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Common Skincare Ingredients You Should Avoid

20th November 2014

Many women suffer from sensitive skin, which is only further irritated by some of the ingredients often found in skincare products available on the market. And it's not just cheaper options that include these irritants.

Many of the high-end products contain the same ingredients as the more affordable options, so it's always important to check the label before purchasing and consult with an expert dermatologist if you experience any irritation.

These are some of the most common skin irritants:

Mineral Oil/Petrolatum

Often used to keep the skin hydrated, petrolatum or mineral oil can actually have the opposite effect by creating a layer that blocks moisture and valuable nutrients from getting to the skin, leaving it dull and lifeless. It can also clog your pores, leading to breakouts, and insulate the skin, trapping heat beneath the surface.


Sulfates such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Ammonium Laureth Sulfate are commonly used in shampoo and soap to create a foaming effect. While it's used in (supposedly) moisturizing products, the sulphates actually dry out skin, creating dead skin to build up and irritate the skin.


Alcohol and acetone are both frequently used in astringents and toners, which strip water out of the skin. This not only dries out the skin, but also traps dirt under the surface, which causes irritation and breakouts.


While it may seem like a nice idea to have a scented skincare product, in fact, fragrance is the leading cause of allergic reactions. Even if a product is listed as “unscented” it can still contain fragrance ingredients, so it's important to check the ingredients list for mention of “parfum,” “perfume,” or “fragrance.”


Much like fragrance, products with colour seem like a nice idea, but some dyes can also cause allergic reactions. In particular, synthetic dyes made with coal tar contain toxins which can cause skin sensitivity and irritation.


Parabens, often used in skincare products as preservatives, have been the source of much controversy over the years, because they were believed by many to cause cancer. However, recent studies have shown that there are no proven links between parabens and cancer, but there is more research needed before clearing them completely.

While purchasing and using skincare ingredients is a great way to maintain healthy skin on a daily basis, to truly give your skin the care it deserves, there are a number of professional treatments which can rejuvenate your skin, making it look younger and fresher. Make sure to consult with an expert dermatologist to find out what the best options are for your skin.

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