The greatest interest in skin care these days is in the sphere of anti-ageing products. Both women and men are attempting to remain youthful looking. Many are prepared to pay any amount for skin care products with wild claims as the advertising industry probes deeper into our insecurities.
If you read the ingredients labels of most readily available products, you will find many contain the same substances. They will all contain preservatives and parben preservatives are widely used, even though they are known to be toxic.
I have some tips to help debunk some of the myths surrounding anti-aging skin care products.
DO … cleanse morning and night with a mild, natural ingredient based cleanser. Once in the morning, but use 2 applications at night if you wear makeup.
DON’T … use foaming cleansers that contain cocoamidopropyl betaine, some times seen with “(from coconut)” the oils are synthesised with ammonia and a toxic herbicide! May cause eye and skin irritation. Avoid sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate. These ingredients are chemical, they dehydrate the skin and inflame and separate the skin layers.
DO… exfoliate twice weekly for normal to oily skin, once weekly for delicate skin. A rough face cloth does a good job in between.
DON’T… use products containing almond or other nutshell. They have sharp edges that may tear the tissue.
DO… use a clay based mask: weekly or twice weekly for oily or troubled skin; every 10 days for normal skin, fortnightly for sensitive or delicate skin. Clay will gently draw toxins from the deeper layers of the skin. Masks brighten, lighten and smooth the skins texture.
DON’T … forget to moisturise after clay masks as they can be dehydrating. Use filtered water when mixing the paste.
DO… moisturise twice daily.
DON’T… use a moisturiser containing mineral oil (sorbolene!) it coats the skin like plastic wrap preventing elimination of toxins and from breathing. Or Glycerine, which is a cheap humectant that will draw moisture from the atmosphere to the skin in humidity above 65% but draws the skin’s natural moisture from the deeper layers in humidity below that, causing dehydration. The more of these type of moisturiser you use… the more you seem to need!
Lip balms containing paraffin (derived from mineral oil) is a good example of a product that needs constant reapplications, never improving the skin on the lips.
DO … use night serums and cream. Even if you have ‘oily’ skin, special treatments will add moisture, as oily skin can be dehydrated.
DON’T … confuse ‘oil’ and ‘moisture’ in the skin.
DO … avoid ingredients such as:
PEG (sometimes with numbers added);
(polyethylene glycol) alter the natural moisture content of the skin and leave it vulnerable to bacteria. Although common in lotions and moisturisers. PEGs have been connected with liver and kidney damage in scientific studies. During the manufacture process the contaminant 1-4,dioxane, a carcinogen.
Oxybenzone; (as in sunscreen products);
Achemical found in sunscreens & moisturizers containing sunscreen – this chemical claims the most common causes of photo contact allergy.
It is rapidly oxidized in the presence of light and inactivates important antioxidant systems in the skin (the skin’s natural protection system) Oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor blamed for the increased prospect that male babies will be feminized and low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy. Immediate and delayed hypersensitivity, it has been detected in human urine and milk. Potentially damages DNA under UV light. It is a skin sensitizer and a penetration enhancer. Used in many sunscreens!
Petro-chemical, potentially cause contact dermatitis. In animal studies to has been shown to produce mild skin and eye irritation, as well as endocrine system alterations. There are also reproductive, brain and nervous system effects.
Retinal Palmitate; (in most anti-ageing products);
Vitamin A derivative, shown to improve tiny wrinkles. it decomposes under UVA into chemicals shown to cause mutations in mouse lymphoma cells. Is photo toxic- will cause skin ageing, educed DNA damage. Restricted in Canada.
Causes mild irritation and contact dermatitis in some users.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA);
The natural ones are glycolic acids from sugar cane, Lactic acid from soured milk (Cleopatra reputably bathed in it) and malic acid from grapes and apples. It has been suggested that AHAs may cause the skin to age more rapidly and elevate the risk of skin cancer, due to their ability to remove the outer layer of skin which can elevate sensitivity to sunlight, thereby increasing photo-ageing. In one study the AHA glycolic acid elevated the sensitivity of human skin to sunburn by as much as 50 per cent in some individuals
‘NICNAS: Priority Existing Chemical Assessment Report,’ Australian Government, Department of Health and Aging, National Indus Research carried out on guinea pigs found that the AHA glycolic acid caused skin damage, with higher doses altering the structure of the skin and destroying some parts of the epidermal layer, as well as increasing UVB-induced skin damage, to a far greater degree than either glycolic acid or UVB in isolation.
Park, K.S. et al, Effect of Glycolic Acid on UVB-Induced Skin Damage and Inflammation in Guinea Pigs, Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, July-August, 2002: 15 (4): 236-245.
Trial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), Marrickville, NSW, 2000 (12): 128;
Commercial glycolic acid is a by-product in the manufacturing of ethylene glycol, through the reaction of formaldehyde (a carcinogen) and carbon monoxide (a poison)!
DON’T … be misguided by confusing ingredients that have nothing to recommend them to give the results you seek and may even make your skin worse….
DO … Choose products Certified Organic to food standards. Ensure the best results for your skin to lessen the signs of ageing using skin care preparations to nourish and protect your skin.