What we Put on our skin matters!

When you are  purchasing a new moisturiser or foundation, have you stopped to consider, that whatever is in that new favourite product, will be absorbed into the bloodstream? Why do you ask, because these ingredients have the potential to enhance what we are trying to achieve on the outside and our skins own inner health . The flip side to this is it can put some serious demands on an already overloaded biochemical pathways for detoxification.

You are often not likely to pick up a skin care product and look at its ingredients, because you would assume that finding it on the shelf at the supermarket, pharmacy or department store it must be safe to use, right? As society become more aware of how to look after our bodies, we as a society are becoming far more aware of the detrimental effects some ingredients. These ingredients have made their way not just into skin care but our cleaning products and food too. The research that continually grows in this area, is around seeking the knowledge to support better human health. Becoming more aware of some of the longer-term consequences of our exposure to some of these ingredients.

It is without a doubt that you are exposed to far more pollutants than ever before from what you eat, drink, breath and put on our skin. You have only a small amount of control around how many pollutants you are exposed to and what you put on our skin is a way you can do this.

 A brief explanation on how to read a label

Begin by looking at all the ingredients as they are written first to last (feel free to write them down)

Now you want to try determine what class the various ingredients fall into. Eg: Active Ingredients, Preservatives, Fragrances etc. I Suggest working form the bottom up. As you will usually find the bottom lines will  be colours, fragrance and preservatives (these ingredients can take up as many as three lines.)

Next, You need to try figure out the active ingredients.

Now look what you have left: go to the top of the label and begin with the first, which is often water. What comes next is going to be the highest quantity ingredient and so on

The balance of the formulation is what actives are dispersed through and by working your way through the balance of the ingredients you will be able to determine the overall quality, purpose, price window and how well formulated the product is.

How do you know a good formulation?

Where the active ingredients are positioned should give you an indication of the percentage in the formula, however some actives can often only be used in small quantities to retain their positive effect. A good formulation should mimic skin structure and function, mimic the skin barrier defence systems, maintain barrier defence systems, be occlusive, possess antioxidant properties, be vitamin replacing, support enzyme activity, slow down trans epidermal water loss, be saturating, possess restorative properties, be repairing and have a balanced PH.

This is a great example of a great formulation, vitamin E in this product is our preservative, the rest are all active ingredients, with a purpose and nothing nasty!

Of course, I highly recommend the ranges of skincare we stock at Puravida, but I want to be able to share with you some of the ingredients you want to look out for.

The 10 Biggest things to avoid


These are commonly used as a preservative in a lot of cosmetic products. Believe it or not, often used in perfumes, and not labelled as an ingredient. These parabens can penetrate the skin and have been proven to react with UVB when applied to the skin. This reaction between Parabens and UVB leads to DNA damage and speeds up your skin ageing!!!!

Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate

This is often found in Shampoos, shower gels and facial cleansers and is the ingredient that makes your product bubble and foam up. This ingredient is often found, depending on how it was manufactured, with contamination of two substances. The first is 1,4-Dioxane which is “reasonably considered to be a human carcinogen”. Carcinogen  means a substance is capable of causing cancer in living tissue. To top this off it doesn’t break down easily and remains in the environment for a very long time. The other, and in my opinion, scarier link is to Ethylene oxide, this is a known human carcinogen!!!! It can be harmful to the nervous system and is linked to possibly interfere with human development.

Diethanolamine or DEA compounds

These are mainly found is moisturisers, sunscreen, soaps, shampoos and cleansers, and are used to make the product “creamy”. These ingredients are hazardous to the environment, because they have a toxicity to aquatic organisms. They have been shown to cause precancerous changes in the skin and thyroid. Also shown to cause liver cancers with high dose exposure.


This ingredient can be commonly found in topical treatments for warts and corns, dermatitis, acne, eczema and Psoriasis. It is used as an antiseptic or disinfectant and has been linked with thyroid dysfunction.


This can be found in a lot of cosmetic products and can be legally hidden because it is regarded as a trade secret. It will be listed as fragrance or perfume, but the scary thing is a fragrance can hide up to 100 chemicals. Some of the fragrance ingredients are known neurotoxins, and many can irritate the skin.

Mineral Oil

These are typically found in moisturisers. This is a petroleum ingredient and coats the skin much like a plastic wrap. Mineral Oil inhibits the skins ability to absorb natural moisture and nutrition and has been linked with promoting acne and premature ageing.


This ingredient is used as an alternative preservative to parabens. It is found in many products but more commonly found in cleansers and moisturisers. It has been linked with reproductive and developmental toxicity.


Look for any ingredient ending is this and you are in trouble. Most commonly found in facial products, deodorants and hair treatments. These are known toxins that have the ability to bioaccumulate. They have been linked to endocrine disruptors, nervous system issues and immune system compromise.


This is often found in soaps, anti-antiperspirants, acne products and lipsticks, it is also registered as a pesticide. You should look for chloro or Dichloro phenoxy (there are lots and lots of ways this can be written). This ingredient is an endocrine disruptor, believed to contribute to liver toxicity and has been shown to have a negative impact on thyroid function.

CMIT- methylchloroisothiazolinone

This may be hard to pronounce but they can be even harder on the body. These preservatives have been linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions and possible neurotoxicity. They are commonly found in makeup remover, sunscreen, mascara, hairspray, shampoo and conditioner and body wash. They could be labelled as many things but common ones to look out for on the label are Methylisothiazolinone (MIT):2-methyl-4-isothiazoline-3-one, neolone 950 Preservative, Oristar MIT and Microcare MT. Methylchoroisothiazolinone (CMIT):5-cholro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-oneand MCI.

I hope I have helped shed some light onto How to read a label, what makes a good formulation, what ingredients to avoid and help you do your best on your skin Journey!