Being a woman can get quite overwhelming. Juggling between family, self-care, friends, and work, sometimes we forget to pay attention to the little details that might be making a huge difference in our lives. Starting from primers that help us create a makeup base to contours and highlighters that help us define our jaws and cheekbones, we use numerous beauty products every single day. But are we aware of all the chemical ingredients they contain and what impact they have on our skin? Learning the meaning of ingredients that are present in your products will help you make the right decision.
Here’s a quick guide on some of the commonly used ingredients in beauty products.
Parabens are added in beauty products to work as preservatives to prevent the growth of fungi, bacteria and other microbes in your beauty products and extend their expiry dates. You can find it listed in the ingredients of your shampoos, foundations, mascara, body lotions. Parabens have been detected in cancerous cells in the breast tissues. They penetrate the skin and act like a weak estrogenic substance which progresses breast cancer. You should try avoiding any product that contains parabens, especially body lotions and deodorants as using it might give rise to harmful cancerous cells.
Your body washes and facial cleansers usually have Sulphates mentioned in their ingredients. Sulfates are used to help these beauty products generate foam, and when they do, they emulsify oil from your skin stripping it from the natural nourishment it has. They can be irritating near eyes and even on the skin. Best to look for “Sulphate free” products, especially if you possess a sensitive and dry skin.
3. Polyunsaturated Oils (PUFAs)
PUFAs are found in many of the beauty products we use and they contain double bonds in their fatty acids which are relatively more reactive and unstable. So they react with oxygen and light instantly. They oxidize on our skins, causing the skin to age and become dull. So check the ingredients in your face oils or skin care products and try to avoid products that contain oils with more than 10 percent proportion of PUFAs.
Phthalates, popularly known as plasticizers, are used to soften plastic to make it easier to work with. They’re commonly used in lotions to increase the staying power and hair sprays to retain the shape of your hair. They act as estrogen when they get absorbed by our body and mess with our hormones and metabolism. That’s a big red flag.
Glycerin is one of the most common ingredients in almost all beauty products and for good reason too. It keeps your skin moisturized as it attracts water to your skin from the environment or the deeper layers of your skin, providing hydration to it. So glycerine is basically your skin’s BFF as it softens and plumpens it, you should keep it close.
Hydroquinone is an effective skin lightening agent used in our beauty products, especially face cremes and face packs. It suppresses enzymes that produce melanin which is responsible for darkening of the skin, resulting in spot reduction. If you’ve got some spots that you wanna get rid of, start a search party to find products that contain hydroquinone.
Petroleum can be found in so many beauty products including shampoos, mascara, conditioners, perfumes, lipsticks, foundations, body lotions, eyeshadows, but it is not working in your favor. Some of these products, when absorbed by your skin and get in contact with your bloodstream, cause serious hormonal problems and may even give rise to cancerous tissues. Look out for any words ending in “eth”, as they might be a byproduct of petroleum too.
If you find fragrance or perfume in the ingredients of your beauty products, you might wanna give yourself a heads up to be expecting skin irritation and other allergic reactions. Some companies might label it as diethyl phthalate or DEP to make it go unnoticed with many other chemicals, so watch out for these terms as well.
Lycopene is a naturally occurring nutrient with many benefits to your skin as well as body. It can be found in red colored fruits like tomatoes, guava, watermelon and is a powerful antioxidant. If it’s present in the ingredients of your beauty product, then you can expect anti-aging properties, curation of damage caused by UV rays, skin lightening, increased hair growth and much more.
10. Natural Vs. Organic
The term ‘natural’ has been known to lose its importance when we’re talking about beauty products as you cannot possibly find out the details of its origin or growth. ‘Organic’, on the other hand, provides specific details and is tested and approved by organizations like OASIS (Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards), so you can be assured that it’s good for your skin.
11. Vegan And Cruelty-Free
If you have a soft spot for animals, you might want to look for these words on your beauty product description. Vegan simply means that no animal-derived ingredient has been used to make that product while cruelty-free indicates that it wasn’t tested on animals.
When ingredients are grown and used in their natural form, they’re labeled as wildcrafted. That means that no chemicals were involved in the process whatsoever and they cannot be labeled as organic. This is usually carried out sustainably and importance is given to not endangering any species.
13. Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid
Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is said to retain moisture in your skin, keeping it hydrated. But it’s been known to cause inflammations and scarring on the skin. It is sometimes used along with fragrance, which increases the irritation. So you’d be best to stay clear of this one.
14. Formaldehyde Releasers
Formaldehyde releasers are used as preservatives against fungi and microbes in many beauty products. But formaldehyde is a carcinogen which can aid in causing cancer, and this ingredient is also known to cause allergic reactions to sensitive skin even if used in fewer proportions.
Now that you know the insides of your beauty products, you can put your chemist coat on and use this knowledge to your advantage. The next time you buy something, be sure to look for the beneficial ones while you avoid the negatively impacting ingredients. Don’t say you weren’t warned.