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Dangerous skin care ingredients to avoid

Beauty products that may harm you

Today, women want to look their best and delay the visual effects of aging for as long as possible. They have a wealth of skin care products to choose from.
Woman reading lotion bottle

Unfortunately, some of these products may actually do more harm than good. That’s because many of them contain ineffective and unsafe ingredients. Read on to find out if your beauty arsenal might contain some hidden dangers.

Facial scrub fallacy

The idea behind a facial scrub is that to deeply clean your face, you need the rough texture of a scrub to exfoliate the skin — that is, remove dead skin cells. But many best-selling facial scrubs contain jagged particles, such as apricot and walnut seeds, that do not cleanse the skin, but instead, cause tiny cuts in your face. Even if you cannot see these little cuts, they are more than big enough to allow bacteria to enter. The result is redness, inflammation and blemishes. Many people who suffer from adult acne or sensitive skin are really just victims of popular facial scrubs.

Ingredients that age

Many facial scrubs, body washes, lotions and creams also contain emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are soap-based substances that bind together the oils and water-based ingredients in your favorite skin care products so that you don’t have to constantly shake them in order to get them to combine. But once any nourishing oil is absorbed into the skin and the water is absorbed or evaporated, the emulsifier is left behind. This leaves a soapy residue that will harm your skin’s natural protective layer, causing it to dry out. And dry skin ages faster. Ingredients that indicate the presence of emulsifiers include emulsifying wax, polysorbate, stearate, steareth, cetearyl and ceteareth.

Cancer concerns

Parabens, which are preservatives used to increase the life of products and may be listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben or butylparaben, can also be dangerous to your health. Doctors call parabens "endocrine disruptors," meaning they can wreak havoc on the hormonal system. Parabens have been found in breast tumor biopsy samples, leading some scientists to speculate that parabens may cause breast cancer.

While an emulsifier will damage the look of your skin, its byproduct, 1,4-dioxane, is even more frightening, since it could cause cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls 1,4-dioxane a human carcinogen. You won’t find 1,4-dioxane listed as a skin care product ingredient, but you can look for the following words that suggest its presence:

  • Polyethylene
  • Polyethylene glycol, also PEG
  • Polyoxyethylene
  • Any word ending with "oxynol"
  • Any word ending with "eth" like ceteareth

Practice safe beauty

With so many harmful chemicals in most skin care products, it’s important to practice "safe beauty" and look closely at the labels to determine what you’re putting on your face. To remove the guesswork for women across the country, I worked with Healthy Directions to develop a full line of healthy, high-quality skin care products that don’t contain jagged particles, soap-based emulsifiers and parabens that are found in many other skin care products.

Instead, they contain ingredients that nourish the skin, helping your skin to look younger and more radiant. The new line includes Good Morning Anti-Aging Moisturizer, Good Night Collagen Rejuvenator Cream and Revive Exfoliating Face Wash, which contains super-smooth beads that have a specially designed microdermabrasion surface featuring microscopic contours that exfoliate the skin without doing any damage to it.

Watch: DIY lip scrub

Today on The Daily Dish, personal stylist Fawn Cheng gives to you the ingredients to make your own DIY lip scrub.

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