Skincare products claim to transform skin, but why aren’t some working for you? Fether Beauty has done all the hard work for you so you can decode those confusing ingredients lists. The following five ingredients have been ranked from least to most harmful to help you make the best decisions for your skincare.
Parabens are a type of plant-derived preservative that are added to cosmetics to increase their shelf life by preventing the growth of bacteria and microorganisms. They are found in 85% of personal care products in the skincare industry due to their gentle and non-sensitising effects. Parabens can be tracked down on skincare ingredient lists by the names of butylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, and ethylparaben. Despite the use of parabens appearing harmless, research within the last 10 years has found that the use of parabens can penetrate the skin and mimic a very weak level of estrogen. Different research studies have debated these effects claiming that the use of parabens in skincare can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. Although the research is unclear at this stage we think any skincare ingredients that have any relation to cancer are a straight no in Fether Beauty’s books.
2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a ‘surfactant’ meaning that it acts as a cleansing agent by foaming and creating a lather and is most often used in skincare cleansers or washes. This ingredient helps skincare products clear away debris, dirt and oil from the top layer of the skin and gives a mattifying effect. On the ingredient lists look for ‘sodium lauryl sulfate’ (SLS) or ‘Sodium Laureth Sulfate’ (SLES). Although this is a widely popular skincare ingredient that is not bad for most skin types, it can be an irritant where high concentrations can lead to higher sensitisation of the skin. When SLS is used in skincare it can increase dryness and break down the skin’s moisture barrier; both of which can lead to premature ageing. It can also be more harmful in sensitive skin types where dryness and overuse can lead to increased risk of allergies, dermatitis and eczema. Controversial research has also found that SLS has negative effects on the environment as its chemical compound is hard to break down and often ends up as a pollutant in seas. SLS as a skincare ingredient is not going to be detrimental to your skin but it is not up to Fether Beauty’s skincare standards and not used in our products.
3. Synthetic Colours & Fragrance/Parfum
Synthetic colours and fragrance or parfum are added to skincare products to enhance the product experience for consumers and influence their buying decisions. Although this may increase appeal, these synthetic additives in your skincare products have bad effects on your skin. Synthetic colour additives often contain toxins from petroleum or tar that increase your risk of sensitivity and irritation towards products and can blog pores leading to increased oiliness and acne breakouts. To make a single colour within a skincare product, up to 25 synthetic additives can be used just to make one single colour, increasing this risk. To identify synthetic colours, look for ingredients such as ‘colourant’ or FD&C Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue FCF) (E133), or FD&C Blue No. 2 (Indigo tine) (E131). Synthetic fragrance or parfum is a skincare ingredient that is used as an umbrella term for a plethora of additives that could include up to 3000 different types of fragrance ingredients. Research has shown that synthetic fragrance in skincare products is the most common cause of sensitisation and negative skin reactions. You might not see these reactions straight away but the ongoing use of fragrance in skincare products can cause both short-term and long-term damage. As there is no way to tell the concentration of the fragrant ingredients from the ingredients list and many of these also contain harmful phthalates, Fether Beauty does not allow our products to be formulated with synthetic colours or fragrance. We prefer to formulate skin care with naturally-derived ingredients and essential oils.
Despite some fatty alcohols being amazing for the skin such as cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol, some types of alcohol should not have a place in the top six ingredients of any of your skincare products. Common types of bad alcohols that you might find in skincare include SD, denatured, polyvinyl, ethanol and isopropyl alcohol. These types of alcohol are used in skincare as they have a quick-drying, mattifying and weightless effect which are appealing for oily skin types. These types of ingredients should not be used by our Fetherettes as they can disrupt the skin’s microbiome and deplete your skin’s ability to rejuvenate. They are also overly stripping and sensitising and can cause inflammation for almost all skin types. Absolutely no Fether Beauty products contain a single drop of these ingredients to protect your skin from damage.
Phthalates are used as a plasticiser to thicken skincare products and increase their shelf-life. Phthalates can be found in skincare ingredients lists under the term ‘fragrance/parfum’ or under terms such as ‘dibutyl phthalate’ or ‘diethyl phthalate’. However, phthalates win as the most harmful skincare ingredient on this list as they are known to cause damage to health in children and women, particularly to the reproductive system and fertility. Similarly to parabens, phthalates mimic the estrogen hormone posing a risk of interference with metabolism and normal hormone function. The ingredient has been banned from its use in skincare products in the European Union however is still prevalent in many U.S. products. Skincare with phthalates are neither manufactured in Australia or imported but are still around as they are brought in as finished products. In fact, due to the harmful effects of phthalates in skincare, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) has assessed the health risk of phthalates and recommended a ban of its use in Australia. For these reasons, Fether Beauty has no phthalates in any of our skincare products.
By incorporating this knowledge into your skincare routine, you are much closer to achieving brighter, softer and ageless skin!