Monday, July 15, 2024

5 Popular Moisturizer Ingredients That Can Harm Your Skin

Plenty of moisturizers contain chemicals that irritate and dry out your skin. Check the back of your bottle to make sure it’s not one of these.

Developing proper skincare routines is a very important habit, one that has grown more popular thanks to a growing culture of self care. During the very hot or cold seasons, it’s especially important to invest in these products since the weather can take a toll, even more so if you’re someone who has sensitive skin.

While we might get our lotion recommendations from websites, magazines, friends or blogs, there’s no way of knowing what’s in these bottles unless we’re experts.

The Huffington Post consulted with several dermatologists who explained that some of the compounds present in many lotions and moisturizers contain properties that can irritate your skin, making it harder for you to keep it hydrated. These range from fragrances to colors to elements that are really meant to be moisturizing but don’t do their effect when applied to sensitive or dry skin.

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Here are 5 popular moisturizer ingredients you should be on the look out for.


Many products contain fragrances since that is understandably one of the main draws of skincare products. Rina Allawh, a dermatologist, explains that they are also common irritants, leading to rashes, burning and itching. They are also hard to avoid since many brands aren’t very honest with their product labels. She recommends keeping an eye out for an ingredient called “balsam of Peru.” “This ingredient typically contains a strong, rich and sweet odor,” she says.

Synthetic dyes and colors

Some FDA approved dyes like FD&C Yellow 6 are used on lotions, foods and cosmetics even though they can be harmful to your skin and health. “These colors can trigger allergies and irritation in the skin, and are suspected to be carcinogens,” says dermatologist Sonia Batra. “They are also banned in the European Union.”


A lot has been said about parabens in recent years, causing a bit of a panic due to the connections that have been made with breast cancer. These preservatives prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold on cosmetic products, yet they have estrogen mimicking properties.

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Common Moisturizer Ingredients That Can Harm Your Skin
Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Propylene glycol

This ingredient is very common in lotions and skin products because it contains very effective moisturizing properties. The problem is that, when applied to naturally sensitive or dry skin, it doesn’t do a good job. “Regular use of moisturizers containing this substance can lead to skin rashes, exacerbation of eczema and burning,” explains Allawh.

Lemon scents & ingredients

Despite the fact that lemons are natural and a beloved scent among most people, dermatologists consider them irritants due to their highly acidic nature. They are still delicious and healthy, just not on your skin.


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