5 ingredients to avoid in skincare products

Opened jars of face creams on white surface. Top view.
Skincare products contain numerous ingredients, and some of them are harmful. So here are five ingredients to look out for and you should avoid them.

1. Fragrance

Both natural and artificial fragrances can irritate your skin. In fact, fragrances could lead to a skin condition in which skin becomes red and inflamed after coming in contact with an irritant.

Artificial fragrances consist of solvents and preservatives that can irritate your skin. These have even been shown to cause skin problems like eczema and psoriasis because of the volatility of the chemicals used to make them.

Some research also shows that fragrances are the most common cause of allergic reactions to cosmetic products.

Thus, it is the best way if choose the skincare product that is free from fragrance.

2. Parabens 

To extend shelf life, parabens are often used as preservatives for skincare products It stops the microbial growth. The example of paraben are:

  • Butylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben

Parabens are safe for use in cosmetic products and pose no significant health risks if it is used in small quantity.

Nevertheless, research shows that parabens can easily permeate through your skin, into your body, and lastly stay in the body issue.

It could also interfere with hormone production by influencing estrogen. Thus, it will indirectly affect the body reproductive system.

3. Formaldehyde 

A chemical that is used as a preservative in the product to hinder the microbe.

Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen. Exposing to it in large amounts for a long time may develop the chance of getting cancer. However, most skin care products contain such small amounts of formaldehyde that lower the risk of getting cancer.

Although manufacturers used small amounts, many skin care products like soaps, moisturizers, and cleansers contain formaldehyde, and it contributes harmful effects on the skin. Thus, it is advisable to use it less frequently.

The chemicals found in the skincare product that are harmful with excessive use include fragrance, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates and alcohol.

4. Phthalates

Phthalates are used as softeners. They are often included in many fragrances used in skincare products to make the scents linger.

The most common type of phthalate used in skincare products is diethyl phthalate (DEP). It helps products like moisturizers and lotions to penetrate the skin better.

Phthalates are also considered as endocrine disruptors. It interrupts the normal hormone in the body.

To avoid phthalates in your skincare products can be hard. This is because manufacturers who used phthalates in fragrances aren’t required to list them as an ingredient on the back of their products.

Thus, opt for products that are specifically labelling ‘phthalate-free’ if you wish to buy the product that is free from phthalates.

5. Alcohol 

Many skincare products apply alcohol for different purposes such as a preservative, or to help products dry more quickly on your skin. Products like tonner and cleansers always contain alcohol.

They are different types of alcohol in skincare products. Denatured alcohols such as ethanol, isopropanol, and propanol are most irritating the skin.

If denatured alcohol is one of the top ingredients in a skincare product, it’s likely to be very drying and may cause damage to your skin. Skincare products that contain a small amount of alcohol are less likely to be drying or irritating to the skin.


Even though many manufacturers are discontinuing the use of some of these ingredients, most of them can still be found in our everyday skincare products. Taking a look at the ingredients that your favourite skincare products contain is a great habit to develop.


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5 harmful ingredients to avoid in skincare products


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