Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Dirty Dozen

**In the print issue, we listed Dr. Moreno’s number incorrectly. We apologize for the error. The correct number is 561/361-0602.

A local aesthetician and holistic wellness coach dishes on 12 skin-care ingredients that do more harm than good.

How many of us pay attention to the ingredients in the shampoos, lotions and potions that make our skin and hair feel clean and beautiful? Not enough, according to Boca-based expert Ileana Moreno.

As the founder of me2 beauty (2701 N.W. Second Ave., Suite 215; 561/361-0602, notes, it’s the ingredients that add to a product’s shelf life, fragrance and even appearance that can cause problems ranging from irritated skin to, as some consumer groups claim, cancer. We asked Moreno to share her list of ingredients to avoid in shampoos, sunscreens, moisturizers, lip balms and more.

Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea: These preservatives used to prevent bacterial growth cause contact dermatitis (rashes or irritated and inflamed skin). They’re also known to be formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, which could be toxic to the body. Johnson & Johnson announced last year it would cease adding formaldehyde releasers, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

“There are safer substitutes,” EWG adds, “such as sodium benzoate.”

Parabens: These commonly used preservatives (in particular, methylparaben) may cause low-level skin damage in the long-term, according to Moreno. The EWG claims that parabens used to prevent bacterial growth and mold in cosmetic products can disrupt reproductive hormones and cause cancer.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: This sur-factant (meaning it creates the foam/suds in products) has been phased out of many—but not all—skin-care products. The chemical can cause skin irritation and hair dryness and can increase absorption of certain chemicals, including preservatives and color additives.

Mineral Oil: Derived from petroleum, this stabilizing ingredient used in many skin formulas forms a film on the skin, blocking the pores and interfering with normal skin respiration—which can dry skin and contribute to blemishes.

Petroleum: It doesn’t penetrate the skin. And it’s not a moisturizer. But it does block natural respiration and absorption of other good ingredients.

Synthetic Colors: They make prod-ucts prettier but serve no purpose. Spot them on labels by looking for FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and number. Why should we care? Synthetic colors can cause allergic reactions.synthetIc or chemIcal fra-grances: These are known to cause allergic reaction and photosensitivity. Opt for fragrance-free products.

Alcohol: Avoid skin-care products that contain propyl alcohol or isopropyl. It’s a petroleum derivative and extremely drying to the skin.

Lanolin: This oily excretion from sheep’s wool remains in some skin-care products. It, too, can cause allergic reactions, and it’s not necessary for skin health.

Collagen: Don’t be duped into thinking collagen in a skin-care product will produce more collagen in your skin. Along with potentially causing a rash, collagen’s molecules are too large to penetrate the skin.

Oxybenzone: This common sunscreen ingredient is linked to irritation, allergies and possible hormone disruption. EWG rated oxybenzone as a high-hazard ingredient (an 8 out of 10, with 10 being the most toxic) and found it in nearly 1,500 products. Instead opt for physical sunblocks with ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Hydroquinone: Found in products that promise to lighten or bleach sun spots, hydroquinone is toxic to the liver and is banned in some countries. It also can damage the skin.

For more, pick up the January issue of Boca Raton magazine. 

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