So many companies and advertisements try to get us to pay for their “miracle” anti-aging and beautifying cosmetics. But, do they really deliver on the promise or could they actually contain ingredients that do the opposite of what they claim?

The next time you’re going to purchase a skincare, makeup or hair product, be sure to flip to the ingredients label and see if they contain any of the ingredients below. Chances are you should put that product back on the shelf and look for something better like these products or something from one of these green beauty brands.

Ingredients to avoid

Mineral Oil/Petroleum/Petrolatum

This petrol-derived ingredient has no beneficial or therapeutic effect on skin other than creating an air-proof barrier that suffocates the skin. This can often lead to peeling and flaking, especially if the product is used on the lips like in lipstick or lip balm. 

PEGs (polyethylene glycols)

These are derivatives of petroleum contaminated with ethylene oxide (a known carcinogen according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer) and can be skin irritants. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, they can also allow other harmful ingredients in the same formula to be more easily penetrated into the skin by their absorption.

Hydrogenated Oils

These are oils have been manipulated to make them more stable from cheap sources of oils that are naturally unstable on their own. This process created free radical damage which is carcinogenic to the body.

Bismuth 

This mineral which is found in conventional and mineral makeup can collect in the lungs as sediment and impair breathing.

Parabens

Are known to mimic cancerous cells in the breast tissue and lead to breast cancer. Common forms of this in cosmetics are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.

Phenoxyethanol

This is a preservative and antibacterial used to replace parabens, but it is made with ethylene oxide and is also carcinogenic. It is also a neurotoxin, leading to brain and nervous system damage, vomiting, and contact dermatitis according to Truth In Aging.

Silicones (especially Dimethicone)

This substance is a very dense polymer that is used to improve the texture and spreadability of cosmetics onto the skin. Unfortunately because of its heavy, airtight nature it’s can very easily clog pores, have whiteheads, lead to acne if not washed off each day, and be very difficult to remove from the skin which can lead to buildup that prevents proper and healthy cell turnover leading to dull-looking skin from the accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface.  

Dimethicone is one of the heaviest forms of silicone and is the most widely used one in conventional cosmetics these days, even making its way to some green beauty brands.

Fragrance (synthetic alcohol-based)

Fragrance is a very common ingredient to make products smell appealing. This is an alcohol-based ingredient and can be very drying and Irritating on the skin. Its origins come from ambergris, a waxy fixative produced from whale feces.   

Carmine/Cochineal/Red Lake 40 and Artificial Dyes

The first ingredient is for red color which is made from crushed insects and has been consistently shown to irritate sensitive skin. Artificial dyes are derived from coal tar, petroleum and crude oil which are also made into gasoline and are carcinogenic to the body. The Honest Company and Truth In Aging both have great blog posts breaking down this topic further, going into all of the specific artificial dyes to avoid.

Essential Oils (If you have sensitive skin)  

The volatility of these concentrated oils can be irritating for some people, especially oils from citrus fruits like orange and lemon or very aromatic ones like rosemary. And some can make the skin photosensitive. Some people are even allergic to lavender oil even though it is a popular one for balancing the skin and creating a sense of peace as aromatherapy.

Allergens

If you are someone with food or cosmetic intolerances, it can be helpful to get an allergy test to help you avoid ingredients that you specifically allergic to on top of the above ingredients mentioned here. You can either take a patch test at a hospital or Alcat test which avoids scratching the skin to test for reactions.

Hope this list for you to how to avoid putting harmful, irritating, and cancer-causing ingredients on your skin that might be contributing to skin and cell damage as opposed to delivering on their promise to make you looking for younger longer. The more informed you are, the better off you will be! Be sure to like and share this blog if you enjoyed this content and would like to see more like this!

Terry Alabata is a 7-year experienced makeup artist and hairstylist and the Bay Area’s premiere beauty artist specializing in eco-friendly and cruelty-free makeovers. Her passion for makeup and hair grew from a desire to find safe, hypoallergenic options for people with sensitive skin and eczema, like her.

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