Chemicals in skincare and alternatives



What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it. 
Your skin can absorb anything applied onto it, so if you are concerned about healthy eating then you will also be concerned about healthy skincare.

A woman using 10-20 products per day is applying over 200 chemicals per day on her skin. It is said that women (who tend to use more cosmetics than men), absorb up to 2kg of cosmetic products every year!

Below are some of the most often used synthetic ingredients that you will find in skincare and should try to avoid.

Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Parabens: Used as preservatives to inhibit microbial growth and extend shelf life. Cause allergic reactions and research has found parabens in human breast cancer tumors. Methyl being the worst.

Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA): PH Balancers and used to give a nice feel to a product or a good lather to detergents. Known to cause allergic reactions, corrosive to the eyes & affects the immune and respiratory system. Toxic if absorbed and associated with cancer in lab animals. Transforms into carcinogens when they reacts with nitrosomes in the body.

Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea: Preservative that work by forming formaldehyde in a product. Declared by the American Academy of Dermatology as a primary cause of contact dermatitis. Highly toxic.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate: (coconut) Cheap, harsh detergents and foaming agents also used as in engine degreaser. Composed of 4 known carcinogens: formaldehyde, dioxane, ethylene oxide and Acetaldehyde. Often derived from petroleum, causes eye irritation, and dry itchy skin and allergies.

Petrolatum/mineral oils: A cheap ingredient used to seal in moisture Suffocates and clogs the pores and prevents the skin from eliminating toxins resulting in acne and other skin problems

Propylene Glycol (PG) & Butylene Glycol: Rancid oils (known to cause eczema) used in skincare to give a velvety feeling to products. Known neurotoxins found in antifreeze. The EPA (Environmental protection agency) has concluded that the brain, liver and kidneys can be affected through skin absorption. Be aware of related chemicals labeled PPG.

Synthetic Fragrances: Labeled simply as "fragrance," This one ingredient sounds harmless however it can contain up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Side effects can be headaches, dizziness, rashes and respiratory problems. People may also experience hyper-pigmentation. 
Synthetic Colors: FD&C Yellow No. 6, Used to give products their color, causes allergic reactions and can trigger asthma. Carcinogenic and banned in some countries. There are others as well, stay away from any product labled with D&C or FD&C followed by a number.

Сyclomethicone (silica) emollients to give products a silky, smooth texture. Not easily absorbed by the skin but result in clogged pores and blackheads. Side effects include: eye irritation, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in mouth and chest, swelling of the face, mouth, lips or tongue.

Pthalates: used to soften plastics, found in fragrances and nail polishes. Highly toxic as they interfere with the male reproductive organs, reduce fertility and are especially dangerous to developing fetuses. Pregnant women should avoid dibutyl phthalate in nail polish. Often listed as fragrance or anything ending in “late”. These have now been banned across Europe and some American companies have removed them from their nail polishes. Very often found in candle fragrances.

Volatile Alcohols (Isopropyl) are used often to cleanse and disinfect. Though some companies may use ingredients that naturally have alcohol in them, volatile alcohols should be avoided. They irritate, dehydrate and strip the skin of its natural barrier and friendly bacteria.



Pure essential oils, carrier oils and waxes from plants, flowers, fruits & vegetables containing vitamins & essential nutrients along with pigments and minerals to naturally give products a beautiful scent and colour, and have therapeutic benefits too. 
Naturally derived surfactants (detergents) from sugar and coconut like ‘glucosides’ produce less bubbles but are very safe and highly effective at cleaning the skin and hair and non toxic in the environment!

Naturally derived preservatives p-Anisic acid, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, Tocopherols (Vitamin e), rosemary antioxidant, sodium anisate, sodium levulinate.

Of course natural plant ingredients cost more than their cheap counterparts and are more difficult to work with as they have a shorter shelf life, spoil easier and cost more. Products made with these ingredients are not mass-produced and therefore have shorter shelf life, more expensive to produce and therefore less profit. But, you should ask yourself – how long should your jar of cream last?

There are clever ways to formulate using high amounts of natural vitamins and antioxidants along with correct packaging and natural preservatives to create safe and effective products that are in harmony with our bodies and environment, however these are neither mass production nor result in mass profits and therefore they are considered less effective, thanks to the clever marketing behind conventional brands.

In todays global market people want to see immediate results! We are bombarded with penetration enhancers, promising a quick fix of wrinkles in one hour, without a second thought as to what other ingredients may be in the jar!

When it comes to SCOrganic products, I am often asked, what will this do for me? My answer is simple - It will nurture your skin, promote your natural beauty and keep your skin healthy, radiant and glowing.

SC Organics: luxurious, simplistic, cruelty free products made with love and respect to nurture the body and soul and smell and feel delicious on the skin. 

Shirley Conlon,
The Founder of Shirley Conlon Organics