Having sensitive skin can be such a pain in the butt. You always have to be careful about the products you use, you spend hours on end reading labels and you have to pay extra attention to your diet, lifestyle, and habits.
If you have sensitive skin, you’re not the only one. There are millions of people out there who also have to devote time and effort in order to keep their skin healthy. The silver lining is that nowadays, we do know the culprit of some breakouts, which means that it gets easier and easier to avoid them.
Knowing which ingredients to look out for is truly a blessing. Think about it – yes, you will have to read labels and avoid certain products, but, at the same time, your efforts will be rewarded. Your skin will look as healthy as ever and you won’t be putting harmful ingredients anywhere near your body. If you want to avoid certain unpleasant reactions from the products you use, knowing the ingredients to avoid is a must!
In this article, we will explain all the potentially harmful ingredients and you will learn which ingredients to avoid if you have sensitive skin.
We’re starting this long list with an ingredient with a long name. Methylisothianzolione is recognized as one of the most common culprits of allergic reactions and skin irritations. If you have sensitive skin, avoiding this product is highly recommended.
Any kind of fragrance is bad news when it comes to the skin. No matter how little fragrance a certain product contains, if it’s present on the list of ingredients, it means that it can cause havoc in certain people’s skin.
The easiest and quickest way to avoid purchasing any kind of product that contains fragrance (which is often marked as perfume) is by looking for a ‘fragrance free’ label on the packaging.
Another common irritant on this list are plant extracts. You might be thinking that anything that comes from plants is healthy and good for the skin, but in this case the opposite is true. Although the name sounds innocent enough, plant extracts are not your skin’s friend.
When it comes to essential oils for the skin, they’re not your best option. While essential oils can provide some benefits such as making us relax, putting them directly on our skin is not the best idea in the world. Many people have declared that essential oils have caused them to break out, even if the percentage of essential oils present in the product itself is very small. And, since you can find them everywhere from makeup to lotions, you can’t avoid them altogether, but it’s best to avoid them whenever possible.
Helioplex is most often found in various kinds of sun protection, and although it does a remarkable job at protecting the skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays, it can cause adverse reactions in some people’s skin.
Since applying sunscreen is a must, there seems to be no way around this particular ingredient. If you have to use an SPF that contains helioplex inside, make sure you wash it off before going to bed. Otherwise, you could try looking for a sun protection product that doesn’t contain this problematic ingredient inside.
Parabens are notorious for causing bad reactions to consumers. While they aren’t universally classified as bad for the skin, some people really do have a hard time with them. Parabens can lead to irritation in sensitive skin types, which is why it’s best to avoid them. Many brands have chosen to become ‘paraben-free’ lately, so it’s easier than ever to stay away from them. What many people fail to remember is that not only do parabens exist in skincare products, but they can also be found in makeup and body care products as wll, so be wary of the ingredients list of the products you use all throughout.
Another kind of oil you’ll want to stay clear from is mineral oil. These are known to cause trouble for people with overly sensitive faces. One of the ways they cause problems is by clogging your pores and creating an oily layer on the skin which doesn’t allow for the skin to breathe. This leads to all kinds of acne and congestion, as well as a build-up of bacteria, so it’s no wonder why so many people are choosing to ditch mineral oils from their skincare regime.
A good alternative to mineral oils is plant oils which score low on the comedogenic scale. This scale is used to determine whether or not a product can lead to clogged pores. If a certain ingredient scores low on the comedogenic scale, it means that it’s not likely to lead to clogged pores. Oils low on the comedogenic scale include jojoba oil, argan oil and rosehip oil.
The debate of whether or not alcohol leads to skin irritation is still ongoing in the skincare community. In order to explain this in the best possible way, it’s important to mention that, when it comes to alcohols which are applied to the skin, there are two kinds: one which is potentially harmful and can lead to negative side-effects, and ones which are necessary in certain products.
Let’s talk about the so-called bad alcohols for starters. Names such as ethanol, alcohol denat, methanol, and isopropyl alcohol have a purpose – they help the products penetrate deeper into the skin, thus making them more effective.
However, these are known to lead to dryness, irritation and bad skin reactions. They can lead to skin damage and it’s best to stay away from them if your plan is to keep your skin healthy in the long run.
As far as alcohols which are deemed useful and safe within the community are concerned, there are a couple of types. Today, we’ll be discussing benzyl alcohol, a name which is probably familiar to you since it’s so widespread.
Surprisingly enough, this ingredient is used to preserve organic and natural skincare and keep harmful bacteria away from them. Some brands have even went as far as to label this ingredient as absolutely safe for skin application. The rule of thumb is – there shouldn’t be high concentrations of benzyl alcohol present in the product. Otherwise, it can also lead to redness, dryness and irritation.
Exfoliators come in two types: physical and chemical. The physical ones can be detrimental to people who have sensitive skin, and here’s why.
