The irony is plainly evident. A substance called benzoyl peroxide, which is typically used in acne medication, also comes with an array of side-effects that are abrasive to the skin. This particular chemical is known to be toxic if inhaled; while certain studies also found that when applied, it can cause eye irritation, skin irritation and respiratory issues.
After speaking to experts, we identified more such ingredients or substances that we consider friends, but are essentially enemies hiding in plain sight.
- Chlorine: Commonly used in public swimming pools, chlorine can stay on your skin for long periods and react with your lotions and topical medications. This is possible even if you hit the showers immediately after. As part of your post-pool routine, remember to use an extra foaming soap to cleanse your skin.
- Benzphenone, Avobenzone, Ethoxycinnamate & PABA: All of these elements are known to generate harmful free radicals, which cause significant damage to your DNA. You want to know where these are most commonly found? Well, they are in your sunscreen. Every dermatologist worth his salt will tell you to apply sunscreen every day, regardless of the intensity of the UV rays outside. This is sound advice. However, while choosing a sunscreen that you will have on your skin for hours, be sure to steer clear of these ingredients.
Falling asleep with your makeup is one of the most common reasons for damaged skin. Nicole Roketenetz, Esthetic Director at Bella Sante says, “In addition to having the chemicals react with the skin over long hours, makeup residue also ends up blocking your pores, thereby causing your skin to choke. Also, bacteria and dust have a greater chance of being pushed deeper into your pores in such cases.
One must always make it a habit to read the contents of your makeup labels.
- Urea & DMDM Hydantoin: They are substances that act as preservatives. They are found in countless skincare products and react with your skin to release formaldehyde—the same chemical that’s used to preserve dead bodies. Formaldehyde brings with it a long list of side-effects, including chronic fatigue, chest pains, allergies, joint pain, skin reactions, headaches, ear infections, insomnia, dizziness, depression, and cancer. In fact, most countries have banned the use of this chemical in beauty products.
- Parabens: They are from a similar family of chemicals and include variations like butyl, ethyl, methyl and propyl. Used as preservatives, parabens have been shown to potentially cause hormonal imbalances in women and affect fertility in men.
- Alcohol: For Roberta Perry, founder of Scrubz, an all-natural, homemade beauty products brand, alcohol is the number 1 ingredient to make the blacklist. “It can be so drying for the skin, yet it is used in so many products, in so many different forms (especially in makeup removers).” she says. Using oil- and butter-based products instead will help nurture, rejuvenate and repair skin so it feels better and looks younger.
- Sulfates (Sodium Sulfate Or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate): Haircare or styling products with sulfates are harsh on the scalp as they destroy the natural oils that are needed to protect the skin from the cold, excessive dryness, dandruff, and bacteria. One must change their shampoo to suit the weather, much like you change your skincare products. Also, exfoliation for the scalp is just as important as exfoliation for the skin. There are many products to get the job done like Aveda Invati Exfoliating Shampoo, Alterna Caviar Exfoliating Scalp Facial and Philip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask in the market. Try using an organic or oil-based, sulfate-free shampoo to see a remarkable difference in the health of your scalp and hair.