The body care market has been getting a serious overhaul in recent years. Natural ingredients are taking center stage, and CBD has become a primary ingredient blended into topical products and skincare creams. Along with CBD beverages, manufacturing companies have begun exploring CBD creams as the next bonanza in the booming CBD craze. With all the focus on the latest and greatest cannabinoid making its way into your favorite moisturizers, serums, and lotions, Bluebird Botanicals wants to take a moment to practice our commitment to radical transparency and discuss common types of product ingredients you should avoid in your body care products. Without further ado, here are five things to stop using on your skin.
There are many popular alcohol-based skincare and bodycare products out there. As an ingredient in these products, alcohol is most often used because it is a fast-acting and even faster-drying base that helps remove grease from particularly oily skin. Doctors and researchers, however, are wisening to the many skincare risks carried by products whose primary ingredients include certain types of alcohol.
Research has shown that the wrong kind of alcohol in skin care and other beauty products can actually enlarge your pores and weaken your skin’s natural rejuvenation process. However, like the difference between a fine wine and a box of Sunset Blush Franzia, not all skincare alcohol ingredients are created equal – and some are definitely better for you than others.
The “simple alcohols” are the ones you want to avoid. These dangerous bases to keep entirely out of your skincare regimen include: SD alcohol 40, denatured alcohol (sometimes called alcohol denaut), and isopropyl alcohol. Those can be very drying to the skin, basically producing a “hangover effect” for your precious epidermis. Yikes!
Simple alcohols can be great for removing grime from oily skin – but there’s a catch. These types of alcohols found in skincare products like astringents can actually damage the skin’s lipid barrier over time. Stripping your skin’s natural oil removes its barrier against pollution, harmful bacteria, and other environmental contaminants, leaving skin exposed to all sorts of nitty gritty you don’t want working its way into your pores.
And here’s the kicker – these products that are “designed to remove oil,” can actually can send skin scrambling to replace what it needs, result in a boomerang effect that causes skin to overproduce oil to make up for the harsh and rapid removal of natural protectants.
There are some types of alcohol that can be super beneficial for your skin. Fatty alcohols are generally a bit “healthier” for your skin.
Fatty alcohols, in contrast with simple alcohols, can actually provide nourishment for stressed skin. These oils are typically derived from vegetables, coconut, or palm oil and can actually provide nourishment for stressed skin. They’re a total 180° from the bad boys we discussed above.
Fatty alcohols are white, waxy solids that are most often used as emulsifiers in cosmetics, helping hold the diverse product ingredients together. Rather than drying or irritating skin, they serve as emollients, providing a protective, soothing effect by helping skin hold onto essential moisture.
Fatty alcohol ingredients that are safe for skin include Cetearyl, Stearyl, Cetyl and Behenyl alcohols. Ethanol is also a common ingredient used in topicals to help other ingredients present better absorb into the skin.
Lime, lemon, and other acidic juices
If you have browsed the world of beauty Pinterest, you have likely seen some DIY skincare advice touting lemons and limes as a natural source of beneficial chemicals like Vitamin C, citric acid, and Niacin (an anti-inflammatory vitamin). While these claims are somewhat based in reality, there is a lot of overlooked science related to this trend!
There is heavily documented evidence of citrus juice resulting in some truly nightmarish acid burns when combined with direct sunlight, and, with so many other great natural ingredients available, we’re of the opinion that it’s just not worth the risk. If you’re feeling brave (or morbidly curious) you can find the photos for yourself with a quick Google search. Lemon juice has also been linked to splotchy patches of depigmentation.
The long story short: be wary about rubbing pure lime and/or lemon juice on your skin — particularly on your face, where your skin is especially sensitive.
Adhesive charcoal masks
There is something to be said for the apparent effectiveness of adhesive charcoal masks. The general idea is that activated charcoal is an adhesive, porous substance that, when dried on your face as a mask — will also absorb all the dirt and oils from your skin. Theoretically, all that gunk is then removed when you remove the mask, but that’s a whole lot easier said than done as countless online product reviewers can attest. Removing the mask can be a truly painful and unpleasant experience, especially if you already have sensitive skin. These adhesive charcoal masks can even cause permanently enlarged pores and scarring.
While activated charcoal can be a stellar ingredient when used properly, DIY glue and charcoal powder or other adhesive charcoal masks are at best ineffective — and at worst can be major irritants to those with sensitive skin. And it’s the charcoal itself, not the adhesive component that causes the painful peels, that does the job.
Deodorants / gel antiperspirants
This might be an unpopular sentiment and we don’t expect everyone to get on board, but you might want to reconsider your daily use of traditional deodorants and antiperspirants.
We’re not talking about those claims that “your deodorant might be giving you cancer” that were circling years ago. The true reason that many dermatologists suggest you avoid these types of products, especially the gel-based products, is because they can actually damage your pores and lead to acne development or even full-on breakouts. While this can also be a result of shaving or sweat itself (a visit to a dermatologist can help determine the culprit), the propensity of gel antiperspirants to clog underarm pores is something to be aware of — and to avoid, if you can.
Cheap lotions / miracle creams
It may seem obvious, but we couldn’t leave this one out. If you’re considering a product that makes sweeping claims about its effects or has a too-good-to-be-true price tag, you should absolutely do some investigating before making your purchase and using on your skin.
Cheaper, watery lotions usually won’t help to moisturize your skin. In fact, they can dry it out even further as it can take some of your skin’s lipid or fat layers with it (remember those cheap alcohols we swore off earlier in this post?). For this reason, thicker skin creams with a heavier oil base tend to work far better than lotions for moisturization purposes.
However, price point is not the end all, be all of skincare research. Really, it all boils down to the following key guidelines:
- Check the ingredients list.
- Check for third-party lab results.
- When in doubt, check with your doctor or dermatologist.
As skincare continues to evolve, these simple instructions can help you stay abreast of the proper way to care for your skin, even as trends come and go.