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These common makeup ingredients could be ageing your skin

These common makeup ingredients could be ageing your skin

Not all makeup was created equally. Though it’s true that some drugstore and supermarket products are just as good as their premium counterparts, it’s most often the case that “you get what you pay for”.

The most common cause of premature ageing is free radical damage. Although we all have free radicals in our bodies, exposure to toxic chemicals increases their production. The more free radicals, the more cell damage, the more fine lines and wrinkles.

Other than creating an anti-pollution skincare regime, there’s not a lot you can do about the external factors. But there are things you can do about the beauty products you use. Choose products with the following “bad” ingredients, and you’re prematurely ageing your skin.

This can cause lasting damage and lead to disease, loss of skin elasticity, and make you look old.



One makeup ingredient that you should avoid at all costs is alcohol. Though it can be used to aid in cell repair and ailments in some cases, it’s bad news for your skin. Often found in anti-ageing products, alcohol dries out your skin, which can speed up the ageing process. It is common that alcohol-based makeup and skincare products will interfere with natural oils in your skin, which can lead to irritation, dryness, and dullness. Look out for methanol, ethanol, benzyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol. Natural makeup alternatives are much more forgiving.



Commonly found in budget makeup and skincare products, sulfates should also be avoided. Why? Because sulfates are also used in cleaning products and degreasers! Ingredients such as sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate can irritate and dry out your skin, which can increase the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Sulfates are also commonly found in shampoos, cleansers, foam masks, and hair treatments, meaning they’ll make their way into your skin without you realising. They commonly result in clogged pores and acne breakouts.

Been using sulfates already? Despite some concerns that they could cause permanent damage to your skin, scientists have since disproven this. However, there are still negative side effects to sulfates as we’ve mentioned above, so keep an eye out for this ingredient.


Mineral oil

The chances are that you’ve seen “no mineral oil” emblazoned on makeup packaging. But why? Despite its innocent name, mineral oils derive from crude oils. In a 2011 study, women who were breastfeeding and used mineral oil-based makeup products were found to have petroleum in their breastmilk. Over time, these oils also contaminate our body fat, and once it’s there, it doesn’t leave. That’s because some components are toxic and don’t metabolize.

Another drawback to mineral oil is that it can be carcinogenic. A 2007 study found that 80% of makeup products are contaminated with cosmetic impurities linked to health concerns such as cancer. The beauty world has cleaned up its act since then, but you will still find products containing mineral oils. And because they’re occlusive, they form a barrier on your skin, so moisture can’t be absorbed by the atmosphere. In other words, no nourishment!


Chemical sunscreens

The makeup world is worth more than $500 billion a year. As a result, brands are working harder than ever to create products that stand out. Most foundations and moisturizers now contain sunscreen, which saves time and ensures we’re protected against harmful UV rays. But many of these sunscreens contain chemicals that can cause you to age. Some of the most common ingredients are benzophenone-3, oxybenzone, and octyl methoxycinnamate.

Oxybenzone is considered by the FDA as the most worrying. Researchers have found that, once it’s absorbed by the skin, it enters into your bloodstream and can interfere with your estrogen. Instead, look for sunscreens with natural ingredients like Sunforgettable Total Protection Body Shield SPF 50 and Pure & Simple SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion. They might be more expensive and add an additional step to your beauty regime. But they ensure your safety and prevent against premature ageing from sun damage. Don’t be complacent. Your future self will thank you for putting in the effort and applying sunscreen through the day!



Another ingredient that you should avoid at all costs is parabens. You’ll find them labelled as ethylparaben, butylparaben, isobutyl paraben, isopropyl paraben, methylparaben, and propylparaben on your makeup packaging. Although commonly used as a preservative, they are linked to cancer as well as immune and endocrine disorders. They’re also bad for your skin, as they decrease the amount of oil your face releases. This leads to dry skin, and the harmful toxins increase free radical damage over time. Many brands list being ‘paraben-free’ as a selling point, so shop around and ensure the ingredient doesn’t make it onto your face.


Talcum powder

If you suffer from oily skin, you might find that talc is listed as an ingredient on your skincare or makeup products. It’s commonly used to absorb moisture and create a smoother texture on your skin. It can also make your powered products more opaque. Though most skin types will tolerate talc, those with sensitive skin will notice irritation over time. If talc is accidentally inhaled when applying your makeup, it can lead to respiratory problems and lung disease.

From an anti-ageing perspective, the drawback of talc is that it sucks up water and oil on the skin. That’s good news if you’re particularly hot or oily, but it can dry out your face quickly and make lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Research shows talc products can also be naturally contaminated with asbestos, which could increase the risk of mesothelioma cancer.


Now’s your chance to look through your makeup drawer and throw away products containing these “no-go” ingredients. Do you have any other tips? Let us know on Twitter @Oralift and be sure to check out our anti-ageing device if you’re ready to “turn back the clock” naturally.

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