I always consider myself lucky that I don't have sensitive skin. I'll pretty much try any skincare product I come across, slathering it on without even thinking. If a product has good reviews and cute packaging, you can pretty much guarantee that I'll give it a try. However, the recent popularity of natural skincare products got me thinking, "What are my skincare products actually made of?" I usually won't eat something if I don't know the ingredients, so why should it be any different with my skin? I reached out to some dermatologists to find out what ingredients I should watch out for in my skincare products. The answers may surprise you.
Jennifer Ahdout, MD is a Board Certified Dermatologist at The Roxbury Institute. Dr. Ahdout comments that you should be aware of formaldehyde in skincare products. She explains, "Formaldehyde is a preservative that is used in cosmetic products to prevent bacterial growth. It's related to a lot of skin reactions. It can cause an allergic skin reaction and can be harmful to the immune system"
Dr. Ahdout also warns against the ingredient propylene glycol, which is commonly used as a moisturizing agent in a lot of cosmetic products. According to Dr. Ahdout, it can be a significant skin irritant, even in low concentrations. It can be found in moisturizers and many hair products, so be sure to check the ingredients before applying,
Did you know that when you see "fragrance" on the label of a product, the company is not required to disclosure what ingredients actually make up the scent? Dr. Kalpana DePasquale, a board-certified surgeon who developed her own line of plant-based skincare, explains, "The word fragrance can represent hundreds of chemicals which can aggravate asthma, allergies, and headaches. Many fragrances are created with Phtalates, a group of chemicals considered to be endocrine disruptors and are linked to reproductive problems." She suggests using products that have essential oils or fruit as the fragrance.
Make sure to watch out for alcohol in beauty products. Alcohol is often used as the base ingredient in many beauty products to thicken the product and allow it to penetrate the skin more effectively. Dr. Pasquale says be careful because alcohol breaks down the skin's natural barriers and can dry and irritate the skin. She says to avoid Isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, and ethyl alcohol.