Skin care products may be causing you to age faster than you would without them. That’s because many formulations don’t use the right moisturizing agents, and users often combine ingredients that turn out to be neutralizing or (gasp!) downright toxic.
Here, we talk about which skin care products might be causing you to age faster, and how to combat it:
1.) Avoid occlusive agents like petrolatum and mineral oil.
Typical skin moisturizing agents are occlusive agents, meaning they operate by covering or sealing the surface of the skin to hold in moisture. This is typically done with heavy waxes, mineral oil, or petrolatum.
However, while these types of ingredients hydrate, they also smother the skin. In turn, the skin — through which 30% of your body’s detoxification processes occur — cannot breathe. For a few hours, your skin may look better, but as we know, looks can be deceiving. Underneath, your skin is trapping the toxins it is attempting to excrete — resulting in an accumulation of free radicals and, ultimately, an acceleration of aging.
“Why people call these ‘moisturizers’ is beyond me,” says AminoGenesis CEO Ron Cummings.
What to use instead: Natural moisturizing factors, also known as NMFs, are able to hold or bond moisture to the skin. NMFs include hyaluronic acid and amino acids.
Interestingly enough, combining amino acids into a stable cohesive water emulsion requires a very high level of expertise, and it is only accomplished by a few cosmetic chemists worldwide. It is also a very expensive process. At AminoGenesis, we ensure this process takes place.
2.) Do not combine skin care ingredients together without consulting a chemist.
The expertise of cosmetic chemists is vital to prolonging your aging process. Inexperienced chemists and friends recommending “home remedies” will often recommend combinations of safe ingredients that will become toxic when mixed together and applied to your skin!
For instance, take Vitamin C and sodium benzoate (a preservative). Together, these agents will form benzene, which has been associated with causing cancer (International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 2007).
This isn’t alarmist, actually. Benzene causes DNA strand breaks. High levels of exposure have been associated with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).(Annual Review of Public Health, 2010).
Even if these ingredients do not give you cancer, imagine all of the energy your immune system is using to fight benzene!
What to use instead: Use well-established, high-quality skin care lines. For best results, consult with an expert before mixing products from different lines.
Skin care may be aging you, if you aren’t using moisturizers with natural moisturizing factors, or the right combinations of ingredients to ensure non-toxicity. The best way to tell is to use a new skin care product for 4-6 weeks, and determine if your skin looks better or worse after. Be sure to focus on several parameters of skin aging, including the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, skin firmness, skin roughness, signs of hyperpigmentation, and sagging.