The ingredients list of any product can be quite intimating. Aside from the length, these lists often times include long medical terms that are not exactly common.
Allow me to simplify these lengthy ingredients list and highlight key ingredients to look for as well as those to avoid when choosing products to put on the skin.
Ingredients to Look For
1. Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil)
Known for its soothing properties and calming sensation, Jojoba Oil is a star ingredient for any skincare product. Jojoba oil comes in the form of a wax that coats the top layer of the skin in order to retain the moisture and prevent the skin from drying out. This waxy coat is rich in fatty acids and packed with Vitamin E, A and D which help to relieve irritation and discomfort. In addition, this ingredient has the unique ability to mimic the body's natural moisturizing properties and balance the oil in all skin types. As such, Jojoba Oil works to remove excess dirt and oil from the surface of the skin, minimize the appearance of pores and keep the skin feeling clean.
2. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia)
Packed with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties, Tea Tree Oil is a natural healer. The benefits of Tea Tree Oil include, but are not limited too: 1) preventing and reducing the appearance of scars and blemishes; 2) calming redness, swelling and inflammation; and 3) balancing the oils in the skin. This star ingredient is key when it comes to naturally treating skin concerns.
3. Copaiba Balsam Essential Oil (Copaifera Spp)
Copaiba Oil promotes a clear, smooth and radiant complexion. A major property of Copaiba Oil is Beta-caryophyllene; Beta-caryophyllene has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. It follows that Copaiba is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that will soothe and heal skin irritations.
4. Grapeseed Oil (Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil)
Grapeseed Oil protects and preserves the skin's soft and supple appearance. The ingredient has properties such as vitamin E and phenolic antioxidants which work together to: 1) diffuse skin irritations such as acne breakouts; 2) protect the skin from the external environment like sun damage; 3) even out the skin tone; and 4) give the skin a softer feel and more supple appearance. This lightweight oil penetrates the skin to and activates Vitamin E and C in the skin which protects and preserves the skin from external agents.
Ingredients to Avoid
1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
SLS is one of the most common skin irritants. This ingredient is often used to make the shower cleansers/products foam up. SLS is extremely drying and strips the skin of its natural, protective oil barrier. Side effects of this ingredients include dry patches, itchy skin (especially in the winter months) and eczema in more sensitive skin.
2. Propylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol is designed for water retention; it is meant to create a seal over your skin to prevent the escape of water. For a short period of time, the skin will feel smooth and appear soft as this seal draws moisture from the lower layers of the skin to the top layer. However, the top layers will eventually dry out and your skin will be left looking dull, dry and have an exaggerated appearance of wrinkles.
3. Alcohol (SD alcohol and/or Denatured alcohol)
If you see SD alcohol and/or denatured alcohol in the ingredients of a skincare product, it's probably best to avoid that product altogether. These types of volatile alcohols are meant to create a quick-drying and non-greasy finish. This can be quite appealing (especially for oily skin types) as the skin is left with a weightless feeling. However, these short term benefits do not outweigh the negative long term effects. These ingredients are extremely drying and irritating for your skin. Alcohol strips the skin of its natural oils and damages its protective barrier.