Don’t Get Irritated

I was talking with a customer recently, and it didn’t take too long before we found ourselves on the subject of skin irritation—specifically skin care ingredients that cause skin irritation. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to shed some light on this topic.

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of irritating skin ingredients, but rather a guide that will hopefully allow you to figure out what ingredients do and don’t work for you.

There are literally hundreds of ingredients being used in skin care products, and what one person finds irritating, another person has no problem. There are, however, some ingredients that are generally irritating, and it’s worth your time to learn about them.

The first thing I want to discuss is alcohol. There’s a common misconception that alcohol in a skin care product is bad. This is true some of the time, but there’s more than one type of alcohol. The two that you need to know about are volatile alcohols, and fatty alcohols.

Volatile alcohols are what you’d typically think of when someone says alcohol:

  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Ethanol
  • Isopropyl Alcohol

These—as you might already know—have a tendency to dry your skin out and cause irritation. So we like to avoid them unless it’s part of a specific skin care regimen, and you intend to use a moisturizing product as a part of the regimen.

The other kind of alcohols—fatty alcohols—are found in many places. Sometimes the names look “bad” and sometimes they look innocent, but in general they are pretty beneficial.

  • Retinol (Vitamin A molecule to discourage wrinkles)
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E, a free radical fighting antioxidant)
  • Cetyl Alcohol (product thickener)
  • Stearyl Alcohol (Emollient)
There are many different types of ingredients in skin care products.  Some are actually good for your skin and a lot of them are not.  The list below represents a few of the more common ingredients that may be irritating or drying to your skin.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – a detergent found in cleansing gels.  It may dry out your skin or irritate it.  Read a bit more on this and the ingredients contained in Dove for Sensitive Skin Bar
  • Sodium Trideceth Sulfate – same as above
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate – same as above
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate – a harsh detergent found in cleansing gels and can be extremely drying and irritating to the skin
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate – same as above
  • Fragrance – the #1 cause of allergic reactions to skin care products. If you’re sensitive to fragrance, avoid products containing the word “fragrance” or “parfum” on the ingredient listing.  Most people can use products made with high quality Essential Oils.  Here is a great explanation of Essential Oils and their benefits.
  • Dyes and colorants – An unnecessary chemical used to give a product its color and can be a skin irritant. Commonly listed as the very last ingredient with the words FD&C

At Alabu Skin Care we always encourage you to read the labels on your skin care products and learn about the ingredients that you’re applying to your skin. If you have a question on any ingredient in any of your skin care products, just contact us and we will be glad to try to answer it.

You might like to know:

  • Alabu products do not contain any synthetic chemicals or ingredients.
  • At Alabu we do not use ANY water in our products.
  • Alabu’s primary ingredients are beneficial to your skin.

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