Beauty tips: ingredients to avoid

I'm heading off on holiday for a little while, so as well as a few posts from me, I'm also handing over the reins of the blog to some great guest posters for the next week or so. First up is fabulous Grace from All That Slap who's talking about some of the key ingredients you might like to avoid in your beauty products. Over to you Grace...

In recent years I have become increasingly aware of the ingredients in my beauty products and I try to avoid certain ones as much as possible. Just like food, reading the ingredients list on my beauty products has become second nature to me. The important thing to note is that anything we apply on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream in as little time as 14 seconds, depending on what it is! That is quicker than anything we eat…pretty scary when you think about it! With that in mind, here are a few “skin nasties” that I personally try and avoid...

1. Mineral Oil (and its derivatives)
This is also known as petrolatum or paraffinum liquidum, mineral oil jelly and mineral oil causes a lot of problems when used on the skin photosensitivity (i.e. promotes sun damage), and it tends to interfere with the body’s own natural moisturising mechanism, leading to dry skin and chapping. It is essentially a product that creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate!! You find in in baby oil (why would you want to use this on babies??!), lip products in particular lip balms, face creams, makeup – you name it and its in there! Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap! There is no other reason its there. It is hideous and I try particularly hard to stay away from it. It creeps me out!

2. Parabens
The most common parabens are Methyl and Propyl and Butyl and Ethyl Paraben — Used as preserve and extend shelf life of products. They are very widely used even though they are known to be toxic! Parabens can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes as well as potentially interfering with your hormones. What really bugs me is that some “natural” seeming brands like Liz Earle use parabens in almost all of their products…..sigh. That is all.

3. Sodium Laureth Sulphate (“SLS”)
This is used a lot in shampoos, hand washes, face wash and body washes etc for its detergent and foam-building abilities. It can cause eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff and allergic reactions. It can be extremely drying to the skin and I try to avoid it as much as possible, particularly in my shampoos and face washes. If a face wash contains this, I find my skin is super tight and dry after use – resulting in my skin to go into overdrive and produce loads of oil. Yuck!!

4. Propylene Glycol
This is often listed as PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol). Usually it is a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. It has been known to cause allergic and toxic reactions. It also penetrates below the surface, so it can deliver other nasties to deeper into the skin and into the bloodstream. Alarmingly its also the main ingredient in anti-freeze! Pretty gross, don’t you think?

I could have gone on and on with my list of nasty ingredients, but the ones above are the ones I avoid the most.

Thankfully there are more and more brands which are free from many of these ingredients and don’t cost an arm and a leg – some of them are listed below:
- Pai Skincare
- Naked Skincare
- Weleda
- Lavera
- Balance Me
- Yes to Carrots
- Elemis

My advice is always read the label!!

Thank you Kat for having me as a guest blogger! If you like this post, you can find me over at www.allthatslap.com
Thanks for reading!
Grace xx


  1. Sooo many things to avoid and totally agree x

  2. Nice post! But where did you find the 14 sec absorption theory?thanks!

  3. Do you have any references for the findings on mineral oil? I've done quite a bit of reading into it and the research that I've read concludes that it is possibly the least reactive and gentlest emollients available. It cannot be absorbed by the skin as its hydrocarbon chains are too long, it is biologically inert (so doesn't react with the skin or its components) and is an excellent occlusive that protects very dry skin against moisture loss. You can read my thoughts on mineral oil here! http://goo.gl/SyA6eU xx


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