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The skincare ingredients to use and avoid

Debby Harrington

It’s understandable to read the ingredient list on your skincare products and have no idea what those letters forming words actually mean.

I’m talking about names like niacinamide and propylene glycol. Are those ingredients what we should really be putting on our skin? Or are we just being blinded by the scientific sounding word and thinking they must be good? Does expensive really mean better?

Skincare expert and Clear Complexions founder Suzie Hoitink explains that your skin can’t recognise just any ingredient.

“Knowledge is power and it’s essential to know the key actives within your skincare products to ensure they’re targeted to your unique skin conditions and concerns,” she says. “I always recommend the powerful immune booster Vitamin B3 (niacinamide), followed by a potent antioxidant combination of Vitamins A, C and E to re-firm and refine. Finish with a super hydrating SPF15-50 day cream offering sun protection.”

At night, Suzie recommends a gentle cleanser to replenish and purify without disrupting your skin’s PH.

“After the cleanse, amino acids are essential to repair, refine and reactivate vital skin enzymes,” she explains.

This helps unclog pores, stimulate cell turnover and smooth the skin.

“Lastly I like my clients to finish their routine with a potent Vitamin A plus DNA repair complex to target cellular DNA damage for optimal overnight rejuvenation and repair.”

One product I personally cannot live without and highly recommend is a hyaluronic acid. It’s a natural ingredient found in your skin already and is a natural hydrator, keeping your skin moisturised and supple.

It also has a smoothing effect, making those pesky fine lines less obvious.

So that’s what we should use. But what about ingredients to stay away from?

I’ve been going to a dermal clinician for almost a year and she gave me this list of ingredients to avoid.

  • Parabens: They’re preservatives for example methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl parabens.
  • Propylene glycol: It can remove water from the skin which defeats the purpose of hydrating.
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate: It’s a common skin irritant.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate: This can cause drying of the skin.
  • Petroleum derivatives: These include coal, mineral oil, paraffin and propylene glycol.
  • Talc: It can irritate the skin.
  • DEA: It’s a detergent and emulsifier.

As for the cost, unfortunately, the truth is that the good stuff costs more. You might find the same ingredients in a few products, but it’s about how they penetrate your skin and quality products have been tried and tested by the people who know best.

The bottom line? When it comes to skin, you have to trust the experts. We don’t cut our own hair or fix our own pipes if we don’t know how so why would you ignore experts when it comes to your face?


Debby Harrington

Debby is a journalist by trade who grew up in Perth before making her way to Canberra. As long as she can remember, her mother has always followed a beauty routine methodically, morning and night, which is where Debby developed her taste for the world of beauty. Debby loves trying new products and can’t live without lip balm, sunscreen and concealer. She also has her own blog featuring all things fashionable and beautiful so check out More about the Author

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