Updated: Mar 22
Somethings are just not made for the face. Whether they be harsh chemicals or natural ingredients, here are some you should most likely avoid and why.
1. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
I touched on this briefly in my post about looking after your skin's microbiome. SLS is a foaming agent that is found in anything that foams. Face wash, toothpaste, hand soaps, body wash etc. Most importantly - when you apply this to your face it removes acidity from the face and creates an alkaline environment that allows bad bacteria to thrive. This can result in red and inflamed skin. Also of note - if your toothpaste has SLS in it and you let that foam fall down your chin - you may be adding to the problem!
Parabens are a preservative used in products to extend their shelf life and can also appear in the ingredients list as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben. Studies have shown that parabens are pseudoestrogens AKA they mimic the hormone estrogen and it has been hypothesised that they may play a role in the development of breast cancer. Although evidence is inconclusive many companies have found natural ways of preserving their products so avoiding parabens can be pretty easy.
3. PEGs or Polyethylene glycol
PEGs can come in a range of different varieties based on what they are mixed with. In general they are microscopic plastic beads that are mixed with fatty acids to act as stabilisers, emollients, binders or cleansers in skin care. Polyethylene often contains ethylene oxide which is a known carcinogen. Unfortunately due to their plastic nature PEGs don't break down and are often washed down the drain and into our waterways.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has become a staple natural skincare ingredient in many households and whilst it may be ok to moisture the skin on your body, it isn't necessarily the best for your face. When you use coconut oil on your face, its high fat content blocks the hair follicle openings. Underneath the hair follicle lie our oil producing or sebaceous glands. Due to the thickness of coconut oil, it essentially sits on top of the skin and is never truly absorbed. Instead it blocks the pores and traps in bacteria and dead skin cells which causes the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum in a last ditch attempt to get out and hey presto, up pops some pimples!
Whilst alcohol can be a useful disinfectant and may be good at sterilising skin riddled with bacteria, it also dries the heck out of our skin. It gives us that 'tight' feeling associated with being clean, due to its ability to strip all the oils off the skin, but this isn't a good thing. Using alcohol on oily prone skin will definitely decrease the amount of oil on your face for some time, but ultimately the face is an oily environment and the sebaceous glands will start reproducing that oil you slicked away, two fold. Over time alcohol also begins to destroy the skins surface.
About the Author
Chloe is a female health Naturopath with a passion for cooking real food and not feeling guilty about it! She is also a self confessed skincare junkie and is always trying or researching new and emerging products to recommend to her clients during the healing process. Aside from seeing people in her clinic Chloe is also developing an online skin master class, to help guide people all over the world how to clear up there skin for good! To be the first to know when this course launches, sign up here!