Understanding the ingredients in skincare can be confusing. The components in skincare products can be be irritating for some and it’s important to understand what to look for. In this post, we will provide a high level overview of some common items found in skincare.
Fragrance is one of the most common ingredients in skincare products. It is used to add scent to the product and to enhance user experience. However, certain fragrances can cause issues for individuals who have allergies or various skin conditions.
Parabens are preservatives used in skincare products to extend their shelf life. As with many products in the clean beauty space, it can be challenging to make cosmetics shelf stable without the use of certain preservation systems, which is why we are seeing different options being used. In some individuals, certain parabens can mimic estrogen in the body, disrupting the endocrine system and leading to hormonal imbalances (Mitra et al., 2021). This is why we encourage users to always perform a patch test and make notes of how their skin responds to various items. Of course, it’s difficult to know exactly what can cause skin irritation, especially from a paraben perspective, but this is when to include your dermatologist.
Sulfates and Phthalates
Sulfates are surfactants commonly used in skincare products to create lather, and remove dirt/oil from the skin. However, sulfates can be harsh on the skin. Phthalates are a class of chemicals used in plastics and skincare products. They are used to make plastics more flexible and as solvents in skincare products.
Mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum commonly used in skincare products as a moisturizer and to create a barrier on the skin to prevent water loss. However, mineral oil can be considered a heavy ingredient that can clog pores and lead to acne. It can also create a precent other beneficial ingredients from penetrating the because it has a thick consistency.
Alcohol is used in skincare products as a solvent to dissolve other ingredients and can act as a preservative in some limited instances (think high proof alcohol). It can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness, irritation, and inflammation.
While all of these things can seem like a barrier, more alternatives are being used and discovered in many instances to keep our skin happy. Careful consideration was given when preparing our products to provide you with quality ingredients that support you.
Mitra, P., Chatterjee, S., Paul, N. et al. An Overview of Endocrine Disrupting Chemical Paraben and Search for An Alternative – A Review. Proc Zool Soc 74, 479–493 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12595-021-00418-x