What you should look for ingredient lists and what ingredients in skincare to avoid

Skincare ingredients labels can be pretty hard to decipher, but don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert to figure out if a product will work for you based on the ingredients it uses.

Depending on your skin type, there are different ingredients that you should look out for when trying to perfect your skincare routine. There are also a few ingredients that people of any skin type should avoid.

Here’s everything you should know about what you should look for in ingredient lists and what ingredients in skincare to avoid.

One top tip is to remember that ingredient lists are written from highest to lowest concentrations, so the first few ingredients are the most important!

Best ingredients for oily skin

If you have oily skin, you’re going to want to find products that regulate your skin’s sebum production and keep the skin’s barrier protected.

Although you want to get rid of excess oil, it’s important not to forget about using hydrating products as, even though your skin is oily, it can still get dehydrated. So, avoid products that strip the skin, instead look for gentle ingredients that regulate oil production in an effective way.

Ingredients to look out for:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Niacinamide
  • Clay
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Hyaluronic acid

Best ingredients for dry skin

If your skin is dry, you want to look for ingredients that are going to offer your skin plenty of hydration and nourishment.

Most of these ingredients will fall into the categories of ‘emollients’ and ‘humectants’. Emollients are rich ingredients that soften and smoothen the skin, while humectants draw in water to keep your skin feeling plump and hydrated.

Ingredients to look out for:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Glycerin
  • Shea butter
  • Ceramides
  • Vitamin E

Ingredients in skincare to avoid

  1. Sulfates: These will be ingredients like sodium laureth sulfates, alkylbenzene sulfonate, sodium cocoyl sarcosinate that are often linked with irritating sensitive skin
  2. Artificial fragrances and dyes: Although these are not guaranteed to cause issues, you may experience some irritation if you use products containing these ingredients
  3. Hydroquinone: This is an ingredient used in skin-lightening products that can be pretty damaging to the skin

What skincare ingredients to not mix

There are also some ingredients that you shouldn’t mix together as they are too strong to be used in the same routine:

  1. Alpha Hydroxy Acids & retinol
  2. Vitamin C & retinol
  3. AHAs & vitamin C


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