Skin Talk: Irritating Ingredients

I often urge readers to avoid irritating ingredients found in a lot of skincare products and makeup. The most frequent and worst offenders are alcohol and fragrances.

Here is a more comprehensive list, from Paula Begoun (aka “the Cosmetic Cop”), that you can use to avoid products that will irritate and damage your skin:

Following is a list of the irritating ingredients that are most commonly included in skin-care products. They are of particular concern when they appear toward the beginning of the ingredient list because that indicates they are present in a relatively high concentration:

• SD alcohol (also known as denatured alcohol)
• benzyl alcohol (when it is a main ingredient)
• bergamot
• camphor
• cinnamon
• citrus juices and oils
• essential oils
• ethanol
• eucalyptus
• fragrance (may be listed as “parfum”)
• grapefruit
• lavender
• lemon
• linalool
• menthol
• mint
• oak bark
• orange
• peppermint
• sandalwood oil
• sodium lauryl sulfate (Note that sodium laureth sulfate is fine)
• witch hazel
• ylang-ylang

To add to this list, I’d note that SD alcohol or denatured alcohol sometimes appears as “alcohol denat.” on the ingredients list. Also, even if a fragrance is listed as “natural,” it is still a skin irritant. Buy products that are fragrance- and colorant-free.

Be bright, be beautiful!


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