Who knew having a wash could be so bad for you?
I won’t lie. Skincare ingredients to avoid is a subject we’ve touched on before in this blog from last year about understanding the ingredients in skincare and cosmetics. But I see no harm in revisiting the subject. Because it does feel as if every day there’s something else to worry about in the everyday foods we buy and the products we use.
When did having a wash and using a moisturiser become so fraught? The labels are no help, are they? When labelling is confusing, meaningless and misleading what chance do we stand? When a product proclaiming itself to have been ‘dermatologically tested’ means it only needs to have been tested by three dermatologists what chance to we stand? And when, as this article in the Daily Mail from October last year, points out, ‘The majority of moisturisers advertised as ‘hypoallergenic’ and ‘fragrance-free’ contain skin irritants and scents that could be dangerous for someone’s skin, a study claims’, what chance do we stand?
Chance is a fine thing
The answer to the above question is: ‘none whatsoever’. Not unless we’re forewarned and forearmed with a bit of information. So, here’s a quick round-up of FIVE ingredients to sidestep when shopping for skincare:
- Parabens – you must have heard of parabens by now. Parabens are a preservative used to keep bacteria at bay – an important thing in relation to skincare and cosmetics. They’ve been around for seventy years or so but there is concern about them now. Because up to 70 percent of breast cancers express the oestrogen receptor, there is a concern that parabens may contribute to the development of breast tumours.
‘There have been studies linking breast cancer and parabens, including one in 2004 that found parabens in human breast tumours and one in 2015 that showed parabens may be more harmful than previously thought when combined with certain other molecules.’ 
There’s still a lot a of debate around this so my advice is do your research and make an informed decision. Look out for: Butylparaben (the paraben considered to be most controversial) but others will include Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben and Ethylparaben.
- Synthetic Fragrances: These chemicals create wonderful scents across a range of products – soaps and candles in particular. But they can contain some not so wonderful nasties. Wherever you see the term ‘Parfum’ the chances are that lurking behind it is a complex chemical cocktail. So be aware. If you’ve got chemical sensitivities then you’re vulnerable and at risk from allergies, migraines and asthma.
- Paraffin and petroleum: That lipbalm you lurve? Your favourite hair product? There’s a good chance they have either/or of these in them. They come in yummy flavours and gorgeous colours and they’re a great barrier that locks in moisture – what’s not to love? Umm – well – how about the thought that they may prevent the absorption of vitamins, be great pore-cloggers and even, maybe, carcinogenic. 
- Mineral oils: As above. Often found in baby oils, body lotions, soap and make-up.
- Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): these ‘lovelies’ are present in oodles of products – cleansers and bubble baths, shampoos and shower gels and more. Despite the fact that they’re found in products marketed for sensitive skin they are known skin-aggressors and have a link to eye and skin irritations in vulnerable people.
‘ … Professor Richard Guy at Bath’s Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology found that Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), a powerful detergent present in a large number of shampoos and soaps, can cause severe skin irritation and reduce the effectiveness of skin function when left in contact with healthy skin.’ 
This is only a few of the not-so-super ingredients you should be aware of. There are too many to cover here – so I do advise you to do your own further research.
I know from my experience, first as a holistic therapist, and now with Pink&Green that so many of you have skin issues. I use what you tell me to inform what I do. You can find out more about what lies behind my ethos here: https://pinkandgreenskincare.co.uk/pinkgreen-organic-skincare/about-us/
References: http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/10/27/lotion-ingredient-paraben-may-be-more-potent-carcinogen-than-thought/  https://beautyeditor.ca/2014/10/16/petroleum-mineral-oil-skin-products  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1DjRTHSCZK3h7V6dlxyHRdP/are-my-wash-products-damaging-my-skin