We know it’s important to feed our body healthy and nutritious food, exercise daily, drink enough water, and get enough sleep. Okay, okay... even if we don’t always do it, we know we should! With all the time we spend thinking about what we are putting in our bodies, have you ever considered what you’re putting on it and how it affects you?

You’ve probably heard this before, but your skin is the largest organ in your body. It performs some of your body’s most vital functions, like protecting all of your vital organs, your bones, your ligaments, and your nerves. It keeps your body together… literally. So every thing you put on it has an effect.

Why Does it *Really* Matter Though?

 

So we know that our skin is the largest organ, but honestly, what’s that got to do with skincare? If you take care of your skin (aka you wash your face and use SPF), you probably think you’re in the clear. But alas, consider this: 60% of what you put on your skin gets absorbed, meaning the products we put on our skin affect our bodies either positively or worse - negatively. And to make matters even worse, many ingredients found in the average skincare products have been linked to really scary health problems, like allergies, eczema, cancer, hormonal disruption, and reproductive problems. Um, yikes. 

But don’t worry, we’ve got you. If you’re wondering how you balance using products that actually work and not hurting your body with chemicals? At Wander, we believe in only using ingredients that love your skin, not harm it. We know it can get overwhelming to find safe products, so to help you, we’re breaking down the five ingredients that you should absolutely avoid. This will at least give you a starting place!

What Ingredients Should I Avoid?

 

Parabens - (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl)

 

Parabens are a type of preservative, first introduced in the 50s. They were created to help maintain the shelf life in beauty products (aka make them last longer) by preventing the growth of mold and bacteria. Unfortunately, the word “paraben” is not in the ingredients. These sneaky chemicals hide under names like butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben.

Why you should avoid it

 

Parabens are considered a prime hormone disruptor, because they mimic estrogen. And too much estrogen can trigger the increase in breast cell division and tumors, which is why use of parabens has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.

Phthalates (Dibutyl, Diethylhexyl)

 

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to increase flexibility and strength of plastics, and are often called and not often listed among the ingredients on products. These chemicals are hiding under names such as dibutyl and diethylhexyl, and are still found in some nail polishes. Be careful, because these are often listed under “fragrance,” and can be tricky to spot.

Why you should avoid it

 

Phthalates have shown reproductive birth defects in laboratory animals. They’re also known hormone disruptors and can affect fertility. 

Synthetic Fragrance

 

This may go without saying, but anything that is synthetic or artificial should always raise concern. This is a broad name for potentially thousands of different ingredients that aren’t listed on the label. That’s especially scary because you don’t know what you’re putting on your body! 

Why you should avoid it

 

These toxins are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders and allergies.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS)

 

Woah, what a mouthful. These scary names are commonly used in skincare products, like body wash, cleansers, and hand washes. This is what gives products that “squeaky clean” sudsy feeling that we all associate with effective washes. They help the washes “foam up.” SLS is the more common found among skincare.

Why you should avoid it

 

SLS is known to be a skin irritant. Essentially, it strips the skin of natural oils that you need for your skin to be healthy. It’s also been linked to itchy, dry skin and scalp, eczema, and dermatitis. 

Siloxanes

 

The best way to spot these ingredients is to look for words ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." This is often used in shampoos and hair products to help control frizz and soften hair. It’s also found in moisturizers and foundation to moisten and provide smoothness. Though it seems like this could be useful ingredient, there are many negative side effects to siloxanes.

      Why you should avoid it

 

           Like many of the other harmful ingredients mentioned, siloxanes are a known hormone disruptor and have been linked to fertility issues. Not only that, but certain types can influence neurotransmitters in the nervous system.