Which Ingredients to Avoid in Your Skin Care Routine?

As a busy mom, my daily skin care routine needs to be fast and easy. I don’t have time to read the ingredients list on bottles or think about correct applications. Thanks to recent conversations with folks as diverse as my hairdresser and my friend Becky of Crafty Garden Mama, I’m making the decision about the ingredients in personal care products at the grocery store before I buy them.

While it’s important to protect our skin from the sun and chemicals, the products we use shouldn’t adversely affect our bodies, negating our daily skin care routines. Today, Becky of Crafty Garden Mama helps us understand which safe ingredients to look for in skin care products, and which ones to avoid.

Which Ingredients to Avoid in Your Skin Care Routine

Over a decade ago, I started to become more aware of what ingredients were in my personal products. From makeup to shampoo, I started to be mindful of certain ingredients to avoid in my skin care routine.

3 Main Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care Products

I have three main ingredients to avoid in personal care products. Parabens, lead and formaldehyde are my top three to steer clear of in shampoos, lotions, makeup and soaps. When I first started to research information, the most written about ingredient was parabens. A family of chemicals, parabens act as endocrine disruptors. They are used as product preservatives, but are really doing just the opposite to our bodies.

As a woman of childbearing years, this was a big concern for me. It’s been a big concern for a lot of people, as I can see when I check the shelves and see more and more products that are listed as paraben-free. I definitely read all of the ingredients on the back of the bottles, especially lotions for myself and my family.

Lead has long been known to be unsafe, but did you know it is still found in lipsticks? This is definitely one that you do not want to be absorbing day in and day out. As a parent, I am aware of the neurological damage that lead can wreak on my child, so I also look to make sure it is not in any of my makeup.

Formaldehyde. Ugh. Just the word makes my skin crawl. A known carcinogen, formaldehyde may not be directly listed on the container, but there are many other ingredients that create formaldehyde.

As Johanna Congleton, an EWG Senior Scientist, notes in her article, “Is Cancer-Causing Formaldehyde in Your Cosmetics?”, these are the ingredients to avoid:

  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Quaternium-15
  • Bronopol (2bromo2nitropropane1,3-diol )
  • 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane
  • Hydroxymethylglycinate

How to Find Safe Natural Skin Care Products

So, you may be wondering how to find safe, natural products that don’t have these ingredients to avoid. Start with Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database which lists the ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products. Bring the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database to the store with you on your smartphone, Android or iPhone.

EWG Skin Deep App
Screenshot of the EWG Skin Deep App

1) Whole Foods and Wegmans – Both stores have really expanded their beauty and skin care sections. I often find a good selection of good baby products and shampoos at Wegmans. Whole Foods even carries makeup. So, grab your EWG Skin Deep app (as pictured above) and look up products as you go. You want to try for items that score 0-2.

Jing Ai Organic Makeup
Photo courtesy of Jing Ai

2) Jing Ai – Recently, I found this organic makeup line at a neighborhood holiday shopping party. I have fallen in love with the duos that the founder, Donna Cristino, offers and her lip liner and lip gloss. Jing Ai is available through its website and also on QVC. QVC currently has the Picadilly shade in stock and will have others available in February when Donna returns for another session with her beautiful line of cruelty-free cosmetics.

3) Ayla – I tried everything for my skin when I was in my teens and twenties. A couple of year ago, I discovered Ayla. Dara Kennedy, one of my sorority sister’s and college classmates, founded the company in order to help woman to choose products that are right for their skin and safe for them too. Dara has closely vetted the products that she carries and provides private consultations in order to steer you in the right direction.

Overall, I think the skin care industry is taking some steps forward to giving us safe products, but you do need to do your homework. So, take your time, read the ingredients lists and ask questions when you are uncertain.

What are some ingredients that you avoid? What safe products have you discovered lately?

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Meet Becky Elmuccio

Becky Elmuccio has written 2 posts.

Becky Elmuccio blogs about eco-friendly lifestyle tips and gardening at Crafty Garden Mama. You can also find her sharing eco-friendly kids’ gear, toy and clothing reviews and giveaways, environmental news and organic gardening endeavors on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Twitter.

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  1. says

    There are two I really like. Anne Marie Gianni is all food-based and works great on older skin like mine. I mean, like AWESOME. But it’s pricy. 3girls Holistic is also food-based and is much more affordable, even the shipping is a flat fee of $5. Both are great, depends on your needs.
    Gina B recently posted..Teaching Your Child to Be Safe

  2. says

    I try to use products with as few ingredients as possible. With hazel is great and castor oil for washing my face. I love Kiss My Face products too.
    Caitlin recently posted..listen

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