What’s irritating my skin?
It can be frustrating when you feel like you cannot explain your skin issues. You may be eating right, getting all the water and doing your daily skincare routine religiously only to maintain irritated skin.
There are a ton of ingredients present in products (natural ones included) that can be irritating your skin. Irritated skin can show up as:
Usually these symptoms feel out of place and unexplainable. While skin issues can be a result of many different factors, it’s best to begin with the products you’re putting on your skin.
Deciphering a long list of ingredients on the back of a product can be overwhelming, and here is a core stater list of ingredients I like to avoid when purchasing my products.
Watch the breakdown of this post:
Specifically, I’m focusing on synthetic fragrance here. This is often times listed on product labels as:
Due to certain labeling laws, the term “fragrance” is a blanket term that can include a number of synthetic irritants to make a product smell good. There’s no transparency in the term. EWG skin deep database uses terms like organ toxicity and irritant for this specific label ingredient.
Irritating cleansing ingredients
It is important to use cleansing ingredients that respect the skin’s natural barrier and help maintain a healthy pH. Some of the most stripping cleansing ingredients can throw off your skin’s balance and lead to major irritation. The most common irritating cleansing agents include:
- Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS)
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine
- Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
When the skin’s barrier or pH is thrown off your skin is susceptible to invasion: toxins, bacteria, etc. that can irritate and compromise the health of your skin.
Preservatives are important to make sure you don’t purchase a product that will go bad the following week. However, there are some preservatives I tend to avoid because of their irritating qualities such as:
- Formaldehyde/ formaldehyde releasing ingredients (quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, etc.)
- Alcohol (ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, alcohol denat., etc.)
These are all considered irritants leading to breakouts, reactions, redness or irritated skin.
The honest truth
There are a lot of brands out there that appear to be gentle that include a good deal of irritating ingredients. It is important to remember that not everything that is natural is gentle and not everything that is synthetic is irritating.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different and unique. That truth applies to what you may be sensitive to or what reaction may occur (and you can absolutely be allergic to natural ingredients).
What to do?
You have several options when trying to identify what can be irritating your skin. The ingredients above are definitely a great place to begin when checking your products. You can also try:
- Consulting an Esthetician during a facial (TIP: bring your products so they can check the lists!)
- Talking with a holistic minded dermatologist
- Spending some time on EWG researching ingredients
- Purchasing from brands you know to be gentle