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Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine: Old Habits May Be Harmful to Your Skin
Written by Amanda Beisel   

Avoid skincare ingredients that do more harm than good.

women looking in hand mirrorWhen it comes to the beauty and skincare industry, anything goes. The industry is money-driven and poorly regulated. As a consumer, it’s imperative that you do your own research rather than relying on what advertising or marketing campaigns are telling you. You need to take back control and no longer be a victim of this deceitful industry. Money has always reigned supreme in the beauty industry, and continues to do so. Consumers must carefully choose who and what you trust your skin with.

Environmental Working Group estimates that 99 percent of the skincare and personal care products on the American market contain one or more ingredients that have never been evaluated for safety. We are putting more chemicals on our skin than we realize. Women who use non-mineral makeup every day will absorb, on average, five pounds of chemicals each year.

It is high time to take a closer look at what you are putting on your skin every day. Begin by reading labels and throwing away products that may be doing you more harm than good. You don’t have to do this all on your own. Find a skincare professional who is educated in skin health and ingredient profiles to help you replace the bad products with excellent products that are both safe and effective.

Cleanser: Is your cleanser stripping your skin of its vital lipids?

Your skincare routine should include a good quality cleanser. The importance of a cleanser is often underestimated. The skin is an acid mantle and needs to maintain a pH balance of about 5.5. The slightly acidic skin helps to fight off harmful bacteria. Maintaining the skin pH is vital to protecting ourselves from harmful bacteria that can lead to acne, infection or irritation.

You may want to think twice about using a bar of soap on your skin. Soap is highly alkaline, while our skin is naturally acidic; soap will actually neutralize our skin’s acid pH and strip away our natural defense systems. If you suffer from acne and are washing your skin three or four times a day, you are stripping the acid mantle away and can actually worsen the condition. It is important for us to know the pH of cleansers, moisturizers, makeup and other products we use on our skin so that we don’t remove the protective oils and acid mantle from our skin.

When searching for a cleanser that will be beneficial to your skin, avoid products containing sodium laureth sulfate, or sodium lauryl ether sulfate. This is a cheap, harsh detergent used in many cleansers and shampoos for its ability to cleanse and foam. Often derived from petroleum, it causes eye irritation, dry scalp, skin rashes and other allergic reactions. This cleansing agent is commonly found in skin cleansers, shampoos, body scrubs, moisturizers, toothpaste and numerous other household ingredients. According to the Cosmetic Safety Database, sodium lauryl sulphate has been linked to cancer, organ system toxicity, neurotoxicity and reproductive issues, including birth defects.

Moisturizer: Is your moisturizer suffocating your skin?

Moisturizers hold water in the outermost layer of your skin, called the epidermis. Moisturizers hydrate and feed moisture to your skin while protecting it from environmental damage. Many moisturizers contain some combination of humectants and emollients, as well as other ingredients. It is important to wear moisturizer daily to protect your skin from TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss) and from environmental toxins. If your skin loses water, it cannot function properly and this will lead to the penetration of many toxic substances from the environment.

It can be an overwhelming experience looking for a good moisturizer due to the thousands of choices available. A moisturizer should be chosen based on your skin type and condition. But regardless of your skin type, you need to avoid using a moisturizer that contains parabens. Methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens are chemicals used as preservatives. They are used to fight bacteria and fungus, are widely available, and cost very little to manufacture and use. There have been many studies conducted to support both sides of the argument about whether or not parabens are safe. Many studies have pointed to parabens being potentially dangerous. They have caused a wide range of allergic reactions and skin rashes, and research in the UK has shown that parabens produce hormone-disrupting effects in the body, including lowered sperm counts, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases and breast cancer.

