“The unfortunate truth is that most people’s bathroom cabinet is full of ingredients that are toxic and harmful to the skin, yet people are applying these without really knowing what’s in it,” says Biologi founder and cosmetic chemist, Ross Macdougald.
We asked Ross to reveal six shocking truths about Australian skincare products we should be aware of
1. Toxin build-up
“Many people don’t realise that our skin cells can actually retain toxins, and if you’re applying several different synthetic ingredients on your skin you can experience toxin build up over time. This can cause skin sensitisation which may manifest in the form of inflammation, dermatitis, eczema, or even acne.”
2. Questionable ingredients
“Did you know that a popular type of Micellar water sold by multi-national brands use petrol-chemical derived glycols which were initially created for industrial purposes? These glycols have found their way into cosmetics such as makeup remover. To understand this better, car coolant is produced from glycols and that is not something most people would want to put on their face.”
3. The truth about fragrance
“Products containing fragrance or parfum typically contain some chemicals. As the skincare and cosmetic industry is largely unregulated, brands do not need to disclose the ingredients used to make a fragrance. Therefore, unless stated otherwise, it’s usually a mixture of chemical components that can have harmful effects to the skin over time,” says Ross. “A 2016 study found that fragranced products are making us sick, with one in three Australians reporting adverse health effects from fragranced products, including breathing problems, migraine headaches, skin irritation and asthma attacks.”
4. Unhealthy vitamin C
“Many brands claim that their product contains ‘natural’ vitamin C, however this is actually ascorbic acid, which, in some processes, is made using acetone (found in nail polish remover), which people then put on their faces!”
5. Sneaky silicones
“Brands often fail to mention that added silicones in products means you’re basically wrapping your skin in cling wrap plastic. Silicones suffocate the skin and can cause a series of irritations, such as acne.”
6. 'Free from...' labels
“The term ‘free from’ is used often on product packaging to market the product as not containing harmful ingredients. However, what this actually does is shift people’s focus away from what it does contain,” says Ross. “You may have seen labels stating ‘free from parabens, sulphates, etc., but chances are the product still contains toxins. Brands often don’t include a full listing of their ingredients and will leave out things such as synthetic emulsifiers and preservatives. Although there are mandatory standards in Australia for ingredient labelling, some ingredients can be called something else, or under a ‘banner’ term.”
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Natural skincare is the way to go. Don't believe us? Watch the video below.