The Ugly in Beauty Products: What to Avoid in Cosmetics

I’ve started getting in a habit of reading my product labels recently. It never really occurred to me what goes on in my every day skincare. It’s an irony because we pay so much attention into what we consume orally but our skin is in fact our largest organ and absorbs about 60-70% of what we apply on it. I was in the shower one day and while lathering with face with my beloved Kiehl’s Centella Skin Calming Cleanser, I noticed something rather peculiar on the label. Amongst many things, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) – this what they put in soap and detergent, methylparaben, propylparaben (parabens- which are carcinogenic (basically cancerous), and cetyl alcohol (which is a common ingredient in skincare that is used as an emulsifier/thickening agent but for really sensitive skin it is still best to avoid any form of alcohol on your skin). There have been a study done on the 2 main categories of alcohols in skincare, but for the sake of this article, I would leave that to a later time). Please note that SLS and alcohols are known to “dry out” the skin by stripping our skin’s natural barrier (acid mantel), causing it to overcompensate by producing even more sebum. In order words, your skin would create more blackheads and “bumps” (papules), which are signs of an over-productive oil gland. It’s surprising to me, a cleanser that claims that it is for sensitive skin consists of 4 highly questionable ingredients.

Khiel’s have always been known to be dermatologist tested/ certified and has this “laboratory” image so you’d think that they are safe and good for your skin. 

I then moved on to my toner, facial oil, serum, eye cream… I’ve been using Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream since February. I bought it while I was visiting the States and was seduced by the brand when I found out Kylie Jenner was an avid fan. Blame it on celebrity endorsement.

kylie jenner mario badescu.jpg

Pic: Kylie Jenner on Snapchat using Mario Badescu

The lady at Ulta highly recommended the product and I guess I was swayed by her words and the “green” packaging, along with the brand’s long establishment (since 1967).

Note that Mario Badescu uses mineral oil (made out of petroleum and is known as comedogenic- blocks pores)… well, it’s basically like “cling wrap” to your skin which doesn’t sound all too appealing, Cetearyl alcohol (which is a common emulsifier but if you have severely sensitive skin this may irritate your skin, alcohol of any sort even natural ones (the type that derieves from plants ie.: coconut etc.) still have a tendency to “dry out” your skin), petrolatum (derives from crude oil – one out of every 14 cosmetic products on the market uses this – it’s considered as moderately hazardous and to some extend carcinogenic), Propylparaben and Methylparaben (studies have shown that some parabens can mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body’s cells, and while estrogenic activity is associated with certain forms of breast cancer, parabens have been found present in breast tumors). It’s astounding how many types of toxins actually goes into this little 0.5oz (14g) plastic jar. 

Mario Badescu uses mineral oil… which is basically “cling wrap to your pores”.

 The following is a snapshot of ingredients used in Mario Badescu’s Hyaluronic Eye Cream: 

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 09.57.22

I later went online to check on both products. Surprisingly, Khiel’s website only highlights their 3 “beneficial” ingredients whereby they do not disclose the rest of their ingredients. As for Mario Badescu (as shown above), they have disclosed all their ingredients. I’m just baffled that for one they still use these toxic ingredients for decades and two; people actually rave about their products while not mentioning the details of their content.

For the past few years, my facial eczema has been flaring up and I didn’t really know what was the cause. It may be a combination of many things but for the most part I think my skin has become sensitised by the products that I’ve been using. Ever since finding out what goes in my skin care products, I’ve decided to make more of a conscious decision to pay attention to labels, not just passively purchasing due to rave reviews or what not. Your skin is smarter than you think, so listen to it. If it stings and doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t right.

Go ahead and take a look at your skincare cabinet. You just maybe surprised by what you may find.



Photo: Pinterest

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