SLS & Essential Oils
“One of the first things I recommend any new patient does is simplify their regime and minimise product hopping,” explains dermatologist and skincare expert, Dr. Sam Bunting. “That’s why I created my Perfected Basics – which was developed with a formula that supports and strengthens all skin types. Specific ingredients to avoid are SLS and essential oils. Often found in cleansers, these are foaming agents that can cause dehydration or irritation over time. Look out for these on the ingredients list and try to avoid using the product if it contains them – especially if you suffer from sensitivity or rashes.”
“Again, products that contain fragrance and drying alcohol will cause feelings of tightness and irritation,” adds Sam. “Try to eliminate products that contain these pointless ingredients, as they serve no purpose other than potential inflammation, and once you’ve got rid of them, it allows you to create room for ingredients that count – not to mention, allows other products to work to the best of their ability with no interference.” Advanced skin & laser expert Debbie Thomas agrees: “Synthetic fragrance is worse, but even natural ones like aromatherapy oils can cause rashes and breakouts. In addition, some fragrances can make your skin photosensitive (react strongly to the sun), meaning a much higher risk of damage, so be careful.”
Pure Palm Oil
“None of our products contain pure palm oil, however, some of our products have palm oil derivatives,” explains director of research at Medik8, Daniel Isaacs. “Environmental responsibility should be at the very heart of every brand now. Everybody should be striving to use sustainably sourced palm oil wherever possible, and we, ourselves are looking towards sustainable palm oil derivatives – look out for this on ingredient lists over just palm oil.”
“Petroleum-based oils (mineral oils) create a non-breathable coating over the skin,” says Debbie. “It feels great initially, but can lead to congestion, blockages and duller complexions. Overall, it’s not a great ingredient for maintaining healthy skin.”
Vitamin A Derivatives
“Vitamin A derivatives are often used by different brands at higher concentrations, because they are a lot less powerful and further away from the step-by-step conversion to retinoic acid (the biologically active form of vitamin A),” adds Daniel. “This means the benefits we associate with vitamin A are harder to achieve, the further you are away from the active form. When seeking out ingredients, look for vitamin A in the following forms: retinol, retinaldehyde and retinyl retinoate – all are proven by scientific date to offer incredible results on the skin, far better than any derivative.”
“There are several things to note here,” begins Debbie. “A lot of people talk about parabens, sulphates and phthalates as ‘chemicals', but as with anything, there are good and bad versions. Parabens have become controversial (despite zero studies backing up any negative findings) and, as a result, we've seen more product recall due to insufficient preservatives [parabens] – which makes the product unsafe to use. The bottom line? While parabens are a grey area, you can find them in certain plants, so if you dig around enough, you’ll find a more natural alternative. If, however, you’re prone to sensitivity or irritation, just steer clear.”
It’s no secret our beloved antiperspirants are linked to several health concerns. And though the National Cancer Institute has confirmed there's no firm link between the two, it’s a rumour that continues to circulate. Antiperspirant’s hero ingredient, aluminium, is what's raised a few eyebrows recently. Because it temporarily plugs your underarm glands, it's what keeps you from getting super sweaty. This may sound great, but this so-called plugging also allows the aluminium to be absorbed into the body, and that’s the scary part. Whether related directly to serious health issues or not, the idea of this metal being in our bodies has got several people worried (experts included). So until further research is confirmed, it’s best to avoid or limit your use where possible.
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