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5 Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

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Everyone wants beautiful, healthy skin, and some people are willing to spend big bucks on expensive skincare products and elaborate treatments just to achieve this. But did you know that many products from even premium brands contain harmful ingredients that could potentially damage your skin? Here are five common skincare ingredients you should look out for and avoid when shopping for products for your skin:


Sulfates are powerful chemicals that act as a detergent. They are what cause your skin and hair care products to foam and lather. As satisfying as it may be to use facial washes and liquid soaps that produce a rich, luxurious lather, sulfates can be overly aggressive on your skin and strip it of its natural moisture. Sodium lauryl sulfate is one of the most common and most sensitizing sulfates, and it can be found in almost every personal care product imaginable. For healthy, moisturized skin, avoid sulfates and consider switching to natural beauty products that don’t contain them, such as those found on

Well Within Beauty’s organic skincare products contain no harmful chemicals and are made from only the finest ingredients found in nature. Their Soothe + Soften Cleansing Emulsion is one of their best organic beauty products and is an effective yet gentle cleanser that uses safe, skin-friendly surfactants instead of harmful sulfates.


You may have already heard of parabens and numerous warnings to avoid them in your personal care products. But what exactly are they, and why are they so bad? Parabens are a type of preservative used to prolong the shelf life of many skincare and beauty products. The reason why they should be avoided is that they are extremely penetrative and can enter your body through your skin.

They have been linked to breast cancer and may cause hormone disruption. Some experts argue that studies linking parabens to these conditions are inconclusive, but when it comes to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fortunately, more and more beauty companies are coming out with products that are paraben-free, so you have a lot of choices when it comes to skincare.


Phthalates are compounds primarily used to soften plastic and vinyl. They are sometimes used in skincare and personal care products to soften and moisturize skin, or to give nail polish and hair sprays flexibility. Research shows that they can damage your kidneys, lungs, liver and even your reproductive system. Since their harmful effects were discovered, they are not as common in skincare products as they used to be, but it’s worth paying attention to the ingredients lists of the products you buy to make sure that they don’t contain these dangerous compounds.


Formaldehyde is a colorless gas in its pure form, however it may be added to skincare and beauty products as a preservative. It is mainly found in products like nail polish, deodorants and lotions. It can be extremely sensitizing and cause skin irritation, as well as watery eyes and trouble breathing. The worst thing about formaldehyde is that it has carcinogenic properties, meaning it can potentially cause cancer and should be avoided at all costs.


Compared to the other chemicals on this list, alcohol doesn’t seem like it should be considered a bad ingredient. Alcohol can be useful in skin care as it can help your skin better absorb products. It is also a popular ingredient in products specifically targeted at oily skin, as it has drying properties and can give your skin a mattifying effect. You should be aware that there are good alcohols as well as bad ones.

Alcohols you should avoid in your skincare include ethanol, isopropyl and alcohol denat. They can be extremely drying and can cause irritation and breakouts.

It’s true that there is a lot of fear mongering in the beauty industry, and some ingredients have been unfairly demonized and labeled as “bad” when they are perfectly harmless or sometimes even beneficial for your skin. The aim of this article is not to make you paranoid or turn shopping for skincare into a stressful task, but to help you make better, healthier and more informed choices. After all, your health is most important.

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