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Here’s Why You Should Ditch Your Chemical-Based Skincare Products

October 2, 2016

Are you aware of what goes into your moisturisers, facial cleansers and body scrubs? Do you scrutinise the labels of beauty products before making the purchase? Because here’s the thing: Among the plethora of skincare offerings on the shelves, many of the products are actually packed with potentially toxic chemicals that are more harmful than beneficial in the long term. Reason being, those chemicals can be absorbed by your skin. For instance, when you apply a moisturiser that contains parabens (a common toxic ingredient found in cosmetics) in the morning, the parabens will penetrate your skin throughout the day. Over time, the accumulation of parabens in your body may have adverse effects on your health.

In other words, what you apply on your skin – the largest organ of the body – really matters.

The next time you browse beauty products, be sure they are free of harmful chemicals, listed at the end of this article.

Furthermore, at least two of the chemicals on the list are proven to be detrimental to the health of our planet – polyethylene and polypropylene, two different forms of plastic that are found in microbeads. These beads are virtually indestructible and enormous amounts of them have made their way into the oceans, polluting the waters and even making their way up the food chain! The good news is, there are plenty of all-natural exfoliants we can use in place of products with microbeads (more on this, below).

Apart from being a conscientious consumer when shopping for beauty products, you can consider other alternatives that are more affordable and readily available in grocery stores. In fact, you may already have some of the ingredients in your kitchen! Read on.

Note: As with trying any new skincare product, some of these ingredients may trigger an allergic reaction. It is recommended that you perform at patch test as a precautionary measure. Try these at your own risk.

  1. Sugar

Sugar contains glycolic acid, which helps boost cell production and sloughs off dead skin cells. Mix sugar with your preferred oil (olive, jojoba, grapeseed, etc.) to form a paste with which you can use to exfoliate your face and body.

  1. Oatmeal

oatmealNot only is oatmeal a gentle exfoliant, which makes it ideal for sensitive skin, it contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is highly moisturising to boot. To create an oatmeal scrub, add a bit of warm water to a tablespoon of oatmeal to soften the oats, then apply it on your face in gentle circular motions to exfoliate your skin.

  1. Lemon

Lemon-Whole-SplitWhen life gives you lemons, use them to lighten age spots! The citric acid in lemons is a natural bleaching agent, so all you have to do is dab the juice on your age spots twice a day and rinse it off 30 minutes later. Avoid sunlight while the juice is on your skin.

  1. Papaya

This fruit contains papain, a potent enzyme that unclogs pores and removes dead skin cells. Simply rub a slice of raw papaya gently on your face for 10 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water.

  1. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has been steadily gaining popularity inside and outside of the kitchen, what with its battery of skin- and health-nourishing benefits. Some people swear by this wonder ingredient as a deep conditioning mask for hair, but did you know you can also use it to remove makeup? Rub a teaspoon of coconut oil between your palms to warm it up, then, in circular motions, gently massage the oil onto your skin for one minute before rinsing it off with warm water.

  1. Banana

Bananas are rich in a variety of skin-loving nutrients, including vitamins A, C and E, magnesium, and potassium. Make your own moisturising mask by mashing up a ripe banana. Leave the paste on your face for 10 minutes, then rinse it off with cold water.

  1. Honey

Thanks to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties, honey is an all-rounder for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. Whether you mix honey with other natural ingredients or use it on its own, you can be assured that this hardworking ingredient will only provide sweet benefits to your skin.

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt is packed with skin-benefiting nutrients such as zinc (helps reduce acne-caused swellings as well as appearance of pores), lactic acid (exfoliates the skin and reduces acne breakout), and vitamin B (rejuvenates and hydrates the skin). Apply two tablespoons of plain, unsweetened yogurt on your face and leave it to set for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

List of harmful chemicals^:

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Carbon black
Coal tar
Diethanolamine (DEA)
Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and mercury
Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone
PABA (Para-aminobenzoic acid) and PABA derivatives
Titanium dioxide
Triethanolamine (TEA)