There are many skincare ingredients that aggravate our skin causing it to react in a way which can result in redness, dry or oily patches, spots, blackheads and acne.

Thankfully we can avoid skincare issues by checking the ingredients on the product labels. Below, I have listed the main culprits behind the skincare problems I see on a daily basis.

If your skin is playing up then I suggest you take some time to look through your current beauty products to see whether they have the following ingredients:

Mineral Oil / Paraffinum liquidum / Petroleum

It is a by-product of the oil industry and therefore cheap to use. It is an occlusive which means it sits on top of our skin like a barrier and doesn’t let anything in or out of the skin, it clogs pores and therefore prevents our skin from carrying out it’s normal job. So if the skin can’t breathe properly, this will exacerbate skin problems like eczema and acne. Surprisingly, mineral oil can be found in many baby products, moisturisers, body creams and bath oils.

Sodium lauryl sulphate / sodium laureth sulphate (SLS)

Are extremely effective detergents which produce a lot of foam. They are used as floor cleaners, car wash, shampoo, cleansers, bubble bath, shower gel and also to degrease car engines. They are too harsh to use on our precious skin and strips all the good oils, causing our skin to produce twice the amount of its natural oils, in case it is washed with SLS again! SLS is found in most beauty products, including baby products.


Are a type of preservative which have received negative press from research studies that have linked them to cancer.


Is animal wax which is found in the fleece of sheep. It is used as a cheaper alternative to plant oils.

Alcohol denat

Is commonly used in skincare but it unfortunately dries out the skin which then leads to irritation. You’ll find it in toners, moisturisers and even eye gel.

Synthetic dyes or perfumes (parfum)

These are added to make the product look pretty and smell great. However, because they are synthetic they are often too irritating for the skin and cause problems, especially those that have sensitive and acne prone skin.


Is a form of silicone added to products for that “high street cosmetic” texture. You’ll find it in skincare, make-up and primer products.

Wheatgerm oil

This oil contains a very high amount of linolenic acid which means it goes rancid very quickly, usually only 1-2 weeks after production. If you apply rancid oil to your skin you are actually doing it more harm than good because the free radicals will speed up the destruction of the connective tissue resulting in wrinkles. Its also worth mentioning that the product will smell ‘off’.