What Skin Care Ingredients To Avoid At All Costs And Why

Have you read the ingredients list on the back of a skincare product? They’re long and confusing. And most of the time, you don’t even know what these ingredients mean! You shouldn’t have to play a guessing game when it comes to shopping for skincare. So we’re diving into what skin care ingredients to avoid and why.

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What Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid

It’s easy to assume that if a product makes it to a shelf at your local beauty store that it’s safe to use. But unfortunately, that is not the case. 

It’s up to us to ensure we avoid harmful ingredients in our skincare to keep our skin and body healthy. Keep reading for what skin care ingredients to avoid for safe, healthy skin. 

Synthetic Fragrance

Synthetic fragrances are in a slew of skincare products. They are scent agents that make the product smell good, but that comes at a huge price to our health. “Fragrance” or “Parfum” could mean the product contains irritants, carcinogens, or allergens, all incredibly harmful to our health. 

Often found in: Pretty much all skincare products – moisturizers, face washes, toners. Look out for “Fragrance” or “Parfum” and avoid at all costs! 

Essential Oils

While essential oils make for a relaxing scent experience when used in a diffuser, they are not so beneficial when used on our skin. In concentrated amounts, essential oils can cause redness, headaches, swelling, burns, and blisters. Yikes. 

Often found in: Natural skincare products. Beware of products with essential oils at a concentration higher than 1%. 


Parabens are chemicals used as artificial ​​preservatives in cosmetic products. While nobody wants their skincare to mold, you probably don’t want to use skincare with parabens in them either! Parabens can harm female hormones, fertility, and reproductive organs. On top of that, they can cause skin irritation and increase the risk of cancer.

Often found in: Rinse off products like shampoo and conditioner, deodorants, face washes, and toothpaste. Avoid ingredients like isobutyl-, butyl-, isopropyl- and propylparaben. 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Sulfates like SLS give your beauty products that sudsy lathering ability that alludes to a more thorough clean. But unfortunately, those suds come at a price. SLS is known for stripping your hair and skin’s natural oils, in turn, drying and irritating your scalp and skin. SLS can also clog pores and cause acne in those with sensitive skin. Something I’m sure we all want to avoid!

Girl scratching her head wondering Can Hair Products Make Your Scalp Itchy?


Aluminum is used in deodorants to stop our sweat ducts from releasing sweat to the surface of the skin. However, research shows that deodorants containing aluminum could increase the risks of diseases like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of Aluminum-free deodorants that actually work. 

Often found in: Most underarm deodorants, unfortunately. Shop for natural, aluminum-free deodorants instead. 

The next time you shop for skincare remember…

Our skin is our body’s largest organ, which also happens to be ultra-absorbent! An important piece of information we could all use as a reminder.

Before you pick up any old skin care product, remember – all those ingredients will get absorbed into your bloodstream. The harmful chemicals don’t get filtered out, and they don’t just sit on the surface of your skin either. They are literally being absorbed into your body and will begin circulating your bloodstream. Precisely why it’s so important to be aware of what skin care ingredients to avoid! 

With that said, not all skincare ingredients should cause us to run for the hills. In fact, some of them do wonders for keeping your skin healthy and youthful.

Here Are Our favorite Skincare Ingredients For Healthy Skin

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is naturally occurring in our bodies. It helps retain water from evaporating and locks in moisture to our skin. It’s ideal for those with a dry skin type, as it helps rehydrate thirsty skin while increasing elasticity. Hyaluronic acid has a weightless, residue-free finish, and everyone could use a bottle of this magic substance on their skincare shelves!

We recommend: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum


You won’t get far in Sephora without seeing a niacinamide-containing skincare product – and for good reason. This bad boy is a form of vitamin B-3, which has potent skin benefits. It can reduce inflammation, redness, and acne. It regulates oil, reduces the appearance of pores, AND minimizes fine lines and wrinkles.

We recommend: GOOD MOLECULES Niacinamide Serum

Vitamin C

Want to brighten your skin complexion while targeting acne scars and hyperpigmentation? Vitamin C has got you covered. This legendary skincare ingredient repairs damaged cells by helping your skin’s regeneration process. This product is powerful, so always start with a small amount while your skin adjusts. 

We recommend: La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum


Naturally occurring on the outermost layer of our skin, ceramides are made up of fats and lipids. When ceramides are in skin care products, they help soothe and lock in moisture to our skin. They are also heroes for preventing the disruption of our skin’s barrier. Ceramides form a protective layer around our skin, stopping dryness and irritation from occurring. Keep a ceramide lotion stocked on your shelf for those dry winter months!

We recommend: Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream

What Skin Care Ingredients To Avoid At All Costs

The next time you’re shopping at Sephora, keep a list of our no-go skin care ingredients on hand. That way, you can easily scan each beauty product for the culprits and keep your skin happy!

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