Ingredients to Avoid
No two people have the same skin type, style, or preferences, so finding the perfect skin care products is a matter of finding what works for you. Unfortunately, there are some sadly common ingredients in many soaps and moisturizers that have been known to cause more problems than they solve. Whatever your personal needs, it’s best to steer clear of products with these ingredients.
- Parabens are preservatives that keep mold and bacteria out of cosmetics. However, they’re very similar to the female hormone estrogen, and when they absorb through the skin they can confuse your body’s natural processes. They’ve been linked to breast cancer and other hormone disorders, so be sure to avoid them!
- SLS/SLES, short for sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, are the chemicals that make soaps and cleaning products bubble. They do their job, but they can also be very irritating to the skin and eyes, especially if your face and scalp are sensitive. SLS free soaps and shampoos can make a big difference if you’re fighting dry skin.
- Toluens can show up on a label as benzene, toluol or methylbenzene. It’s used as a solvent to help various ingredients mix, but it can also irritate the lungs and throat and cause nausea, as well as irritate the skin like SLS. It’s most commonly found in hair dyes, but it pops up in nail polish, body wash, and other hair products.
Know Your Skin
Now that you know what you don’t need, let’s talk about what you do. Healthy skin is balanced skin, so the key is to encourage what your body does well, and pick up the slack where it falls short. Pick and choose your beauty regimen based on your skin’s biggest shortcomings.
- Dry skin is dull, flaky, and prone to itching and cracks, even if you’ve been outside and sweating. Avoid exfoliants: they’ll just further irritate skin that’s already broken and cracking. Wash with a moisturizing soap (bar soaps are best) and look for moisturizers that are healing and long-lasting.
- Oily skin is shiny and slick by the end of the day, and leaves you prone to breakouts and blackheads. Dermatologists recommend treating it with a face wash containing an AHA like salicylic acid. These mild medications help dry out and sooth your skin, and shrink pores to prevent infection. Don’t go overboard with the scrubbing: if you strip away too many natural oils, you can stimulate your skin into producing even more.
- Sensitive skin is very easily irritated, and will often flake and crack like dry skin. If you’re prone to itching or washes and toners sting your skin, you’re probably sensitive skinned. Fragrances and dyes often irritate sensitive skin and cause breakouts, so fragrance free or lightly scented products will be best for you. A good unscented moisturizer will soothe cracks and damage and help your skin stay healed and healthy.
Of course, nothing as complicated as the human body fits neatly in categories. Most people have combination skin types, and your skin’s health and reaction will vary with time and weather. It may take some trial and error to figure out exactly what works for you: just pay attention to what your skin is telling you!
Special Needs? Look Online
If you have special needs or unique tastes, it can be hard to find a product that suits you on the shelf at the chemists. SLS-free soaps or gel moisturizers for oily skins are often considered specialty products, not often available in general stores. The online shopping boom has made it much easier to find niche personal care products online. Popular online pharmacies like BigChemist offer a nice range of products, easily searchable to narrow down the selection to exactly what you need, and online pharmacies tend to be ten to twenty percent cheaper than brick-and-mortar stores. If you’re experimenting to find the personal care products that work for you, it’s easy to order sample sizes on a discount and test them out.
Healthy skin and great personal care means developing a routine as unique as you are … and finding exactly what you need to do that can be a challenge. Fortunately, quality products with quality products are easy to find online, especially if you know exactly what your skin needs to be healthy.