4 Harsh Chemicals found in Common Skin Care Products

With many foods and household cleaning products trending towards all-natural, chemical-free ingredients, it’s no wonder that cosmetic products are following suit. After all, your skin is the largest organ of your body, so if you wouldn’t eat these harsh chemicals, then you shouldn’t rub them all over your skin. While there is a long list of “no no” ingredients, let’s focus on these four very common harsh ingredients.

#1 Sulfates

Sulfates, also known as Sodium lauryl sulfate, Sodium laureth sulfate, or SLS, is a chemical commonly found in skincare products like:

  • Shampoos
  • Conditioners
  • Bar soap
  • Bubble bath
  • Cleansers
  • Even toothpaste!

Sulfates are a cheap chemical used to create foam (think sudsy bubbles!). Sulfates are a known skin irritant and especially irritating for anyone who with eczema, dry skin, or sensitive skin. Using products that contain sulfates may cause dry and itchy skin, flare up eczema, and even interfere with acne. If you like foamy soaps and sudsy liquids, look for products containing cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, which is a great, cleaner alternative to harsher ingredients like the sulfates. It gives skincare products that foamy or creamy consistency without causing skin irritation. Our PREP purifying daily cleanser contains cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine instead of harsh sulfates. (Environmental Working Group)

Dr. Carole's Tip:

Sulfates is a harsh chemical and a known skin irritant. Many shampoos, conditioners, soaps, bubble baths, body washes and even toothpaste contain sulfates.

#2 Parabens

Parabens are used as preservatives in a vast amount of cosmetic products and linked to hormone disruption and abnormalities. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Working Group, Scientific American) Instead of parabens, look for tocopherol, also known as Vitamin E, which acts as a natural preservative keeping formulas stable. Vitamin E is a very beneficial antioxidant that is naturally present in your skin. It acts as a great natural moisturizer and blocks harmful substances like smoke and pollution from penetrating your skin. Vitamin E even helps to absorb UV rays, making it a great addition to any skin care product. (Oregon State University)

Harsh chemicals in sunscreen?

#3 Oxybenzone and #4 Avobenzone

Oxybenzone and avobenzone are chemicals found in most sunscreens available today and may cause high rates of allergic reactions and disrupt hormone levels. If you have ever used a sunscreen that burns your eyes or irritates your skin, then it likely contained these harsh chemicals! Researchers linked oxybenzone, found in popular name brand sunscreens, to severe coral reef destruction. The chemical also contributes to coral bleaching, which causes color loss in the organisms. (Time Magazine) If coral reefs are dying from oxybenzone, then what is oxybenzone doing to our bodies? INSERT: SUN GUIDE Throw your chemical sunscreen away and instead use a natural sunscreen. Zinc oxide is a natural and healthy chemical-free active ingredient in sunscreen that you can look for instead of avobenzone and oxybenzone. Zinc oxide is a mineral that can help soothe skin, prevent acne, and most importantly, reflect UV rays that would otherwise be absorbed into the skin. Our PREP SPF 30 Face + Body Lotion takes full advantage of the amazing sun protecting properties of zinc oxide, so you can be sure your skin is protected every day while staying moisturized. (The Dermatology Review)

Beauty Scoop

Harsh chemicals have no business in your food, so why let them include them as a part of your skincare products? The good news is that chemical-free skin care products are more and more popular as the benefits of their natural ingredients are more increasingly well-known and accessible. It’s time to ditch the harsh chemical skin care products and replace them with healthier natural counterparts like Zinc oxide and vitamin E.