*This post is not sponsored.
Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well.
Today I want to talk to you about a major (and for some even essential) skincare topic that you might want to consider. As most of you might know, I am obsessed with trying out new skincare products, from high-end moisturizers to Korean cleansers and “underdog” serums. However, do we really know what we’re putting on our face? Since I’ve had some more time on my hands these past few months, I’ve been doing some research into skincare ingredients (e.g., what they mean, what they do for your skin, what can and cannot be combined, etc.) and I realized that a lot of our favorite products are filled with ingredients that can either harm our skin (if not now, then in the long run) or are simply not doing anything good or effective and therefore, unnecessary.
In this post I will be talking about a number of labels and terms on skincare products that you might want to pay attention to. If you have an easy, non-sensitive and non-problematic skin, I can imagine you don’t see a reason to switch up your skincare routine. And, as long as you’re still aware of what you’re putting on your face, that’s okay! But if you find yourself struggling with acne, blackheads, oily skin, large pores, redness or simply cannot maintain a balanced skin (aside from hormonal issues)- you should consider looking for the following labels and terms on your next skincare products.
If you’re dealing with oily-skin and nothing seems to work for you, try specifically looking for oil-free products. If the product isn’t meant for sebum regulation or mattifying purposes or if it doesn’t specifically mention “oil-free” on the packaging, chances are that the product contains some ingredients that will lead to an oily skin throughout the day. I personally have always dealt with oily skin. No matter whether it was warm and humid or freezing cold, my skin would always get shiny a few hours after my skincare / makeup routine. I would blot my T-zone several times a day and the oils would still come through. So, when I read about the difference switching to oil-free products could make, I did not hesitate for one second and started looking up suitable products. Now, all my skincare and makeup products are water-based instead of oil-based, and I switched my Teaology Rose Tea Micellar Cleansing Water to the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner. I can’t be too optimistic, applying this toner in the AM and PM does not guarantee that your skin won’t get oily throughout the day. But the times I need to blot my T-zone has drastically decreased and that’s something, isn’t it?
Despite popular beliefs that alcohol is good for drying out acne and oily skin, it’s probably for the best if you try to avoid alcohol on your skin. It doesn’t even sound right, does it? Shortly put, alcohol is too harsh, too drying and too damaging to the skin’s protective barrier. This means that the skin won’t be able to lock in moisture and will therefore cause dryness, irritations and even breakouts. But…there are also “good” kinds of alcohol (no, not the mojito you’re planning to have this Saturday night!). These good kinds of alcohol (A.K.A fatty alcohols) are derived from vegetables. Fatty alcohols (often indicated as Cetearyl, Stearyl, Cetyl and Behenyl in an ingredient list) help emulsifying purposes. This means that, for instance, they help keep the product together so that the oil and water don’t separate. Fatty alcohols do not dry or irritate the skin at all and are therefore safe to use. So, don’t shy away from all products that mention ‘alcohol’ in their ingredient list, make sure to check if it’s the good or bad kind first.
Let’s be honest here, most of our favorite skincare products contain fragrances (sometimes also indicated as “perfume” in an ingredient list). Several studies have shown that fragrances in skincare products are the most common cause of sensitizing and other negative skin reactions. This goes for all skin types, not just if you’re dealing with sensitivity, redness- or acne-prone skin. If you’re not noticing any damage to your skin, that doesn’t mean your skin is not hurting. Our skin is very good at hiding when it’s being aggravated, and it will come back to haunt you in the long run. So if you can, opt for fragrance-free skincare products. Click here for an article by Paula’s Choice on why you should be choosing fragrance-free products. This was a hard one for me because I found out that the majority of my go-to skincare products contained fragrances. However, I did manage to switch my Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer to the CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion (which is even cheaper!).
Non-comedogenic is a term used to describe skincare and make-up products that are formulated in a certain way that they are not likely to cause pore blockages and breakouts. When a product is labeled non-comedogenic, it means that the product does not contain any ingredients that are known to clog pores. Especially if you’re struggling with acne, you might want to consider purchasing non-comedogenic skincare products and make-up. Click here for more reasons to be using non-comedogenic products.
Parabens are ingredients that should be avoided altogether: in makeup, skincare and even in hair products! But why? Parabens disrupt the hormone functioning by mimicking oestrogen. Still don’t see the harm? Too much oestrogen can trigger an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumors. Several studies have linked paraben use to breast cancer and reproductive issues. For more (detailed) information about this, check out this article by ELLE Magazine.
The main reason you should be avoiding silicones in your skincare is because it clogs your pores. Silicones trap everything like bacteria, impurities, dirt and sebum in your skin by forming a barrier on the skin (this is why most make-up primers are silicone-based!). Silicones can cause large pores, acne and blackheads so try to avoid it as much as possible! Check out this article by Fitglow Beauty for 9 other reasons to avoid silicone (although this one should have been enough…).
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, finding average-priced skin care products with (most of) the above-mentioned labels is hard. That’s why it’s important to learn how to read ingredient lists, don’t you want to know what kind of acids, soaps, oils, etc., you’re applying to your precious skin every morning and evening? You can also consider to use products that are either developed by dermatologists, meaning that the ingredients are carefully selected and most likely to be non-comedogenic.
If you have problematic skin, I know it’s tempting to switch to another skincare product or routine when you don’t see any results right away. It’s frustrating, because why is the $40 vitamin E-serum that you’ve been using for a month not getting rid of your hyperpigmentation yet? It was expensive, so it must be good, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that (anymore). That’s why it’s important to be patient and learn to stick with one particular product routine that works for you. If it isn’t causing any breakouts or redness, it is definitely worth using the product for a few months and see what it does. Check out this article by Business Insider for 11 clean skincare brands!
What are some things you pay attention to before purchasing a new skincare product? Comment below!