Paraben-free, Sulfate-free, fragrance-free, etc… We see these labels on most of our skincare products, but what do they mean exactly and how do they impact our skin?

Parabens = Preservatives

Parabens help stop the growth of bacteria, fungus and other potentially harmful microbes; it is used widely as preservatives in lotions, deodorants, shampoos, shaving cream, and many other skin-care products. The most common Parabens that you will find on product labels are butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben, so be sure to look out for these the next time you go shopping!

The big debate over Paraben is that has been linked (although not conclusively) to breast cancer. It is said that it gets absorbed into the body and is known to interfere with and mimic estrogen; disturbing the hormonal balance in the body. It’s also known as a leading cause of skin irritation, dermatitis, and premature skin ageing (premature ageing? A definite no-no!)

Plant-Based Preservatives – a good alternative to Parabens:

It is better to be mindful in choosing our skin care essentials and choose Paraben-free products to give our skin the glow it needs, but without the negative long-term side effects of chemical preservatives. Paraben-free products usually contain either ethylhexylglycerin (plant-derived preservative) or phenoxyethanol (naturally derived ether alcohol). Here are two products that are paraben free without compromising on the beauty benefits:

Ceramiracle First Light The Reboot Mask is a nutrient-rich, anti-aging clay mask that gently revitalizes, purifies and exfoliates your skin to give it a brightening boost. It combines a mixture of rare black volcanic sand and traditional Korean botanical extract (Korean rice water, anti-aging ginseng and mugwort) to restore the balance of your delicate skin.  Ceramiracle products are cruelty-free and vegetarian-friendly; and do not contain any harsh chemicals, parabens, SLS/SLES, sulfates, mineral oils, synthetic or artificial dyes or phthalates. (Ps: we tried it and we loved it).

Ceramiracle First Light The Reboot Mask

Auolive Day Glower is a lightweight, non-greasy antioxidant day moisturiser which protects the skin from premature ageing and UV rays damage. Enriched with a luxurious blend of natural active ingredients like Ginkgo Bilbao Leaf Extract and Squalene, the skin receives the moisture and nourishment it needs to stay soft, supple and healthy.  Auolive products are dermatologically and clinically tested, non-allergenic, paraben, alcohol and color free (The founder’s absolutely passionate about her products and so you can trust that loads of thoughts have gone into the formulation!) 

Auolive Day Glower

SLS, SLES, all the buzz and what are they exactly?

Sulfates are substances that are found widely in products like facial wash, shampoo, and toothpastebut also in laundry detergents too! It’s typically used to add “foam” and remove oil from hair and skin, acting like a “degreaser”; which generally works well to “cleanse”.  However, it also means that in the process of “cleansing”, natural oils and the protective layers of the skin gets stripped off, which can cause irritation to the skin.

Sulfate and two of its main ingredients Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Ether Sulfate (SLES) are linked to a multitude of skin and hair problems since they have to corrode (damage or destroy!) in order to be useful. Because of this, sulfates may possibly leave you with problems like dry, irritated skin, rough and brittle hair, redness and dryness in the scalp, and for some, acne and eczema!

Recommended sulfate-free products:

For those with sensitive skin, it may be a good idea to look for sulfate-free cleansers and shampoos. Sulfate-free products are made out of natural oils that seek to replace the SLS and SLES content in soaps. They also help to remove bacteria and prevent the dirt build-up.

For instance, Sukin Botanical Body Wash from Australia is enriched with aromatic botanical oils that gently cleanse, soften and purify your skin. Free from sulfate and paraben, this hydrating body wash is filled with jojoba, avocado, and rosehip—aromatherapeutic oils that rejuvenate your tired body minus the known irritations you would otherwise get with sulfate-filled products.

Sukin Botanical Body Wash 

Another big fave worth trying is the Original Sprout Natural Shampoo which is infused with calendula, rosemary and aloe. This nourishing shampoo promises to detangle hair effortlessly without corroding or destroying hair roots, leaving you with hydrated hair after every wash! Unlike shampoos with sulfate chemicals that can strip away your hair moisture, it contains organic emollients that nourish and protect your scalp from redness and dryness.

Original Sprout Natural Shampoo

What is FRAGRANCE & how harmful is that?

Hold up. Fragrance? As in… smell? What could possibly be wrong with that! As it turns out, A LOT. Fragrance is known to contain many allergens and irritants.  Ever noticed how you sometimes sneeze non-stop when greeted with a scent that your body “rejects”? Now, imagine that happening on your skin; which typically translates as flare-ups and inflammation… and that usually happens when products that are being used contains substances that are not “skin identical”. 

If you have a skin type that’s sensitive, or you have skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis, it is extremely beneficial to eliminate allergens and irritants from your daily regime.

Recommended fragrance-free products:

A trusted brand by many with sensitive skin, Ego QV Cream replenishes the skin by pounding on squalene, a natural component in our skin’s natural oil. This is especially helpful to the driest areas of our bodies, like elbows, knees, and hands. 

Ego QV Cream

Free from fragrance, color, and other skin allergens, Ego QV products are suitable for skin conditions such as dry scaly skin, itchiness, dermatitis and can be used to relief symptoms of atopic eczema and psoriasis.  Suitable for infants as well as the elderly.

A favourite amongst parents, Ceradan Soap-Free Moisturizing Wash, contains ceramides—which are natural lipids that bind skin cells together and comprise a major component of the skin’s surface structure.  

Ceradan Soap-Free Moisturizing Wash

People suffering from skin conditions which make the skin dry, sensitive and inflamed are often low in ceramides. Irritated skin usually has a compromised protective barrier, which leaves it vulnerable to being affected by various environmental irritants. Ceradan products are laboratory tested and verified to be hypoallergenic. They contain no fragrance, colors, parabens, steroids. They are safe for use at all ages, from newborns to the very elderly and are suitable for both facial and bodily use.

Now that you know your ABCs of the labels on your skincare products, make sure to include these recommended products in your cart and keep a lookout for the harsh chemicals listed above. This will help to get you and your family healthy and naturally gorgeous skin.  

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