We have always been told it's important to wash our face. In fact, washing our face has become just as routine as brushing our teeth before we go to bed. This age-old beauty practice isn't wrong. When using the right, non-toxic cleanser, washing your face is one of the most important steps in your facial care routine. Keeping skin and pores free of makeup residue, dirt, and bacteria not only keeps the skin functioning at its very best but can also minimize the formation of acne.
But, how do you find the right, non-toxic cleanser? Here are two ingredients to avoid while shopping for your facial cleanser:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
At its core, a cleanser is designed to wash away dirt and bacteria from your skin, which is why detergents or soap agents are used in product formulations. Look on the ingredient list of many cleansers on the market and you will find Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). While known for its superb foaming abilities and diligence in washing away dirt, it is a known skin irritant, hormone disruptor, and can be seriously drying to the skin. Sadly this ingredient is not alone. There are other commonly used sulfates (sodium laureth-, ammonium lauryl-, and sodium laureth-) that get the job done, but at a risk to your personal health.
These sulfate ingredients also have a high pH level and are known to strip away the skin's "acid mantle," which is a thin protective barrier on top of the skin made up of the skin's naturally occurring sebum oil and the body's sweat. It protects the skin by killing harmful bacteria before it can penetrate the skin, helping to maintain a healthy moisture balance, and preventing dehydration. Disrupting this delicate barrier allows bacteria to attack, which can lead to infection, skin irritation, and even acne.
Cleanser is like any other skincare product and it is necessary that a preservative be used to keep microorganisms from forming. Be careful though; parabens tend to be the most commonly used type of preservative because they are convenient and affordable. But their use comes at a steep price. Parabens, noted with the prefix methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl on ingredient labels have been found to mimic hormones in the body, as well as be hormone disruptors, which research links to breast cancer. There are other chemical preservatives used as well, including some that release formaldehyde. Two of the most common to look out for and avoid are Urea Imidzaolindinyl and DMDM Hydantion.
HOW TO PICK A GENTLE, NON-TOXIC CLEANSER
Along with avoiding ingredients like the ones above, here are some other tips to finding a non-toxic cleanser:
- 'Oil-free' products aren't always the best option. Contrary to popular belief, not all oils clog pores and cause acne. In fact, there are many organic oils, especially Tamanu Oil, that are super beneficial to the skin.
- Look for the term organic. Companies that use organic ingredients are more likely to make thoughtful ingredient selections elsewhere in their formulation. While it's not a fool proof tip, it will at least help you narrow down your options.
- Avoid using your body wash to wash your face. In some cases body wash can be too harsh for your delicate facial skin, enlarge pores, or, if it happens to contain micro exfoliation beads, could irritate or tear a capillary beneath your skin. It should also be noted that exfoliation beads are being found to be an environmental hazard, so avoid them when at all possible.
- Be wary of anti-acne cleansers, which are billed as antiseptics. Not only can these products disrupt the acid mantle, but they could contain Tricolosan, which has been linked to hormone disruption, brain damage, cancer, and environmental concerns.
- Avoid products made with lanolin, a common ingredient in cleaners. This ingredient, used as an emollient, is produced by the oil glands of sheep and is extracted from their wool. Instead, choose products made with plant-based emollients like cocoa butter or camellia oil.
Our EWG VERIFIED™ Tamanu Luxury Facial Cleanser is made with over 95% certified organic ingredients and efficiently washes away makeup, dirt, and oils without leaving behind harmful and damaging chemical residue. It is gentle enough to use twice a day and even on the most sensitive of skin.
The right cleanser is an essential part of your healthy skincare journey. Let the power of from-nature ingredients keep your skin clear so that it can absorb and benefit from the other good-for-you skin care products in your skincare routine.