7 Ingredients You Should Never See in Your Skin Care (And, what we use instead!)

7 Ingredients You Should Never See in Your Skin Care Have you ever heard the term 'green-washing'? It refers to companies using specific marketing to promote themselves or their products as environmentally friendly, whether they truly are, or not. The words 'natural' or 'chemical-free' are other words companies use to make consumers think their products are safe or healthy - truthfully, a product is only as 'natural' as the company cares to make it (or as natural as their marketing wants it to be!). Health Canada doesn't currently impose standards on what constitutes a 'natural' product (though, they're working on that!). So, it's really up to you, the consumer, to police what you're putting on your skin. You can do this by educating yourself about potentially harmful ingredients and making sure you read the ingredients list before you purchase a product! If you've ever read the ingredients list of skin care products you will know that it can sometimes seem like a whole other language. Which is why we've prepared this handy list for you of the 7 ingredients you should never see in your skin care!

1. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

BHT'S and BHA's are synthetic preservatives used to extend the shelf-life of products. While the use of these synthetic antioxidants is currently unrestricted in Canada, both chemicals have been marked for further study under the Canadian government's Chemical Management Plan. It is widely believed that BHT and BHA have the following risks:
  • Possible human carcinogen, known to cause tumours in animals
  • Human endocrine disruptor, interfering with hormone function
  • Allergen, and
  • Bio-accumulation in aquatic organisms and species
Instead of BHT and BHA, Modern Hippie® uses:
  • Optiphen: a paraben and formaldehyde-free preservative
  • Leucidal liquid: a naturally-derived preservative made from fermented radishes

2. Palm Oil

Palm oil is a popular ingredient in the food and cosmetic industry because of its inexpensive nature. Palm oil can be found in 40-50% of household products. Unfortunately, the harvesting of palm oil is extremely harmful to the environment, directly responsible for major deforestation and habitat destruction. The large-scale deforestation of African oil palm forest is pushing many species to extinction. Due to these devastating environmental impacts, we do not use palm oil in any of our products. We do use Stearic Acid, which is a derivative of palm-oil, as an emulsifier in our lotions and mask because we have yet to find a replacement, but we are always looking! We also use sustainably sourced Carnauba Wax, a palm wax, as a vegan alternative to beeswax in our Eczema Relief Salve and Lip Conditioner - but, again, we are always looking for more sustainable products! Instead of Palm Oil, Modern Hippie® uses:
  • Castor oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Olive oil
  • Pomegranate oil
  • Refined Hemp oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sweet Almond oil
We use certified organic oils and, whenever possible, oils that are sustainably sourced.

3. Parabens

Parabens (including Methylparaben, butylparaben, and propylparaben) are preservatives used to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. The greatest health risk associated with these chemicals is their ability to disrupt the endocrine system which can interfere with normal hormone function. Parabens have also been found in breast cancer tissue which suggests a possible association between parabens in personal care products and cancer. Instead of parabens, Modern Hippie® uses:
  • Optiphen: a paraben and formaldehyde-free preservative
  • Leucidal liquid: a naturally-derived preservative made from fermented radishes

4. Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (synthetic Vitamin A)

Retinyl palmitate are both commonly found in anti-aging products and believed to be effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles, improving uneven skin tone and toning skin. However, when applied to skin that is then exposed to the sun, both have been linked with the development of tumours and lesions, even when the dose of this synthetic vitamin A is low. There is also some evidence that shows that high usage of topical retinol can result in reproductive and developmental toxicity. Instead of Retinol, Modern Hippie® uses:
  • Aloe Vera: naturally rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B12, C and E, essential fatty acids as well as amino acids, used for its skin soothing and moisturising properties.
  • Coconut oil: rich in fatty acids, coconut oil helps keep skin soft and smooth, and its natural anti-oxidants help to prevent the premature aging of skin.
  • Jojoba oil: has high levels of Vitamin E and will quickly smooth and soften the skin providing a protective barrier.
  • Pomegranate oil: increases skin’s elasticity and helps repair sun or weather damaged skin.
  • Sweet Almond oil: rich in Vitamin A and very high in Fatty Acids, this oil is effective at smoothing and softening skin.

5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

SLS and SLES are surfactants, or cleansing agents, used to make products bubble and foam. SLS is known to cause skin and eye irritation and is also toxic to aquatic organisms. SLES also irritates skin and eyes and, depending on the manufacturing process, is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which is a potential carcinogen. 1,4-dioxane is prohibited on Health Canada’s Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. However, this list does not take into account the presence of this chemical as a contaminant. Instead of SLS and SLES, Modern Hippie® uses: 7 Ingredients You Should Never See in Your Skin Care (And, what we use instead!)

6. Synthetic Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances or perfumes, are just like “natural flavors” in our food. Cosmetic companies don’t tell you everything that is in these fragrances (unfortunately, they don't have to because they are considered "trade secrets"!), but they are usually made of a multitude of chemicals that can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms, and can include highly toxic ingredients, hormone disruptors, and carcinogens. Instead of Synthetic fragrances, Modern Hippie® uses:
  • Essential oils: natural scents derived from the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.

7. Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is a chemical sun-filter commonly found in commercial sunscreens, used to provide UV coverage. While its main purpose is to absorb UV rays, oxybenzone is also readily absorbed by our skin and stays in our bodies for unknown amounts of time. This chemical contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans. Research supports that oxybenzone is linked to skin irritation and sensitivity, photoallergic reactions, and may be a hormone disruptor. Instead of Oxybenzone, Modern Hippie® uses: Print out this list and carry it with you, or save it to your desktop, so the next time you're buying skin care products you know what you don't want to see on the ingredient list! 7 Ingredients You Should Never See in Your Skin Care (And, what we use instead!)