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Caring for sensitive skin can be a major source of frustration and finding the appropriate products can take months if not years. Knowing what to avoid when shopping for sensitive skin care products can help shorten the search and lessen the amount of irritation experienced. Below are the five worst ingredients for sensitive skin.
Artificial fragrance in skincare and beauty products make enhance the smell, but it also is one of the biggest sensitive skin irritants. “Fragrances, whatever their form, added to personal-care products impart their scent via volatile compounds,” advises skincare expert Paula Begoun. These compounds include potentially harmful chemicals, many of which are known irritants or allergens that result in serious damage to sensitive skin. If these ingredients are so harmful, why do skincare companies continue to include them in product formulas? The answer is simple, consumers appreciate pleasant smells and some natural ingredients smell decidedly bad, like sulfur. Adding a fragrance masks the off-putting smells and results in products that are more appealing.
Although alcohols are found in the vast majority of skincare products from cleansers to moisturizers, this is a particularly harmful ingredient to those with sensitive skin. The two major reasons that alcohol is so pervasive in skincare products are:
- Alcohol added to thick products results in a weightless, pleasant feel on the skin rather than a thick or obtrusive feeling.
- Alcohol helps other skincare ingredients, like vitamins A and C, penetrate your skin.
While neither of these seem harmful, alcohol is able to penetrate the skin by breaking down the barrier on your skin, leading to more damage.
Just as consumers buy products that smell good, they also look for products that are visually appealing. In order to make their products more appealing, skincare and cosmetic companies add synthetic colors which may not seem like a big deal, but can be severely irritating to sensitive skin. Many synthetic and artificial colors are manufactured using coal tar and may contain other heavy metal salts such as lead and arsenic. These ingredients not only irritate sensitive skin, but when absorbed into the body they can cause serious long-term damage.
Other skincare ingredients that are awful for sensitive skin but found in tons of skincare and beauty products are parabens. Parabens are found in products ranging from shampoo to facial cleansers. These harmful irritants are used in products to stop bacteria growth and to prevent future bacterial growth in the product. Parabens are absorbed into the skin quite easily and there is some research that suggests that these irritants are closely linked to breast cancer. Avoid irritation of sensitive skin and help prevent more serious illness by sticking to products that are labeled as paraben-free.
Sulfates have been receiving a lot of attention recently as an undesirable skincare ingredient and with good reason. Sulfates are surfactants used in about 90% of personal care items and are used largely for producing a rich, foamy lather. The problem with sulfates, especially for sensitive skin, is that they strip skin of its essential natural moisture, causing damage to the structures that keep skin looking young and healthy as well as calm.
Sensitive skin requires a simple and gentle skincare routine with products that are meant to soothe irritation. Knowing what some of the very worst ingredients for sensitive skin are helps eliminate the use of products that will cause reactions or irritation this skin type. Keep skin looking radiant, healthy and calm by staying away from the five worst ingredients for sensitive skin.