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What Skincare Ingredients Should I Avoid? What Skincare Ingredients Should I Avoid?

What Skincare Ingredients Should I Avoid?

It’s easy to think of your skin as just the outside of your body, but it’s so much more important than you may realize. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and vital to your health. It’s a porous barrier between you and the world. The truth is, your skin takes in some of what you put on it. It’s incredibly important to carefully select skincare products. You might be surprised at how many include ingredients that will do more harm than good. 

When you’re in the market for a new skincare product, it’s easy to get wrapped up in marketing and choose based on empty promises. Before you buy, take a peek at the list of ingredients. If you see any of these ingredients, it’s best to leave that product on the shelf.

7 Skincare Ingredients to Avoid


If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that many deodorants and antiperspirants have begun advertising aluminum-free formulas. Aluminum exposure has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer, among other problems. 

The truth is that we encounter aluminum in a variety of ways every day. And for the most part, that’s okay. The problem starts when you begin to exceed safe levels of aluminum. Since you likely get aluminum in your diet, in vaccines and in other medical supplements, it’s a good idea to minimize aluminum in your skincare routine.  

You may not realize it, but aluminum is used in many different skincare products and cosmetics. One easy way to lessen your aluminum exposure is to avoid any cosmetic products that include aluminum in the ingredients list. 

Ethanolamine Compounds

Monoethanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA), and triethanolamine (TEA) are common ethanolamine compounds and have been linked to liver tumors. The evidence for this connection is so strong that the European Commission has banned the use of DEA in cosmetic products. There is also evidence that these compounds could cause developmental problems in unborn babies if used by pregnant women. 

You’ll often find these compounds in soaps, hair products, lotions, sunscreens, and various other cosmetics. They’re commonly used to make it easier to blend water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients and to control pH levels. 


We all probably know that formaldehyde is used in the embalming process. It’s a highly toxic substance, often categorized as a poison. Chronic exposure can lead to cancer as well as reproductive and developmental problems. Worst of all, there is no known antidote for formaldehyde poisoning. Yet, formaldehyde is found in many cosmetic products that may be sitting on your vanity right now. 

Formaldehyde-releasing ingredients are often used to preserve cosmetics and prevent contamination of bacteria and other microbiological growths. You’ll also find formaldehyde in nail hardening products as an active ingredient. 


You may remember the news reports of lead poisoning caused by lead-lined water pipes or lead paint in homes and schools. Lead poisoning occurs when this metal builds up in the body’s systems, and at high levels can be fatal. Yet there may be lead in your cosmetics case right now.

Once thought an urban legend, the FDA has now confirmed that lead is commonly found in lipstick and mascara among other cosmetic products. Shampoos, lotions, and other skincare products may also contain some level of lead. While the government is recommending that cosmetics manufacturers limit the use of lead in their products, it’s safest to steer clear altogether.

Mineral Oil or Petroleum Products

Petroleum jelly, mineral oil, and other petroleum products have been in use for decades. They often create the illusion of healthy, moisturized skin. Yet these products suffocate your skin, dry out pores, and seal in dirt and oils. If you want actual healthy skin, rather than just skin that looks good temporarily, it’s best to steer clear of these types of products.


Parabens are commonly used to preserve cosmetic products and keep them from spoiling or becoming contaminated by bacteria and mold. The problem is that they also can disrupt normal hormonal processes, possibly leading to breast cancer and reproductive problems. Avoid products that include ingredients such as butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben, or look for a paraben-free label.


Years ago, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and dimethyl phthalate (DMP) were commonly found in cosmetic products such as nail polish and hairspray. Their use has largely been discontinued, but another phthalate is still in use today. Diethyl phthalate (DEP), along with other phthalates, has been banned in the EU, but is still in use in US products. It is a suspected endocrine disruptor and may lead to developmental and reproductive problems as well as certain cancers. 

AVYA’s Top Ingredients

At AVYA, we believe that good health requires a balance between body and mind. We use botanicals and plant-based ingredients that are beneficial for your health beyond the look and feel of your skin. Our exclusive blend of peony, turmeric, and neem can help you achieve balanced, healthy skin.


Peonies are pale pink flowers with a lovely fragrance and soft, ruffled petals. But not only are they lovely in the garden or in a floral arrangement, they are also incredibly beneficial for your skin as in our gentle facial cleanser.

Peony extract is useful as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient. It can help protect your skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure while brightening skin and combatting stubborn dark spots. It can also help combat several skin problems and tone and firm problem areas. 


Turmeric is another ingredient with beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help heal acne, reduce dark circles, prevent premature aging, and protect against environmental damage. There is even some evidence that turmeric can help with complex skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. 


Our third powerhouse ingredient is neem. This one you may not have heard of before, but it has been in use in India for generations. What Indian women know and Americans are now learning is that neem is an excellent cure for most skin problems. It can treat dry skin, acne, and eczema, combat wrinkles, even out skin tone, and is also useful as a natural insecticide. 

Next time you’re shopping for skincare products, take the time to look at the ingredients list. Keep an eye out for these ingredients to avoid in skincare. Carefully evaluate the products you’re applying to your skin and the dangers they may contain when used over a long period of time. Or better yet, stick with a quality brand like AVYA Skincare. We take beauty and health seriously with time-tested ingredients that are beneficial and safe.