We’re right to be careful about what we put in our bodies, but it pays to remember to be kind to our skin when we put products on there too. An incredibly absorbent organ, our skin needs to be treated carefully, meaning all that small print on the back of your products should be read and understood! Here’s our tips for what to include, and what to avoid. Ingredients to avoid Formaldehyde – used in cosmetics to help prevent contamination and further preservation, this particular chemical has come under scrutiny lately for its potential to cause burns, skin irritation and hair loss. Petroleum – it sounds like a nasty thing to put on your skin, and it sure is. But many lotions, shampoos and cosmetic products use petroleum. Cosmetics such as foundations, cleansers, and moisturizers often contain a type of petroleum which blocks pores by locking moisture against the skin. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – SLS is a detergent and surfactant which essentially means that it breaks surface tension and separates molecules in order to allow better interaction between the product and your hair. Some studies have found it increases hormone imbalance and can have major skin irritation effects. Benzophenone – Found in suncreens, this chemical can damage DNA and can lead to cancers. Phthalates – Commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, these can cause damage to liver / kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm count and early breast development in girls and boys. Dioxin – Often in antibactaerial ingredients like triclosan, emulsifiers, PEGs and ethoxylated cleansers like Sodium Laureth Sulfate, can cause cancer; reduces immunity; nervous system disorders; miscarriages and birth deformity. Benzoyl Peroxide – Used in acne products, this chemical is a possible tumor promoter; produces DNA damage in human cells; and is toxic by inhalation. Instead make sure your skin is getting only the best treatment by doing your research, reading the small print on bottles, and sticking to cosmetics that offer toxin-free or organic ingredients.