Creams and other topical applications for skincare are formulated to be good for the skin, but certain products may contain harmful ingredients that could put your health at risk. Reading the labels of all skincare products carefully to look for names of toxic ingredients can help you protect yourself. Here are four skincare ingredients that should always be avoided.

Parabens

This class of synthetically produced chemicals is sometimes used in cosmetics and other skincare products as a preservative. Parabens have been used specifically for inhibiting mold and bacterial growth in skincare products. According to the CDC, the most common forms of parabens include butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. Even though low-level exposure to parabens isn’t always harmful, prolonged use of products with these chemicals can cause dangerous cell divisions that lead to the development of cancerous tumors.

Fragrance

Synthetic fragrances are known to cause adverse skin reactions and other allergic reactions in many people. Fragrances are often found in moisturizers, lotions and face creams along with shampoos and conditioners. If you still want a product that emits a pleasant aroma and will help you smell better, try looking for options that are labeled “fragrance-free” and instead contain essential oils and other natural ingredients that are appealing to the senses. A Korean skincare box will include many products that are formulated with natural ingredients that smell good.

Hydroquinone

Often used for skin bleaching, this chemical can leave unsightly skin lesions when used regularly. Hydroquinone is linked to a disease known as ochronosis, which causes homogentisic acid accumulations that result in blue and black lesions that form on the skin. These lesions are usually permanent but can sometimes be minimized with the replacement and repair of affected tissues. Ear cartilage may also darken and harden when products containing hydroquinone are used to try to lighten skin on the ears.

Mercury

Found in some skin lightening and antiaging creams as well as in some lotions and soaps, mercury can cause problems such as tremors, cognitive dysfunctions and sight and hearing loss. If you use a product containing mercury, other people may also become exposed through breathing or touching your skin. Mercury is sometimes listed on product labels as mercuric, mercurio or mercurous chloride, so it’s especially important to read each label carefully to ensure that your skincare products don’t contain this harmful chemical.

You may save yourself from having to endure serious health problems by not buying skincare products that feature these toxic ingredients. Looking closely at each ingredient label and educating yourself on the harmful effects of dangerous substances can keep you out of harm’s way.

About the author

Anica Oaks

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. You can connect with Anica on Twitter @AnicaOaks.

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