Skin Care: Do You Know What’s in Your Products?

Are you a label reader? Did you know that it is just as important to read the labels for what you put on your skin as it is for what you eat? Our skin is the largest vital organ of the body and it reacts in different ways to what we put on it. There are a number of ingredients to watch for that aren’t beneficial and are potentially harmful to your skin.

One ingredient that many companies use in their products as a base oil is mineral oil. It is a by-product of petroleum which comes from crude oil. Because the molecules in mineral oil are to large to penetrate the pores of your skin, it forms a greasy layer and doesn’t allow for normal respiration of the skin. If the skin can’t take in moisture it gets extremely dehydrated, possibly even flaky. It is found in many cleansers and moisturizers.

You will find it in both the inexpensive discount store brands and even some name brand prescription drugs. Instead of using a product with a mineral oil base, you should look for botanical oils which penetrate the skin and work naturally.

Many skin care remedies have solvent alcohol in the form of isopropyl, propyl or SD alcohol. These alcohol’s are typically found in cleansers, clarifying-type cleansers and even some moisturizers. Bar soaps should also be avoided because of their high pH and drying effects on the skin.

Waxes can cause buildup under the layers of the skin. Carnauba, beeswax, emulsifying, candela and paraffin should be avoided. Beeswax is a sticky sealant, attracting dirt, pollutants, and bacteria.

There are some animal products that are used quite frequently that can cause problems for the skin. Collagen can clog the pores because it’s molecules are too large and it doesn’t penetrate the pores. It can also cause an allergic reaction. This is not to be confused with the collagen fibers that are naturally in your skin which gives it its elasticity.

Lanolin, an oily derivative from sheep wool, has also been indicated as a cause of allergic reactions in sensitive people. It cannot penetrate the top layer of the skin so it is also a sealant. Both collagen and lanolin are used as lubrication ingredients in skin care products.

Another issue that is a concern of most people is that products they use should not be tested on animals. Look for products that are cruelty free.

Products that contain botanical and herbal extracts and oils are very beneficial. They work naturally on your skin doing such things as exfoliation, soothing, moisturizing and healing, to name a few.

You’ve probably heard about alpha-hydroxyl acids. These revolutionary ingredients were discovered several years ago and up until now, are the closest we’ve come to finding the fountain of youth for our skin. These acids work to uncover smoother, brighter, firmer skin. Age spots and freckles along with discoloration form the sun or a pregnancy may diminish with use of AHA’s, however, a word of caution: some extremely sensitive skin types shouldn’t use AHA’s. If you have a skin condition such as rosacea, you shouldn’t use AHA’s.

Check with your doctor if you are unsure.

Did you know that it is important to moisturize, even if you have very oily skin? The skin needs moisture, and as mentioned earlier, if it doesn’t get it, that is a signal for the oil glands to overproduce. If you have very oily skin, you can get needed moisture without using an oil-based product, by using products that have ingredients which are natural moisturizing extracts.

So how do you know what’s in the products your using? It’s simple. Check the labels on the containers. A company that lists ingredients on the containers has nothing to hide.

Sometimes a person is just allergic to just one ingredient and it’s certainly helpful to know what’s in a product before you try it.

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