Moisturizers can feel great! And with all the options and smells to choose from, who’d want to use anything else? Well, that’s what I thought, until I started reading the labels. Some leading moisturizers can contain ingredients that aren’t great for your skin. If it’s not great on your skin, then it’s not good for your body.
Ingredients like fragrance, parabens and petrolatum (or petroleum jelly) are common ingredients in popular moisturizers that I now try to avoid.
Fragrance, also known as parfum, is added to moisturizers to make them smell “better”. Better can mean anything from making it seem more luxurious, creating a more natural aroma, covering smells that may be perceived as offensive. However, the chemicals used to create these fragrances are a trade secret - confidential. Studies have shown these confidential ingredients may be harmful and are also considered linked to the rise of contact dermatitis.
Parabens are preservatives that have been used since the 50s to slow down bacteria growth. Some commonly used parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben. Recent studies are investigating whether there is a link between parabens and the rise of breast cancer in men and women because of how parabens mimic estrogen through contact with our skin and can be absorbed, metabolized and excreted.
Petrolatum is another popular moisturizer ingredient, but there is a little confusion about if its safe to use. While there does not seem to be proven health hazards around the use of the ingredient, there are concerns about how it’s purified. Petrolatum works in moisturizers by sealing in the moisture on your skin but it doesn’t allow your skin to absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Because of this, other ingredients can actually be more moisturizing because they allow moisture exchange.
The Benefits of Oils
Moisturizers aren’t all doom and gloom, but I’ve found that, overall, oils can make a healthier alternative. Many natural oils are easily absorbed, not greasy, and don’t block pores - great characteristics for all skin types!
Using oils also has great health benefits for the skin; including healing and restoration, depending on the oils you use. And speaking of choosing oils, using them as daily moisturizers means you can create a recipe that fits in exactly with your skin needs. That could mean using Moringa for its purifying properties, Rosehip oil for its skin brightening properties and Hemp seed oil for getting rid of blackheads and acne.
Oils are a great way to control the ingredients you expose yourself to and a great multipurpose product that can be used externally and internally (depending on the oil)!