Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
Ingredients To Avoid for Healthy Skin
Having healthy skin means more than minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. To promote a healthy complexion, you must protect your skin from irritants and harsh chemicals. Unfortunately, many topical skin care products contain common allergens and ingredients that have carcinogenic potential. Read on to learn more about the worst ingredients for skin and what you can do instead to support a more radiant, youthful-looking complexion.
The Worst Ingredients for Your Skin
The following are the eight worst things for your skin.
PEGs (polyethylene glycols)
Polyethylene glycol, or PEG, is added to many creams and lotions to increase thickness and carry moisture into the skin tissue. It is also sometimes used to make cosmetics softer and simpler to apply. Depending on how the polyethylene glycol is manufactured, it may contain the known carcinogens ethylene oxide and 1,4-Dioxane. Some people are also sensitive to PEG and may develop irritation from exposure.
Methyl and Propyl Parabens
Parabens is a blanket term for chemicals known as methyl and propyl parabens. Manufacturers add parabens to body lotions, facial cleansers, body washes, shampoos, foundations, and other products to fight the growth of bacteria and extend shelf life.
Studies into the safety of parabens have yielded mixed results. While some have found that parabens pose little or no risk of ill effects, others indicate that exposure to the chemicals can lead to imbalances in male and female sex hormones. Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that there is not enough evidence of health risks to necessitate a consumer warning, many people choose to avoid parabens.
Aluminum in the form of aluminum oxide and other compounds is frequently added to deodorant, lipstick, and eye makeup. In 2015, a study revealed that aluminum could cause breast cancer cells to spread more quickly. However, critics of the research state that aluminum isn't absorbed by the skin and is safe to use topically. Although opinions differ, it may be wise to avoid aluminum entirely until more research is done to explore the potential link between cancer and aluminum.
Formaldehyde is a powerful preservative used for embalming and preserving laboratory specimens. It is also an ingredient in some nail polishes, bubble baths, body washes and shampoos. The chemical is a known carcinogen and has been linked to respiratory problems and irritation of the skin and eyes. The American Cancer Society states that levels of formaldehyde in beauty products are too low to be hazardous to health. Still, you may want to think twice about using anything that contains it, especially if you have asthma or sensitive skin.
Phthalates are added to plastics to increase strength and are used as additives in some skin care products. When studied in isolation, phthalates cause hormonal disruptions that accelerate puberty and increase the risk of cancer and infertility. So far, science has not fully explored whether beauty products that contain phthalates pose these risks. However, many skincare and cosmetics companies have eliminated them from their products due to safety concerns.
Oxybenzone is a highly effective chemical sunscreen that absorbs ultraviolet radiation before it reaches the skin. Many people experience allergic reactions to the ingredient, and some older studies linked its usage with lower sperm counts in men. More recent studies have not been able to reproduce these results, but concerns over the ingredient have led many health boards to ban it. Key West, Florida, and the state of Hawaii are among the growing number of places where the sale of sunscreens with oxybenzone is prohibited.
Alcohol isn't a carcinogen, but it does have a drying effect on the skin. If you have normal to dry skin or are prone to sensitivity, it's generally best to avoid products that contain alcohol.
There are more than 3,000 fragrances commonly used in perfumes, skin care products, and cosmetics. Although these ingredients are generally considered safe regarding toxicity and carcinogenic risks, fragrance in skin care products is a common allergen. People with sensitive skin and environmental allergies may wish to buy fragrance-free products to avoid synthetic perfumes.
Healthy Skin From the Inside Out
Promoting beauty from the inside out is one of the best tips for healthy skin care. Using supplements for healthy skin helps to ensure that your body has the nutrients needed to produce collagen and elastin fibers, rejuvenate damaged tissue and maintain an adequate moisture barrier.
Body Kitchen Pro-Elastin is one option. Each serving delivers 1000mg of Prolastin elastin, shown in clinical studies to increase elastin production by 250% and collagen production by 100% to improve skin elasticity and firmness. A unique enzymatic hydrolysis process makes the critical ingredient easier for your body to absorb and utilize for enhanced effectiveness. The supplement is made in the USA to ensure quality and safety.