Turns out they’re actually doing you more harm than good…
I still remember my surprise when I used an all-natural hair product and ended up with a forehead full of zits.
Sure, my ‘do was shiny and choppy, but it didn’t distract from my suddenly blemished complexion. And I was stuck with the acne long after I washed my hair. But the lesson stuck with me, too: beauty products that can be harmful to your skin aren’t limited to just the ones you apply to your face. I learned other lessons about skin care the hard way, too.
For example, exfoliating felt so good that I did it on a daily basis. But actually, there are certain beauty products that you should not use every day and exfoliating is definitely one of them (it can really tear up your skin)! Knowing how often to use products and examining their ingredients is important — as is being familiar with which ones are potentially harmful. For example, “all-natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “good for your skin” — some natural products can cause irritation, acne, or allergic reactions. Here are six products that might be seriously messing with your skin.
When you think of “fragrance,” perfumes probably come to mind. But the mysterious ingredient (actually a blend of components both natural and synthetic) can be found in products like moisturizers, deodorants, and shampoos — and it’s mysterious because in the U.S., companies aren’t required to list the chemicals in their various fragrance mixtures. Unfortunately, fragrance is to be avoided because of its status as one of top five allergens in the world (and fragrance may also contain hormone disruptors). Going fragrance-free can help you avoid redness, acne, and other signs of irritated skin.
2. Essential oils
If you’re thinking that natural oils are a perfectly natural way to treat dry skin, think again. “Although they are a very beneficial for a lot of reasons and are also a nice natural alternative to synthetic ingredients, many essential oils can can be irritating to people with sensitive skin,” says Emily Bergquist, a licensed esthetician in Brooklyn, New York. “Mineral oil is bad for the environment to produce and clogs pores very easily.” Bergquist adds that “argon, avocado, and jojoba oil are some oils that are a good alternative. They contain omega 3s and condition your skin without suffocating it.”
3. Hair products
Oil is a potentially irritating ingredient in hair products, too. You probably already know that bleaches, harsh dyes, or sulfate-containing shampoos can cause skin allergies or dry out your scalp (or a fab mix of both!). But if you’re breaking out on the regular, dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo tells Refinery 29 that certain hair products which “are oil-based or cream-based, like creams, oils, and pomades” can cause acne on expected areas such as the forehead and forehead but also less obvious places like the chest and upper back.
4. Facial scrubs
Scrubs and exfoliators are another type of regimen that can feel like you’re doing your skin a favor. But you may be exacerbating conditions such as acne and eczema, especially when you’re exfoliating too often; Prevention recommends using scrubs with smooth beads that will be easier on your skin (but still should be used on the daily!).
Make no mistake: you should be using sunscreen. Period. But as with most products, some options are safer than others. The ingredients in your sunscreen matter: avoid those that contain the chemical oxybenzone (which the Environment Working Group warns may cause skin cell damage). There’s also evidence that vitamin A (aka retinyl palmitite) actually sensitizes the skin to UV rays and is best used after dark (great for night creams, not so useful in a sunscreen!).
6. Harsh cleansers
If your skin is feeling oily or particularly, well, pimply, then washing your skin repeatedly with an acne-busting cleanser can feel refreshing and restorative. Except that sometimes it’s anything but — when cleansers containing alcohol dry out your skin, they may do so to the point of actually causing irritation and fresh breakouts. Boooo.
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