Blemish Treatments.
We are all fascinated with products that claim to be ‘skin brighteners’. However, certain skin lighteners or brighteners may contain the chemical ingredient called ‘Hydroquinone’. The FDA warns that using such skin bleaching chemicals can cause ‘ochronosis’ leading to blue-black discoloration and irreversible lesions on exposed skin. Also avoid products containing calomel and mercury and their derivatives.
Organic alternative: Our ‘Deva Bright’ formula with Licorice root, Uva Ursi (Bear Berry) and Kojic Acid (from Mushrooms) is a non-chemical formulation to even and brighten skin tone. The blend is infused in our SunProtect SPF 30+ and BioScience Peptide Complex.
Next: Find out about the Toxins in commercial haircare products that maybe affecting your health.