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Top 10 Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid…(like the plague)

By March 25, 2013Beauty, Home, Skin Care
top 10 skin care ingredients to avoid

So many facial cleansers, moisturizers, and masks exist that it can be confusing to find the one that is right for your skin. Just because a facial product claims to be “natural”, does not mean it will not wreak havoc on your face. When shopping for a facial cleanser I pay attention to 3 things:

  1. The cost
  2. The  so-called “claim” of the product

Cleansers such as Clean & Clear and Neutrogena are filled with harmful agents that can cause long-term negative health effects as well as short-term skin care issues. This does not mean, “natural” skin products are in the clear. Almost every product you use deserves a second look at the ingredients. When I find a product I love, I incessantly look at the ingredients, which is why it’s easy for my sisters and me to spend hours in the natural health store.

I want to be able to look at a product and understand the role of each ingredient and their reason for adding it.  It’s impossible to know EVERY single ingredient out there but there are a few that you should most definitely avoid.  If you see a product with these ingredients return it, trash it, and find a skin care product that will treat your skin with the TLC it deserves!

Here’s the list of 10 ingredients to most certainly AVOID:

1. Parabens (ethyl-, methyl-, propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl- or isobutyl)

  • a preservative used to extend shelf life and prevent the growth of microbes
  • effects hormones, may reduce sperm count/testosterone in men, cause early menstruation in women, may be a carcinogen

2. Sulfates (Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate)

  • detergent and surfactant
  • may cause skin rashes/eye infections, depression, diarrhea

3. Diethanaolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), Triethanolamine (TEA)

  • foaming agent/emulsifier
  • skin/eye irritant, may affect brain and body function, cause dry skin, may cause liver and kidney cancer

4. DMDM Hydantion/Urea

  • preservative
  • releases formaldehyde resulting in headaches, skin reactions, dizziness, joint pain, chest pain, dermatitis, fatigue, and ear infections

5. Sodium Benzoate-

  • preservative
  • morphs into the cancer-causing agent “benzene” when mixed with Vitamin C.

6. Propylene Glycol-

  • skin conditioning agent or “surfactant” that penetrates quickly the also found in Anti-Freeze
  • may cause cancer, reproductive/developmental problems, damages protein/cellular structure of the skin

7. FD&C or D&C Color Pigments-

  • synthetic coloring that leaves toxins on the skin
  • may cause cancer, nausea, headaches, mood changes,

8. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

  • strips skin of sebum (oil)
  • may cause kidney damage

9. Isopropyl/Ethyl Alcohol

  • Solvent/denaturant
  • strip the skin of its natural moisture may cause headaches, nausea, diarrhea, depression
  • not to be confused with cetyl alcohol which is an emollient derived from coconuts

10. Fragrance

  • may contain hidden ingredient “phthalate” that may affect reproductive organs and development of children

Next time your shopping for a facial moisturizer, mask, or cleanser keep these ingredients in mind. It may take some time but look for products that are labeled as SLS/Paraben/Fragrance/Color free, but your body will thank you!

Peace, Love & Coconuts!

– Zeena

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • gigirl19 says:

    I thought I was the only one that looked at ingredients of cosmetics, thank you for raising this important issue!

    • Brown & Coconut says:

      You’re definitely not alone! We can spend hours browsing for chemical free beauty products. It is such an important issue that all consumers should be aware of! Thanks so much for sharing girl!! 🙂

  • Susan says:

    Very Informative. Excellent research! Susan E.

  • Kate says:

    You offer some helpful information but assuming, by the absence of credentials in your “about us” page, you are not experts eg. not chemists nor licensed cosmetologists. You recommend using shampoos without sulfates and though I was relieved that you didn’t say that they may cause cancer which is nonsense and not factually-based, I was dismayed that you didn’t mention that using certain conditioners/hair treatments require the use of sulfates.

    Many conditioning products contain silicones. For example, one of my favorite conditioners is Herbal Essences Hydralicious Featherweight and it contains cyclopentasiloxane. Cyclopentasiloxane is an insoluble silicone so it will not be rinsed off with solely water. It requires the use of sulfates to remove it. I think it’s important to mention this when recommending a sulfate-free shampoo. Those who use silicones on their hair and use sulfate-free shampoos will not remove the build-up which can have disastrous results. Also, not all sulfates are created equal and one of the ones you suggest we steer clear of is actually very mild, so mild they use it to measure other harsh surfactants against.

    As for them being irritating, they can irritate but so can just about anything including 100% natural products. My least favorite shampoos and the one that actually did irritate my scalp was sulfate-free. I never lost as much hair as I did when I went sulfate-free/silicone-free for three months last year. Oh vey! I don’t shed much at all. I never have hair on my sweaters or jackets or coats or scarves and when I detangle, I lose very little so losing a lot more hair was scary and also baffling. Having ridden the sulfate-free train, I’m happy to be back on it. I do look at ingredients. But, everyone’s hair is different. Even my own sister, whose curly hair is similar in appearance to mine, reacts differently to certain products than I do.

    That said, I found this blog doing a google image search. You all have lovely hair. It’s always refreshing to see women embrace their curls. I’m sure your curly-haired subscribers, male and female alike, would love a tutorial from each of you.

    • Brown & Coconut says:

      Kate – Thank you for your feedback regarding our post on our Top 10 Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid. While the post was specifically discussing skin care products, not hair care products, we agree with what you mention about needing a stronger or sulfate containing shampoo to remove build up on your hair caused by other products, however, we try to avoid such products altogether. In keeping with our mission, we prefer not to use hair care products that will leave tough-to-remove build-up and as a result we do not need stronger or sulfate containing shampoos. Brown & Coconut believes in taking a more natural route when it comes to hair care, skin care, and our health & nutrition, so we look for solutions that do not contain harsh or potentially harmful chemicals. In this case, when we feel the need to give our hair a deep cleanse and/or remove build-up, we will opt for apple cider vinegar or baking soda, for example. Also, as you mentioned, everyone’s hair is different and while your hair and/or skin may not mind sulfates, others may react differently. We are glad you have found products and a routine that works well for you and thank you so much for your lovely compliment about our hair, we love to see other curlies embracing their locks too!

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