Damaging Skin Care Ingredients To Avoid

Plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Breslow and his close friend Dr. Abramowitz, a dentist, were on a plane for Utah in 2012 when they found themselves talking shop. “Shop,” for these medical professionals, was the topic of the cosmetic consultation process and its inefficiency for patients and doctors alike. Part of the problem, in Breslow’s eyes, was that patient access to medical information was limited; imagine how different the consultation process would be, they mused, if the patient were equipped with knowledge beforehand?

Thus, the early concept for Zwivel was born. Zwivel is a site toted as an all-encompassing plastic surgery platform, where cosmetic patients can conduct research, have discussions, and locate and virtually consult with cosmetic physicians. Once the patient is ready to consult with a doctor in person, this site helps establish that connection.

Zoe Dobson is a staff writer for Zwivel who is dedicated to fun and informative articles about skin care, plastic surgery, and dentistry. Below she shares with our readers some important information on which damaging skincare products to avoid or remove from your beauty arsenal.

Ingredients To Look For

Keeping skin in the most stunning, healthy, and glowing condition possible can be an on-going quest. Luckily, there’s an abundant supply of beauty products available on the market that can do precisely that.

That being said, in some cases the high competition between cosmetic brands leads to the use of cheaper ingredients to drive down prices. As a result, it’s important to steer clear from those products — no matter how attractive the price tag may be — as they could end up causing more harm than good to your skin. We’ve outlined the top ingredients to absolutely avoid if you see them on a product label.


Similar to the effects mercury can have when ingested, applying it topically can cause harm. The vapours from mercury-laced beauty products can be absorbed into the lungs, causing mercury poisoning. Skin lightening products often contain mercury, so be sure to check the labels before your next use.


Products containing parabens should be avoided at all costs. Paraben has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer in women and can commonly be found in various types of makeup, deodorant, body and face washes, and shampoo. When checking your label, remember that the ingredient won’t be listed simply as “paraben,” but rather part of bigger words such as methylparaben, butylparaben, and propylparaben. These are some of the most common parabens found in cosmetics.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

The EPA in California has identified Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as a potential developmental toxin and it can be found in cleansers, shampoos, and other products. Shy away from this nervous system damaging ingredient.

Propylene Glycol

This substance can cause many irritating skin conditions, including hives and dermatitis. Be on the lookout for it in moisturizers, sunscreens, and makeup.


This highly damaging ingredient has been known to cause tumours. It has also been shown to cause black and blue bruises and broken veins. Over time, these can become permanent. Hydroquinone is commonly found in skin lighteners and chemical peels.

These are just a few of the harmful ingredients that can be found in everyday products. When you are purchasing new products, it’s always better to ask than to assume. And if the pharmacy clerk does not have the knowledge to assist you on this issue, be sure to conduct a little research of your own — when it comes to skin care products, education is key.