Ingredients To Avoid In Skincare And Why

By Minji

  •  For the health of your largest organ skin, you should know which ingredients to avoid in your products and why
  • Some ingredients are avoided because there have been studies showing harmful effects, while others are just "suspicious"
  • Explore the ingredients list in your skincare products for your long-term skin health and vitality! 

As a former shopaholic who couldn’t satiate her desire for more, more and even more, I’m proud of the relatively minimalistic lifestyle I lead today.  My closet is under control with my self-imposed “uniform,” my makeup bag contains almost nothing with most days being makeup free and my nail polish collection which used to span into 50 or so brightly colored shiny bottles is no where to be found with my newly naked nails.

Especially with my beloved skincare, I’m hyper-focused on continuing this minimalist theme, especially when it comes to the list of ingredients in my products. “Clean” is defined differently by each brand, but here at Soffli, this is our definition:

We define “clean” as:

  • 15 or less proven ingredients;
  • Every ingredient directly benefits your skin health & glow;
  • No ingredients just to make products smell, look or feel a certain way; and
  • No standard “dirty” or “blacklist” ingredients (i.e., formulated without parabens, mineral oils, phthalates, formaldehydes, sulfates, ethanolamines (MEA, DEA & TEA), PEGs, silicones, drying alcohol, artificial dyes & fragrances, GMO, gluten, soy and more). 

I believe the best part about Soffli is that we keep the ingredients list simple enough (15 or less!) so that without having to rely on generic labels, you can understand for yourself exactly what you’re putting on your skin and make sure it fits your personal standards for "clean." 

Having said that, in case you’re still on the fence about less is more, at the minimum, for your skin health, you should know which ingredients to avoid in your skincare products and why.

Again for Soffli, because we stand for a heightened level of clean, the buckets of ingredients we avoid is very broad as you can see in the last bullet point above.  We avoid some of these ingredients due to the fact that there have been studies showing their harmful effects. 

For example, parabens and phthalates have been linked to hormonal disruption. Ethanolamines ( DEA/TEA/MEA) or mineral oils may be contaminated with chemicals which are linked to cancer.

Others are on our “to avoid” list not necessarily because they’ve conclusively been proven to harm your skin health, but more because they’re “suspicious.”  Meaning, enough experts have raised concerns with them but many experts don’t agree and still think they are safe in skincare products, especially at the levels most brands use them at.

PEGs are a good example of this – Soffli products avoid them entirely as we find that there’s no reason we need them but many brands use them and will site studies showing they are not harmful at the levels used. Also, some ingredients like soy and gluten, like with our foods, are avoided by some but embraced by others.

So even with skincare ingredients, it’s important for you to have you own views and stance on which ingredients you are okay with and which ingredients are a non-starter.  As you might already know, for me, I like to keep things simple.

With the Soffli standard of 15 or less clean and effective ingredients, you can easily verify each ingredient for yourself and make an informed and empowered decision for your health.  With other brands that have 40, 50 plus ingredients in their product, it becomes much harder to do this and you have to rely on marketing messages from the brand itself which doesn’t sit right with me.

Which ever option you choose, I urge you to take some time to think about this and explore the ingredients list in your existing products for your long-term skin health and vitality!