Sunday, June 12, 2011

Things to Avoid in Skin Care Products

Last month, my post was about things that you want in skin care. This month, I am listing some ingredients you do NOT want in your skin care. Be a label reader!! You need to know what is in - and what is NOT in - your products. Here are a few to avoid:
  • Imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea: They’re used as preservatives to prevent bacterial growth (not fungi), but they’re also a relatively common cause of contact dermatitis.
  • Fragrances: They may smell good, but these little molecules are responsible for allergic reactions in as much as 14% of the population. Most skin care products don’t really need added fragrances. But without the added fragrance, some -- like soap -- simply smell like the fats they are made from. If fragrance is listed as "fragrance" or "parfum," your product contains phthalates. Phthalates are fragrance extenders. They make the smell last longer, and are inexpensive. Unfortunately, they are also known hormone disruptors. Remember: your skin is your largest organ, and absorbs whatever you apply to it. That's why nicotine and estrogen patches work. You do NOT want your skin absorbing phthalates! Look for products that contain natural scent only (like essential oils) or, are unscented.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate: It’s commonly used in shampoos and cleaners to create suds and is relatively safe, but longer contact time can cause irritation and dryness because the detergent strips the skin of lipids. It's true, soaps that are SLS free often do not lather as profusely as those with sodium lauryl sulfate. But they clean equally well, and are far kinder to your skin.
  • Mineral oil: Used as a base in some products, it may interfere with perspiration.
  • Monoethanolamine (MEA) and triethanolamine (TEA): They’re common pH stabilizers, but when they’re exposed to air, they form potentially irritating substances called nitrosamines. And they have a tendency to clog pores and create blackheads.
  • Toluene: This chemical solvent, which the EPA designates as hazardous waste, is found in many brands of fingernail polish. Toluene can cause headaches, eye irritation, and memory loss. Those won’t kill you, but if you don’t feel good, it’s worth experimenting to see if beauty products could be the source of your general blahness. There are well known brand names out there that are toluene free. Check the label!!
  • Dimethylethanolamine (DMAE): This common “instant facelift” ingredient in wrinkle creams actually does its work by causing cell damage and swelling. Sure, the wrinkles will go away temporarily (they also will if you’re slapped in the face), but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.