one green planet
one green planet

Your skin is your largest organ and the way that a lot of good stuff can get into your system.  Things like vitamin D and other nutrients are absorbed right through your skin.  Unfortunately, this also means that bad things like toxins and chemicals can get into your system through your skin as well.

You might think that you don’t have to worry too much about this.  You use facial cleansers, moisturizers, masks and scrubs and take really good care of your skin. It’s as healthy as possible – but when was the last time that you looked at the ingredients on your face wash?  The same product that is meant to clean your skin could be introducing dangerous toxins to your body.  Even if you buy all organic products, they can still contain some harsh and irritating chemicals.

There is no need to panic and throw out all of your skin care products.  We’ve created a list of some of the top ingredients to avoid in your face wash and even provided some simple DIY natural alternatives.  Start checking the ingredients on your face wash and make sure that you’re cleaning your face instead of harming it.

1. Parabens

Parabens have become kind of a buzzword in the beauty community over the past few years, and not in a good way.  Parabens are a group of compounds that work as preservatives in beauty products like lipstick, washes, moisturizers, and shampoo.  They have been used for years and have been deemed safe by the FDA, but lately more and more issues are popping up.

Parabens have been shown to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, and that can lead to problems like hormonal imbalances, reproductive issues, and even breast cancer.  While research is still ongoing and not conclusive, it’s a good idea to avoid parabens as much as possible.

2. Phthalates

These chemicals are used in a lot of products including cosmetics and face wash.  They are used to make plastics more flexible and stronger as well as dissolving agents in cleaning products.  In face wash, they are most often what helps get rid of the dirt and excess oil.  While that sounds good, some of the effects are not so good.  While there is still ongoing research into the long-term effects of phthalates on humans, but they have been shown to cause respiratory problems. They are also being examined as possible carcinogens.

It’s tough to avoid these because they are in so many products like cleansers, plastic bottles and toys, and even medical devices.  Anytime you can, avoid products and face wash that uses phthalates.

3. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Part of the lure of a face wash is that squeaky clean feeling you get once you’re finished.  That feeling can be due to sodium lauryl sulfate. This chemical helps cleansers foam up and get all sudsy.  Not only is it in your face wash, it’s in most cleaners like soap, shampoo, and things like engine degreasers.

The problem with this chemical is that it totally strips your skin of its natural oils.  While you don’t want skin that’s overly oily, you do need some oil to keep a protective barrier on your skin and provide moisture.  When you take away all your skin’s natural oils, you cause it to overproduce more oil which leaves you with oilier skin than before.  That’s the opposite effect you want your face wash to have!

4. Fragrances

Companies don’t want their face wash to smell like all the chemicals that they put in there, so they add in fragrances.  While this makes your face smell amazing, it can end up irritating your skin.  Fragrances in face wash can lead to rashes, pustules, and even cause an acne breakout.

What You Can Do

The good news is that you can avoid all of these problem ingredients in your face wash by making your own or making sure that you choose products that have no damaging or irritating ingredients.  Making your own face wash isn’t as difficult or expensive as you might think.  In fact, it could end up saving you money in the long run.

A few of the key ingredients that you’re going to want to get or look for in a face wash are simple.

  • Coconut Oil.  Don’t worry this isn’t going to make your skin too oily.  It’s going to balance the natural oils in your skin and leave it feeling fresh and hydrated
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. This is a great acne treating ingredient that is all natural and won’t irritate your skin like some other acne treatments. Check out this post to learn more.
  • Baking Soda. This is another good cleanser and great for getting rid of blackheads and minimizing your pores. Check out this simple recipe to make an awesome acne-busting cleanser.
  • Essential Oils. Tea tree oil is a great antibacterial ingredient that can help treat a lot of adverse skin conditions.  Plus, essential oils are a great way to add fragrance to your face wash without being too harsh on your skin.

Image Source: Ilya Yakubovich/Flickr