These are The Ingredients You Should Be Avoiding in Your Skincare

When it comes to skincare, we all know that the beauty industry loves to use a lot of fancy jargon – hello, ‘miracles in a jar’ or claims that a product will make us ‘look 10 years younger in a week’, by now most of us are pretty clued up about these type of claims. In fact, we’re pretty sure that looking 10 years younger in a week is likely to be a bit of a stretch. (I know, right) 

What happens to be confusing the everyday consumer these days are the more basic labels and ingredients that we see everywhere on products. With so many products on the market and so many new ingredients, it can be hard to know what to avoid.

We recently sat down with Biologi’s Dermal Specialist Lucy Macdougald to get the harsh truth on the ingredients you should be avoiding in your skincare products.


The only benefit of using a product that contains fragrance is that it will smell nice. Many fragrances – even the natural ones – are known skin irritants that can cause and worsen sensitivity. Fragrance is one of the biggest irritants to the skin often causing allergic reactions, sensitivity and leading to more serious skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Artificial fragrance can also cause photo sensitivity which can lead to hyper pigmentation.

So why is fragrance added to a product? To make it smell nice, that’s it. There’s no magic in the fragrance and certainly no benefit to the skin whatsoever. That coconut smell we all love so much does nothing for the skin apart from increase the toxic load…Always best to avoid if you can. 


Essential oils should be on the top of your list of ingredients to avoid if you have sensitive skin. For anyone with skin issues, particularly with sensitive skin, it is best to avoid essential oils completely. Most essential oils contain known sensitisers that over time when applied to the skin either directly or formulated in a product will cause sensitisation and skin dermal problems, such as reddening, itchiness and pigmentation (to name a few). Peppermint and lavender oils are two essential oils that are used widely in skin care products claiming to be for sensitive skins. These oils contain linalool, limonene & geraniol at over 50% of the oil and should be never used in any skin care product. There are many other essential oils that contain over 90% sensitisers. In this case, natural is not always better and can be worse or far more toxic than other ingredients.


Occlusives are a type of ingredient that forms a ‘second skin’ on top of your own, with the idea that it will lock in hydration. You’ll hear mention of these types of ingredients in the form of Lanolin, Beeswax, Mineral Oil, Vegetable Wax, with many skincare products containing these types of ingredients. However, the risks is that while they are said to lock in hydration, they can also lock in bacteria and foreign objects that can increase pain and discomfort in the skin. Occlusive ingredients are mainly targeted to work for dry skin that lacks sebum, but they offer no benefits for oily skin (and unfortunately there’s risks for all skin types). Use natural serums instead and never apply petroleum or thickening products directly to your face.


Ok so I’m going to be in the firing line for saying this however hear me out. My concern for using retinol products is that retinol can cause a brief sensation of warmth or stinging immediately after applying, peeling, excessive dry skin, burning, redness, tingling, swelling, irritation, discoloured skin, itching, scaling, worsening of acne and photosensitivity. It doesn’t make sense that brands would develop products around an active that has so many detrimental properties! For a long time, brands have launched products containing Retinol as their hero ingredient, used as an anti-aging compound. The marketing hype states that retinol helps fight acne, reduce wrinkles, stimulate collagen, and promotes cellular turnover. They’re also known for evening out skin tone and increasing blood flow to the skin. Which all sounds great in theory, but there are obvious risks involved when the skin is exposed to retinol and it’s important to be aware of it. 


Many brands use silicones to create an ultra-smooth look for the skin. However what they fail to mention is that the addition of this ingredient is like wrapping your skin in cling wrap plastic. Silicones basically suffocate the skin and can cause irritation, acne and much more. On top of this, most mainstream brands are also filled with petrol chemical glycols. Stay away from any skincare products that have ingredients ending in ‘cone’ like Dimethicone, Methicone, Cyclomethicone etc. Brands use them because they’re cheap, easy to formulate and have long shelf lives, but they have absolutely no benefit to the skin and can lead to skin concerns.


Unfortunately, there are a whole host of common ingredients found in skincare products that can strip the skin’s natural oils leading to dryness and irritation such as parabenssulphates and emulsifiers. Whilst most brands are doing their bit to avoid these ingredients, they still appear in many skincare products. Please bear in mind that all the skin needs are plant nutrients. Synthetic ingredients like parabens, sulphates and emulsifiers are used to improve the way a product feels, smells and applies, NOT the way it works, which means they aren’t essential. Overall, it’s important to remember that using fewer artificial ingredients will reduce the toxic build-up in skin (which is often the culprit for skin irritation). Instead try to look for products with the highest concentration of natural actives and the least number of synthetic ingredients.


Try to look for products that contain a high percentage of active, natural ingredients and try to avoid products laden with synthetic or chemical ingredients. If you find your skin is becoming irritated, try switching up your products or stop using them altogether. Ultimately try to avoid common skincare mistakes like layering your products, so look for products that will do a few things at once – hydrate, radiate, reduce blemishes, target fine lines and protect the skin. Biologi’s Bd Luminosity Face Serum was created with this purpose in mind – It’s a storehouse of antioxidants that leaves skin looking refreshed, radiant and luminous. What’s more, it’s an excellent source of tartaric acid which works to dissolve the natural ‘glue’ that binds cells together (so can help with natural exfoliation too). Not only does it detoxify the skin, it moisturises, helps blemishes, reduces fine lines, nourishes and protects the cells. Biologi serums are able to work towards reversing damage by actually penetrating the skin cells, allowing it to detoxify and then giving it the natural, yet active ingredient that it needs. Biologi is unique because it offers a world first in skincare – 100% active plant serums that change the skin on a cellular level.

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