Beware of These Skincare Ingredients


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Consumers assume that that all skin care products are beneficial to the skin, especially if the products are costly. Unfortunately, this assumption is not necessarily true. Many skincare products not only fall short of their advertised promises, but can also damage your skin. Their ingredients may clog pores, irritate, dehydrate and stress your skin. While irritation is not always visible, it compromises your skin's healthy appearance and its resilience. It prevents new cell growth and reduces the skin's ability to heal.

Here is a concise list of what you should avoid in skin care products. Think of these ingredients as the equivalent of cholesterol, saturated fat or ephedra in your diet. As a general rule, you should avoid any product that tingles, stings, itches or burns.

Alcohol: We have all heard many times that alcohol is bad for the skin. Unfortunately, it is still used extensively in skin care products. It contributes to dehydration, kills live cells, and alters the skin's delicate biological balance.

Fragrance and coloring: Dermatologists strongly recommend avoiding products with added fragrance or dyes. These additives fail to provide any benefit other than to enhance the product's appearance. However, when absorbed by the skin, fragrances and dyes cause irritation and may produce allergic reactions.

Botanicals: Not all “natural” ingredients are beneficial. Some commonly used plant extracts, such as menthol, peppermint and citrus oils, are powerful substances that are better kept away from your skin.

Bar soap: It is formed by waxy binders and harsh alkaline salts. These ingredients can clog your skin and leave behind harsh chemical residues that dull it or damage it. Liquid cleansers without soap additives are a better alternative.

Fatty acids and vegetable oils: Some fats commonly used as moisturizers form an oily barrier that clogs pores, traps bacteria and prevents the natural shedding of dead cells. Oil-free or light moisturizers are best for all skin types.

Deidra Garcia is a freelance writer and communications manager for MenScience Androceuticals, a men's skincare and grooming company. You can find more articles by Deidra, as well as further tips and advice, at


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