Identify Which Face Products are Safe to Use?

January 10, 2023

We help you understand the different ingredients used in face products, as well as how to identify which products are safe and gentle for your skin. With our guidance, you can make informed decisions that will help you keep your skin healthy, glowing, and beautiful. visit our blog to know more!Serums, Sunscreen, moisturiser and more are the recommended go to skincare routine. Every new influencer has their own skincare routine and product names that they “recommend” you must use to get the glow that they flaunt. And some work while some leave you with rashes or an unhealthy pallor.

That goes on to leave you with a question, ‘Whom do you trust?’

Do all market products they have been asked to or are any sincerely telling the truth? Maybe they are doing both, maybe they are doing none. You have no way to know what is their intention. But one thing you can do is educate yourself. If you know how to identify exactly which products are good for your skin you can make better judgments. Or rather when you know what you should avoid you have a better chance of finding the right products for you.

This article will help you educate yourself about products that you should never use. No, it won’t give you the name of the products because honestly, it is quite difficult to keep track of the numerous different brands selling a myriad of skincare products.

What you get from this article are the ingredients you need to look out for when choosing your skincare product. Especially the products you use on your face. 

So how do you know which face products are safe for you?

First, when you go to buy a product, turn the package over and take a quick glance at the label. And the ingredients mentioned there. The ingredients are the ones you should look out for. Many products while being formulated using healthy ingredients do have other many harmful substances. 

Now let’s look at the specific substances one should look out for while buying face creams, wash or any other product.

Be careful about what you apply to your face

Ingredients to look out for in face products

  1. Parabens - 

Parabens are a group of artificial (chemical) preservatives that prevent and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and mould. These preservatives are used intensively in many skin-care products to increase their shelf-life. Though these preservatives prevent bacterial growth, scientific researches have reported that they adversely affect hormones of the body, harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. They can also cause skin irritation. 

Given the endocrine disruption capacity and documented female and male reproductive harm, coupled with the potential for repeated lifelong exposure, it is clear that long-chain parabens (isobutyl-, butyl-, isopropyl- and propylparaben) should not be used in personal care or cosmetic products (1)

  1. Formaldehyde - 

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas with a strong smell. Formaldehyde releasers is widely used as a preservative in cosmetic products and many household products. When these products are used formaldehyde (the gas) gets released into the air. 

Inhalation of formaldehyde gas can cause coughing, wheezing, nausea, and watery eyes. Long-term exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to cancer. In this modern era, no one should be using formaldehyde releasers as preservatives. We must all actively avoid formaldehyde-containing products wherever possible (2).

  1. Sodium lauryl sulphate/ sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) - 

SLS, unlike the above two chemicals, is not a known carcinogen but is recommended to be avoided. SLS is used in many cosmetics and personal care products as a foaming agent (3). Research and medical assessments have deemed it safe, or to be frank, have deemed it to cause minimal risk to humans, especially as they are supposed to be washed off immediately. But minimal risk is still a risk and who is to blame if they are not washed off properly.

A few tests have found that continuous skin exposure to SLS could cause mild to moderate irritation in animals. 

Dermal toxicity studies demonstrate that 24-hour exposure to a 1–2% (w/w) solution of SLS can increase the transepidermal water loss of the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the skin) and cause mild yet reversible skin inflammation. Human patch tests (typically a 24-hour exposure) confirm that SLS concentrations >2% are considered irritating to normal skin. Dermal irritation also tends to increase with SLS concentration and the duration of direct contact (4).

  1. Petrolatum or Petroleum Jelly - 

Just like the name suggests, petroleum jelly (petrolatum) is derived from petroleum. When properly refined, petrolatum is said to have no known health concerns. However, according to some sources, petrolatum is often not fully refined, which means it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (10).

Petroleum jelly has the unique ability to absorb into our skin and lock itself into place in between cells in our lipid barrier But truth be told, petroleum jelly has no moisturizing properties of its own. Instead, it acts as an impermeable barrier to the skin. Sure it will lock in whatever moisture is underneath it to give your skin the appearance of moisturized skin, but it will also lock in any dirt, sweat, or bacteria that exists. This barrier will also deter any added moisture or beneficial ingredients from other products to reach the skin. Also, since petroleum jelly is not water-soluble, it does not easily wash away, which means it can build up in your system over time (9).

  1. Hydroquinone -

Hydroquinone is a depigmenting agent used to lighten areas of darkened skin such as freckles, age spots, chloasma, and melisma caused by pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone medicine, or injury to the skin. Hydroquinone decreases the formation of melanin (cells that help with skin pigmentation) in the skin.

This skin lightening agent causes mild skin irritation and sensitization (burning, stinging), dryness, redness and inflammatory reaction. Long-term use of hydroquinone could give rise to ochronosis. Ochronosis causes blue-black pigmentation and caviar-like spots to develop on the skin (5).  

The FDA, due to an increasing number of concerns, has banned the use of hydroquinone as a cosmetic skin-bleaching agent since April 2020. FDA advises consumers not to use these products due to the potential harm they may cause, including ochronosis which may be permanent. Consumers should talk to their healthcare professionals about treatment options for certain skin conditions including aged or dark spots (6).

  1. Triclosan - 

Triclosan is an ingredient added to many consumer products intended to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It is added to some antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes, and cosmetics Some data suggest that antibacterial ingredients such as triclosan may do more harm than good over the long term. 

Several studies have shown that long-term exposure to the chemical could pose health risks. This could range from allergies to bacterial resistance. One study described the role that triclosan may have in developing allergies and sensitivities to certain foods. Certain products containing the ingredient cause skin irritation (7).

Some animal studies have shown that exposure to high amounts of the ingredient may cause a decrease in certain thyroid hormones. Exposure to the ingredient is of particular concern to women and people assigned female at birth. That’s because it can cross the placenta and enter breast milk (chest milk).

It is also said to cause a weakening of the immune system. Reports indicate that children exposed to antibacterial products at a very early age have an increased chance of developing allergies, asthma and eczema (8).

So, the next time you get influenced by someone do remember to look at the label behind and then make a conscious decision.



Sharvi Dave
Research Associate

Experienced writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing & editing history. skilled in writing, communication, digital marketing, & general aviation. Strong media & communication professional with a Bachelor of Science - Bs focussed in Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science & Technology General from Bombay Flying Club.

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