3 Ingredients To Avoid In Your Skincare Products

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3 Ingredients To Avoid In Your Skincare Products

skincare ingredients to avoid

There are literally hundreds of skincare products out there, all containing a plethora of ingredients.

But how can you be sure that what you are putting onto your skin is actually good for you?

Three ingredient types that are potentially harmful to your skin include Parabens, Glycol and Sulphates.

My Recommendation -NEVER use a product that contains any of these!




Many products make a big thing about them being ‘Paraben Free’. Now this is great, but lets look at Parabens in more depth – 

  • What are they? 
  • Just why should you avoid them? 
  • Whats more how can you identify them in an ingredient list?

Parabens are man made or synthetic preservatives commonly used in pharmaceuticals, some foodstuffs and other personal care items such as shampoos, deodorants and of course skin care products.

They are used because they extend the shelf life of the products, allowing them to last for extended periods of time before they ‘go off’.

The problem with using parabens is that they can pass through your skin and into your body.

Here they have been shown to reproduce the effects of certain hormones and can upset the natural functions of the endocrine system in the body. 

In women they can mimic the effects of Oestrogen which can cause hormone imbalances.

The body does not always react well to artificial oestrogen, it cannot break it down, which can lead to a build up in fat cells – particular the breast tissues.

Studies carried out have shown that long term exposure to increased levels of oestrogen can actually increase the risk of developing breast cancer. 

A landmark study carried out in 2004 at the university of Reading discovered that high concentrations of Parabens ( in this case methylparaben) were found in breast cancer tumours. 

The study did NOT however determine if the parabens actually caused the tumours, just that they were present.

How To Avoid Parabens – 

Read the ingredient label, basically look for anything with the word Paraben at the end – 4 common examples are methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben and propylparaben.



Also known as Polyethyene glycols (PEG’s) these are used in some cosmetics to soften and thicken the product. 

Butylene Glycol is made from petroleum, it is found in many household products, cosmetics, mascara, sunscreens and hairsprays to name just a few. Its used both as a preservative, solvent (to help other ingredients dissolve) and as a humectant ( helps the skin retain moisture).

They are also known to enhance absorption through the skin. Now this is a good and bad thing – its good because you want the good ingredients to get deep into the skins layers, but its bad too as they also allow bad ingredients to do the same.

If used on sensitive or damaged skin, they can cause irritation and in some cases toxicity. They can also reduce the skins moisture content and increase the rate of skin ageing.

Manufacturers use PEG’s because of the way it helps get key ingredients deep into the skin, but as I mentioned above, the disadvantage is that it can also force unwanted chemicals deep into the skin that can be potentially harmful, causing irritation, dryness, and skin problems such as dermatitis.

There is an even darker side to PEG’s too, contaminates that are found in them have also been found to be carcinogens, with potential links to certain cancers including bladder, stomach, breast and leukaemia.  They have also been linked to Hodgkinsosn disease.

Bottom line – PEG’s can have serious health risks when applied to the skin.

They have also been linked to other health issues, including drowsiness, depression, rashes, skin redness and irritation.

How To Identify and Avoid Glycols

They are usually displayed on ingredient labels as PEG, Buylene Glycol or Polyethelene Glycols

Sulphates (Sulfates)


Also referred to as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) They can be both harmful to the skin and the environment. Commonly used in health and skin products. ( bath and shower creams, toothpaste, sunscreen, moisturisers and mascara are just a few examples.)

Sulphates are a known irritant, causing dandruff, dermatitis and other skin irritations. 

When subjected to heat it can give off toxic fumes, and has properties that can harm the proteins and fat tissues in our skin and muscle.

Also found in household cleaning products, its corrosive and to be blunt very bad news indeed.

It is also a common ingredient in pesticides and weedkillers, it can get into the water table and pollute our rivers and harm fish, going further it can also get into our drinking water.

SLS is used to enhance the penetration of skin care products, it has very small molecules that can cross through the membranes of our body’s cells, this can make them more susceptible to other toxic chemicals, pollution etc.

How To Identify and Avoid Sulphates (Sulfates)

One of the easier ones to see on ingredient labels – look for either Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate.

To Sum Up 

These are the three main ingredients to avoid, that said its not an exhaustive list, others to be very wary of Include:

  • Phenoxyethanol – Irritates skin and can effect the brain and nervous system
  • Petrochemicals – Can disrupt hormonal processes, weaken the immune system
  • Silicones – Can trap dirt and bacteria on the skin, causing acne and dermatitis
  • Artificial Fragrances – Can irritate skin, some possible cancer links
  • Artificial Colourings – Thought to be potentially carcinogenic

My Advice – Always take time to read the ingredient labels when choosing a new skincare product and basically avoid anything that contains any of the above.

The information in this website is for advice and guidance only. It is based on my own intensive research and personal experiences, and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, or to diagnose or treat any health conditions. All rights reserved.