(Katie Treadway / unsplash)Can’t make sense of that laundry list of ingredients on your personal care products? While some things will enhance your skin and hair, others can leave them worse off than before you applied any products at all. We’ve got you covered with a list of 11 ingredients to steer clear of.
1) Sodium Chloride
People who passed chemistry might remember that sodium chloride is just another name for salt. This ingredient is often used to thicken beauty products but comes at a cost. Salt pulls the moisture out of the skin and can leave you feeling dry and itchy. When used in shampoos, skin irritation and lack of moisture can increase hair fall, which is less than ideal when it comes to keeping hair on your head.
Parabens are a variety of chemicals that are used as preservatives in cosmetic products. They can keep bacteria and mold from growing in some kinds of cosmetics. Thankfully, pine tar is naturally antiseptic, which means parabens are completely unnecessary for our products. Zero parabens result in a soap that’s refreshing and doesn’t leave your skin crying for moisture.
3) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a chemical used to create the lather most people expect from their soaps, detergents, and toothpastes. While the lather might trick you into thinking you’re getting cleaner, its actual effect is to create little bubbles and nothing more. Unfortunately, while SLS is doing its job, it also leaves behind dryness and skin irritation. In shampoo, this can cause damage that results in hair loss. For people with dyed hair, SLS can even strip the dye right out of your hair, causing it to fade faster than it should.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that’s best known for being the chemical used for embalming corpses. Did you know that this chemical is so toxic it’s causing massive environmental damage as it leaks into the ground around cemeteries? Is this really something you want to wash your body or scalp with? This chemical can occasionally appear in products on its own but can sometimes be produced by other products degrading over time. Quaternium-15 is one such ingredient to look out for.
Alcohol might be a key ingredient in a good cocktail, but it’s not a great ingredient for soap. Like so many ingredients used in mainstream cosmetics, it causes drying and irritation on the skin. Don’t believe us? Shave and then splash some rubbing alcohol on your face. Isopropyl alcohol and propanol are hugely popular additives, so buyers beware.
This is a type of silicone that has become more popular as more companies incorporate silicone into their hair care products. The benefit of silicone products is that they can create a protective surface on the hair without causing dryness like some other ingredients. They are popular among people with textured hair for this reason. Unfortunately, silicone products can cause product buildup on the hair, causing it to become weighed down over time. Product can also build up on the scalp, leading to a thick residue that eventually turns to flakes or dandruff over time. Skip the residue by avoiding these ingredients.
7) Retinyl Palmitate
Retinyl palmitate is a combination of palmitic acid and an ester of retinol. In large doses, it can cause cancer, acute toxicity, and even affect reproductive health. In the doses common in cosmetics, it can lead to redness, peeling, and skin irritation. While retinol is a great ingredient for keeping your skin young and healthy, another name for it is Vitamin A. Skip the harsh chemical formulations by getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. If you do choose to use topical retinol, invest in a high-quality product and understand that even high-quality formulations can cause skin irritation in people with sensitive skin.
Triclosan is a chemical known to cause cancer, affect fetal development, and disrupt hormone function. While the chemical has already been banned in hand soaps, it is still permitted for use in shampoo, deodorant, and even toothpaste. Keep an eye out for this additive and avoid it.
9) Synthetic Colors and Fragrances
This is a whole family of chemicals and additives. There’s nothing wrong with wanting cosmetics to look nice, but many synthetic colors and fragrances can cause unwanted skin reactions. Fragrances are especially troublesome, as essential oils are often irritants for people with sensitive skin. Some of these additives can even trigger or exacerbate asthma. Many synthetic colors are coal-tar derivatives, which are unhealthy for skin health. That’s why Packer’s Pine has used pine tar exclusively since 1869. Pine tar hasn’t done us wrong yet!
Diethanolamine (DEA) is a surfactant used to increase the foam and lather you find in cosmetic products like soaps and shampoos. Alongside it is its little brother, triethanolamine, which serves the same purpose. While the FDA has yet to tie specific harms to these products, it’s telling that they are banned in Europe. Some research has determined there is an association between DEA and TEA and cancer in animals, but human effects are unknown. Better to play it safe.
11) Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
This additive is related to the sulfate listed above. Like all sulfates, it can leave behind dryness, irritation, and dryness. As detergents, these chemicals bind to the oils on our scalp to remove unwanted sebum. Unfortunately, many of the oils on our scalp and skin are beneficial. Removing them leaves our skin dry and unprotected and our hair frizzy. Avoiding this ingredient will keep your skin and hair happier and healthier.
Our pine tar soap has used pine tar and oil since the 19th century because it is a time-proven ingredient that leaves users fresh, clean, and healthy. Elevate your skincare routine by ditching the chemicals and sticking with a nature-based soap, body wash, and shampoo that every generation can love.