Saturday, August 20, 2011

Let's Talk Skin!

Hello all!

My name is Madison, (twitter name- @madihebert), and I will be guest blogging while Lauren is taking a much deserved vacation!
For my first day on Lauren's Beauty Tips, I want to talk skin care, and delve into the ingredients in the products that we use every day. Knowledge is power in the beauty industry, especially for YOU the consumer! With this economy, you need to know what works for you, and with your skin type, BEFORE you buy. So, open up that medicine cabinet and let's get started!
As a fan of Lauren's Beauty Tips (like myself), you are already a beauty-lover! But have you ever wondered why you spend a great chunk of your paycheck on a product that promised to give results...and it makes you break-out? Turns your skin red? Dries your skin out? Makes it too oily?This is because your skin reacted with one OR several of the ingredients in the product. With my biology and skincare background, I know a thing or two about product ingredients, and what will work and won't work for you. First, think about your skin. Is it dry? Sensitive? Oily? Do you have wrinkles? Skim through, and look at what describes your skin. Every dermatologist out there has their own “skin typing system”. However, think about your own skin (no one knows your skin better than you), and if you want to take questionnaires to figure out your type, here are a few that I like:
-This does not have a skin type questionnaire but, Kate Somerville lets you "Shop by Concern'. Concerns include: Acne, Anti-aging, Anti-aging and acne, Sensitive, Discoloration, Dry, and Oily

It can be very tedious to go through the lists of ingredients, but for healthy skin (and a larger wallet), it is necessary to know what to use, and what not to use. This is why I'm going through it my first day guest blogging! So, let's get started (and get the ingredients out of the way).

Between 40 and 50 million Americans suffer with acne. If you have acne these are the ingredients to avoid:

  • Butyl stearate
    Chemical additives such as decyl oleate, isostearyl neopentanoate, isoprolyl isostearate, isocetyl stearate, isopropyl myristate, isopropyl palmitate, myristyl myristate, myristyl propionate, octyl palmitate, octyl stearate, and propylene glycol-2 (this is referred to as (PPG-2)
  • Cocoa butter AND Cocos nucifera (Coconut Oil)
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Lanolin
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Mineral Oil
  • Other oils such as safflower oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Sunflower oil- if excessive oil
  • Borage seed oil

If you are prone to skin allergies or rashes (you have Sensitive skin) avoid:

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (lactic acid, glycolic acid)
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Benxoyl peroxide
  • Vitamin C
  • Fragrances
  • Lanolin
  • Parabens
  • Cinnamic acid
  • Quaternium-15
  • Menthol
  • Propylene glycol-2 (PPG-2)

With dry skin, emulsifying (add lubrication to the top layer of skin) ingredients are:

  • Borage seed oil
  • Castor oil
  • Ceramides
  • Cholesterol
  • Cocoa butter (avoid if you have acne)
  • Colloidal oatmeal
  • Dexpanthenol (Provitamin B5)
  • Dimethicone
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Glycerin
  • Jojoba oil
  • Olive oil (however, I believe that this can be problematic if you are acne-prone)
  • Pumpkin-seed oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Shea butter
  • Sunflower oil

To improve the barrier of all skin types:

  • Aloe vera
  • Ceramides
  • Dexpanthenol (Provitamin B5)
  • Stearic acid
  • Niacinamide – (which may prevent cancer!)
  • Fatty acids, Omega-3’s (improve dramatically by adding Flax to diet, and Flaxseed oil and Fish Oil supplements to diet)

With Dry skin- avoid:

  • Alcohol if listed among the first seven ingredients, and alcohol such as ethanol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and SD alcohol.
  • Cleansers that foam vigorously
  • Fragrance
  • Acetone

With Oily and Sensitive skin, sometimes these are the culprit:

  • Acetic acid
  • Allantoin
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Balsam of Peru
  • Benzoic acid
  • Camphor
  • Cinnamic acid
  • DMAE
  • Menthol
  • Lactic Acid
  • Parabens
  • Quaternium-15

For Wrinkle Prevention:

  • Feverfew
  • Green tea, white tea (Camilla sinensis)
  • Lycopene
  • Ferulic acid
  • Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
  • Caffeine
  • Carrot extract
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Ginger
  • Yucca
  • Caffeine
  • Basil
  • Ginseng
  • Grape Seed Extracct
  • Idebenone
  • Lutein
  • Pycnogenol
  • Rosemary
  • Vitamin E (but can be problematic for acne sufferers)
  • Resveratrol

For Wrinkle Treatment:

  • Copper Peptide
  • Ginko biloba
  • Vitamin C- but for Sensitive types, this may be too irritating
  • Alpha hydroxyl acids (if you have frequent stinging and/or redness, avoid this)
  • Citric acid (if you have frequent stinging and/or redness avoid this)
  • Retinol (if you have really sensitive skin, you may not be able to use retinol. See retinol information below)
  • Lactic acid (avoid if you suffer from acne)
  • Phytic acid

To get rid of Dark Spots:

  • Arbutin
  • Bearberry
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Hydroquinone
  • Kojic acid
  • Resorcinol
  • Niacinamide
  • Mulberry
  • Cocos nucifera (coconut fruit juice)
  • Gallic acid
  • Retinol
  • Salicylic acid, or BHA
  • Cucumber exxtract
  • Willow herb (Epilobium angustifolium)
  • Pycnogenol

To prevent Dark Spots:

  • Cocos nucifera (unless you have acne)
  • Niacinamide
  • Cucumber/ Cucumber extract
  • Pycnogenol
  • Soy (with estrogenic components removed)

To prevent/decrease inflammation:

  • Feverfew
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Dexpanthenol (Provitamin B5)
  • Thyme
  • Cucumber
  • Colloidal oatmeal
  • Chamomile
  • Aloe vera
  • Tea tree oil (can cause allergy in some)
  • Rose water
  • Mallow
  • Zinc
  • Sulfur

Bottom line: Do not throw out a product that works and does not cause any problems for you just because it contains an ingredient in the category you identify with. Skin can be a lot of guess and check, but hopefully these lists will make it so it does not have to be. If any questions please contact me here, or on Twitter (@madihebert) or make an appointment with your esthetician or dermatologist. Everyone has the potential for beautiful skin.

I have listed the ingredients above because of my cosmetic dermatology reading, but also what I have discovered on my own. Dr. Leslie Baumann, the woman who really got me interested in skincare has an amazing textbook, Cosmetic Dermatology. She also has a book, now in the second edition, The Skin Type Solution.


  1. Wow. I am constantly buying products blindly without looking at the ingredients. Thank you!

  2. What kind of shaving cream would you recommend for someone with extremely dry skin (male)? I keep getting red bumps as a result:( I currently use Barbasol brand shaving cream.

  3. The Murad Man line by Sephora is fantastic! It deep cleanses and is oil free. If you have dry skin, Noxzema Extra Sensitive shave works really well. It contains Dimethicone which moisturizes and helps to protect the skin barrier.

  4. I am 17 yrs old and I have a reaction to any acne medication I try. I'll look for these ingredients and try to avoid them when making my next purchase.thanks

  5. Thank you Madison for mentioning my nine skin types! It's so important to use the right products for your skin.

  6. Thank you so much for reading this, Mme Rouleau! I am extremely flattered! And it is so important to use the right products for one's skin. Your Skin Search is wonderful ! -Madison Hébert