Did you know our skin is the largest and one of the most important organs on our body? It performs several vital functions including; protection, sensation, absorption, secretion, controlling body temperature, storing blood and Vitamin D production. It only makes sense to be extremely mindful of what we are putting on our skin. This is why we need to know what ingredients to avoid on our rich complexions. Let’s get into it!

  1. Parabens

They are a common type of preservative used in many different skincare products to keep the product fresh and prevent harmful bacteria growth. These are not always labelled and usually known as Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl and Propyl. Scientific studies suggest that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. They can also cause skin irritation.

  • Formaldehyde

This acts as an antibacterial preservative to reduce the growth of bacteria in products. Very low levels can be used, but it’s better not to use them. Some skin care products contain formaldehyde releasers that are a time-release form of formaldehyde because they are more economically feasible however, they can cause skin irritation.

  • Fragrances/Parfum

These can make products smell attractive. This may sound harmless, but most fragrances are chemicals and may have toxic effects on the body. The ingredients of most scents include petroleum- or coal-derived chemicals. These are skin and nose irritants. They can be dangerous for people with respiratory issues and may cause an allergic reaction when used.

  • SD/Denatured Alcohol

Not all alcohols are harmful to us but there are types that cause ‘dryness’ to the skin. Prolonged usage of ‘drying’ alcohol will leave the skin dry and flake as it eats away at the skin surface. This unnecessary stress on the skin will lead to the interruption of the skin renewal cycle, resulting in an extremely unhealthy skin condition.

  • Menthol

This is an organic compound that is typically derived from herb plants such as peppermint and eucalyptus. Menthol essential oil is highly regarded and often infused into creams providing a cooling and soothing effect. However, high strengths or formulas can cause skin irritation and even chemical burns. This should be avoided especially around the eye region.

  • Hydroquinone

This is an aromatic compound in skincare products that acts as a skin lightening agent. It has the ability to bleach the skin and can be helpful in the treatment of different forms of hyperpigmentation. However, the chemical destroys the skin through its forced and harsh alteration. This can lead to skin problems, more blemishes, and even increased ageing.

  • Sodium lauryl sulphate/ sodium lauryl sulfate

Skincare products contain this ingredient because of their surfactant nature. Commonly found in cleansers. The purpose of this chemical is to create foam texture. This enables to trap dirt and makes it easy to rinse off. But, SLS is one of the most sensitizing ingredients. It is a known skin and eye irritant. These can cause dry and flaking skin, allergies and redness.

  • Glycolic Acid

This ingredient does wonders, however, it may not be compatible with melanin-rich skin. It is a high-performance chemical peeling solution made from sugar cane. But this Alpha Hydroxy Acid can be too strong for rich complexions. High amounts can cause sensitivity to light, affecting hyperpigmentation (especially if one does not use SPF). A better option would be a Poly Hydroxy Acid such as Mandelic Acid- which is more gentle.

  • Mineral Oil

This is commonly used in creams and oil to provide a moisturising effect on the skin. However, this substance coats the skin like plastic, clogging its pores and sitting on top of the skin. This is incredibly harmful because it interferes with the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, therefore increasing the likelihood of acne and other disorders.

  1.  DEA (diethanolamine)/MEA (Monoethanolamine)/TEA (triethanolamine)

These chemical compounds are clear, colourless, viscous liquids with ammonia-like odours. They are usually found in products that foam like facial cleansers and soaps- causing irritation to the skin causing dryness and inflammation, eyes, and respiratory tract, with MEA being the worst irritant.

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