Many of us are mindful of what we eat, clued-up about healthy foods and scrutinize food labels at the grocery store. Yet what we put on our skin is just as important for our wellbeing as what we have for lunch. Our skin readily absorbs ingredients in the personal care products we use – fabulous news when applying high quality natural formulations, but problematic if we’re unknowingly putting toxic chemicals on our skin.
Decoding skincare labels can be quite a challenge though and it may feel like you need a chemistry degree to even begin. Being ’in the know’ of potentially harmful ingredients is essential though if we are to make informed choices.
See below for the top five commonly used skincare ingredients we recommend avoiding (and which you’ll never find in AEOS formulations).
1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Common in foaming products like shower gels, soaps and facial cleansers, SLS and SLES may produce a lovely lather, but the potential health effects of these surfactants (that double as industrial degreasers and pesticides) are not pretty. The jury’s still out on some of the scarier claims made about SLS and SLS, but if you have sensitive skin you’d do well to avoid them – effective in stripping moisture and protective natural oils from the skin’s surface, these surfactants can leave your complexion dry and irritated. They’ve also got a rep as potential eye irritants and water pollutants – thankfully natural and safe alternatives are available. Your skin deserves better!
Skincare’s most popular preservative and widely used in body washes and facial cleansers, parabens used in skincare are synthetic preparations derived from petrochemicals. They may be very effective in preventing the growth of microbes, but unfortunately they’re also easily absorbed through the skin and considered by some studies to interfere with reproductive hormones. Other studies indicate that parabens may have a role in premature skin aging. We think we’ll give parabens a pass and stick to natural alternatives!
3. Mineral oil
Found in moisturisers and many other personal care products, petroleum-derived mineral oil is used to act as a barrier to lock moisture inside the skin. That it may well do, as it clings to your skin like plastic, but it can also clog pores and impair skin’s ability to eliminate toxins. Acne and early skin aging are some of the potential side effects. But who misses mineral oil when there are deeply hydrating and nourishing alternatives? (We’re especially proud of our moisture-locking spelt formulations).
4. Silicone-derived emollients
Extensively added to moisturisers and facial treatments to soften the product and to make your skin feel silky, these silicone based compounds (look out for cyclomethicone or anything ending in ‘siloxane’ on a label) also coat the skin, impairing its ability to breathe and eliminate toxins. Although they do make for smooth products (and can even temporarily make lines less noticeable by settling inside wrinkles), these non-biodegradable emollients can cause skin irritation and blemishes. Lucky for us, better options are available, so we’ll manage without silicone in our skincare, thanks!
5. Synthetic Fragrance or Parfum
‘Fragrance’ is often listed as an ingredient in skincare products such as body wash and moisturisers. Fragrance or parfum in an ingredient list doesn’t stand for a single substance though but a mixture of potentially dozens of mostly synthetic ingredients. Since these terms are in use to protect ‘secret formulas’, none of the separate components are disclosed. Meanwhile substantial research is yet to tell us the full impact of synthetic fragrance on our health. It’s not surprising this can make it more than a little tricky to make an informed choice about using a product, as thousands of different substances are in use. If you have sensitive skin, you may wish to avoid products containing parfum – alongside preservatives, fragrances are among the most common skincare ingredients to cause allergic reactions. In any case, we know we’d rather avoid mystery ingredients and know what we’re putting on our skin!
Here at AEOS HQ, the quality, purity and traceability of our ingredients is of utmost importance – you can read more about our commitment to use only the safest and most beneficial all-natural ingredients in our formulations here.
Here’s to radiant skin, beauty within and good health – the way nature intended!4