Also be sure to avoid petroleum products, including mineral oil and propylene glycol. Petroleum products block your skin, coating it like plastic and clogging your pores. If your skin can’t breathe properly, it cannot function properly. Petroleum products such as mineral oil build up toxins in the skin, leading to a host of skin issues. Manufacturers like it because it is colourless, odourless, tasteless, very inexpensive, and readily binds other cosmetic ingredients into a smooth, creamy lotion. It softens skin by holding water in. Propylene glycol is another cosmetic form of mineral oil that is often found in high concentrations in baby lotions, after-shave lotions, moisturizers, foundation creams, mascaras, deodorants, lipsticks and suntan lotions. Propylene glycol is a strong skin irritant that can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage. Propylene glycol is widely used because it is an effective humectant that holds moisture in the skin, and it is inexpensive.

Synthetic fragrance and parfum are more ingredients you need to avoid in your daily moisturizer. Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates (pronounced THAY-lates), synthetic chemicals commonly used to stabilize fragrances and make plastic more pliable. These endocrine disrupters mimic hormones. There may be up to 200 ingredients encompassed by the term "fragrance." Furthermore, manufactures are not required to disclose actual ingredients in their formulas. Reactions to fragrance in personal care products include: coughing, dizziness, headaches, hyper-pigmentation, rash, skin irritation and vomiting.

Serum: Is your serum driving toxins deep within the skin?

Water-based serums contain high concentrations of active ingredients. They have a smaller molecular size compared to moisturizers, allowing them to deliver nutrients into the deeper layer of the skin called the dermis. The dermis is home to collagen and elastin. Due to the increased penetration of serums, you want to be extra careful that you are using only safe ingredients.

Oil-based serums work more on the epidermal layer (the outermost layer of the skin) and they are extremely beneficial to the skin. One of the most common skin conditions today is essential fatty acid deficiency, making oil based serums one of the most important products on the market. Essential fatty acids are required for all cell functions and healthy cell membranes. The key ingredients to avoid in serums are the same as those found in moisturizers: parabens, fragrance, propylene glycol, and many others.

Makeup: Is your makeup clogging your skin?

Mineral makeup is the safest choice, but not all mineral makeup is created equal and the regulation of these products is limited. You'll see some similarity in ingredients among different mineral cosmetic companies, but the proportions will not be the same. High-quality mineral makeup should not clog pores, and should feel like you have no makeup on at all. It should not contain synthetic or irritating ingredients like alcohol, artificial fragrance, mineral oil, talc, bismuth oxychloride or petroleum.

When searching for mineral makeup that won’t be harmful to your skin, keep an eye out for bismuth oxychloride and talc. Both are common ingredients in mineral makeup and act as fillers. Bismuth oxychloride is not found in nature; it is a synthetic by-product of lead and copper mixed with chloride and water. Bismuth oxychloride can cause irritation to extremely sensitive skin. Talc can block pores, dry your skin and cause irritation. Mineral makeup products that contain bismuth or talc can appear very cakey on the skin.

Start Your Beauty Detox Today

Do your skin and your overall health a favour and start your beauty detox today. Remember, you don’t have to do this on your own. Find a skincare professional who is educated in skin health and understands the importance of using safe products. Together, you can replace all the toxic, dangerous products with safe, healthy and effective ones. The practitioners at SKN Holistic Rejuvenation Clinic are always available to help you on your journey to healthy, beautiful skin.


powder blush and brushProducts to Avoid

In cleansers:

  • Sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl ether sulfate

In moisturizers and serums

  • Methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl
  • Petroleum products including mineral oil and propylene glycol
  • Synthetic fragrance and parfum

In mineral makeup

  • Bismuth oxychloride
  • Talc
Amanda Beisel -

Amanda Beisel is the owner of the award-winning SKN Holistic Rejuvenation Clinic in Yaletown. She is a registered acupuncturist specializing in Cosmetic acupuncture and medical skin needling. Amanda is also the founder of Skin Addix, a natural cosmeceutical line focused on skin restoration. To learn more about SKN Clinic and Skin Addix visit and


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