Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare

Looking to clean up your beauty routine?  Make the task even easier by avoiding these five ingredients!


Ditching parabens and phthalates has been talked about for years, but what about other commonly used ingredients?  Choosing natural skincare products is a great way to steer clear of potentially toxic formulas, but what exactly is on the naughty list?  Why is it important to avoid certain ingredients?

There are four main reasons to skip products containing particular ingredients.  Some are bad for the planet as they contribute to issues like deforestation, pollution, or coral bleaching.  There are also chemicals that can be bad for human health and that research suggests are damaging when lungs, skin, or eyes are exposed.  Ethical concerns like animal testing or cruelty are another explanation for why many ingredients are avoided.  Many also worry about the exploitation of vulnerable groups and at risk workers.

When it comes to knowing which ingredients to avoid, it is entirely up to individual choice.  Today's post rounds up some of the most common ones of concern, but there are always more to learn about!


Plastics: It's important to check that a formula is biodegradable, as ingredients containing micro-plastics pollute water supplies, damage wildlife, and can even end up in the air we breathe.  Look out for silicones but also names beginning with poly (like polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyurethane) or containing silox (such as trimethylsiloxysilicate and cyclopentasiloxane).

Palm Oil: Not only are forests being destroyed to plant huge amounts of palm to meet supplier's demands, but this crop is a leading cause of decreased biodiversity.  Monocultures, or areas where a single species is cultivated, are damaging to both animal life and the health of the soil, plus they upset the natural balance of life.  If palm oil is ever listed, check to see if it is RSPO certified or just move on to the next product.


Mica: While mica offers a lovely shimmer, it also has a dark side.  First, this sparkly mineral is at risk of cross-contamination with materials like asbestos which is a well known carcinogen.  It is also dangerous for the workers who breath in the fine particles while creating makeup and other beauty products.  Mica has also been revealed to be a huge source of child labour, with over 20,000 children being exploited in mines.


Harsh Alcohol: No skin type will benefit from harsh alcohols hiding in their products, so be sure to avoid this unwanted ingredient.  It can exaggerate acne and cause further breakouts, cause dry or flaky patches, and lead to sensitivity.  Keep a watchful eye out for astringent types like isopropyl, benzyl, and denat, and instead choose more fatty plant based alcohols if necessary.


Parfum: Irritating to both lungs and skin, parfum is definitely an ingredient you do not want in your products.  Synthetic fragrance often won't disclose what it contains, meaning between 100 and 350 unlisted ingredients are floating around in the formula.  Considered worse than secondhand smoke and on par with vehicle emissions, research shows this ingredient has negative environmental and health impacts including triggering asthma, migraines, and COPD and causing nausea and dizzy spells.


There are many more ingredients that may be cause for concern, but don't let it become overwhelming.  Finding a brand you can trust that uses natural and ethically sourced botanicals is a great way to take the pressure off.  That is why Terre Verdi makes it easy by promising to be vegan friendly and free from synthetics like parabens, fragrances, and colourings.