The harsh ingredients which physical scrubs contain like beads, salt and sugar grains can cause extreme and permanent damage to the skin, resulting in micro-tears and acne. The above-mentioned ingredients are too rough for the delicate skin on your face and you should keep them away from it.
However, exfoliation is important for healthy skin, so you shouldn’t avoid it. Instead, chemical exfoliation or fruit enzymes to get the same benefits without the side-effects.
Cinnamates can be found in various kinds of sunscreens under the name methylcinnamate. Just like the name suggests, they’re derived from cinnamon.
While they do have some benefits in conjunction with the other ingredients, cinnamates can lead to irritation and redness, so it’s best to avoid them. This is not to say that you should avoid the spice altogether, but this particular ingredient has been linked to a couple of adverse reactions in consumers.
Other than sunscreen, you can also find cinnamates in lipstick, but it’s not likely to lead to any irritation.
Dyes can be very irritating to the skin if you suffer from sensitive skin. And we’re not just talking about hair dyes, but clothing dyes too. Most clothing nowadays contains a generous number of dyes. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid shopping altogether, but be wary of what you put on your body. Always make sure you wash your new clothes before you wear them. This will not only remove all the dust that’s been sitting on them in the store and factory, but it will also remove the excess dye so that it doesn’t end up on your skin.
We’ve touched on a couple of sunscreen ingredients you should avoid like the plague. Now we will be discussing the type of sunscreen you should be avoiding altogether.
Chemical sunscreens, just like the name suggests, contain different kinds of chemicals. Chemicals aren’t inherently bad for your skin, so you shouldn’t panic if you can’t recognize an ingredient from the list. But, in this case, chemical sunscreens have been shown to irritate some people’s skin and cause them to break out. This is due to the fact that some chemicals found in chemical sunscreens are comedogenic, meaning they cause the pores on our skin to become clogged. Clogged pores means that the skin can’t breathe, so it’s bound to lead to acne and other types of congestion. Finally, some chemicals found in sunscreens can interfere with your hormones, and are labeled as ‘endocrine disrupting chemicals’.
If you can’t trust a sunscreen to not cause any trouble for the skin, which product can you trust? Don’t worry, there’s no need to avoid the sun any time soon since there is an alternative to chemical sunscreens which are called physical sunscreens. These are recommended for people who have sensitive skin, so if you’re one of them, you can easily find an alternative that won’t cause any trouble.
Silicone is a common substance that’s derived from silica. It’s used for various purposes because of its smoothening, healing and binding properties.
There are a couple of different forms of silicones, all of which can be found in skincare products, haircare products, makeup and other toiletries. It’s tricky to find silicones on the ingredients list because they are not always stated as silicones. Multiple names of different kinds of silicones are used, the most common ones being cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone and phenyl trimethicone.
As far as silicones are concerned, there is one major reason why people are so afraid of using products containing silicones, and that is the claim that they can lead to breakouts.
Does this hold any truth or is it merely a myth?
If we need to give a concrete answer to the question, we would have to have sufficient research done on the topic, which is currently lacking. Some people have reported that silicones cause them to break out, while others have no problem using them regularly on their skin. The relationship between acne and silicones is yet to be thoroughly examined and researched, and until we get there, all of us have to rely on anecdotes and personal experience.
Some dermatologists claim that silicones can even be helpful for the skin due to their moisturizing qualities. Using harsh treatments for a long period of time can cause the skin to be incredibly dry, and silicones have been reported to help in terms of providing ample amounts of hydration for the skin.
So, should you continue using products that contain silicones? Unless you notice that a specific product is causing you to break out, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use silicones, since there is no current reliable research that says otherwise.
One of the most common reasons why people delay their treatment is because they take it upon themselves to heal and diagnose their skin. Although we talked about ingredients found in conventional skincare products in this article, certain ingredients found in DIY recipes can cause just as much damage.
Not everything that comes from the kitchen can be used in skincare. More importantly, if something is good for us to eat, that doesn’t inherently make it beneficial for topical application.
If you have sensitive skin, be wary of the products you use in DIY recipes and always do your research on them. if you’re not sure about something, consult a dermatologist about it.
If you’ve never heard about a patch test before, you can find out all about it here. To explain the process briefly, it’s basically a method of testing out if a product agrees with your skin or not. All you need to do is apply a small amount of the product on a small area of your skin and wait for a day or two. If there are no negative reactions present, then you can proceed to use the product all over your face. If you do see any redness, irritation or breakouts, stop using the product and double-check with your dermatologist.
Patch tests are a great way to test whether the ingredients mentioned in this article agree with your skin or not. After all, some of these might not be a concern for you at all. We’re all different.
Skincare is complicated in general, but if you have sensitive skin then you have to put even more effort into choosing the correct products you use, pay attention to the habits you accumulate and keep your diet and sleeping schedule on track. It’s a messy process and none of us are perfect, so you’re bound to make a couple of mistakes here and there.
Hopefully, you’ll find this article regarding which skincare ingredients to avoid if you have sensitive skin helpful the next time you’re picking out a skincare product to try out.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.