Girl looking at her skin in the mirror wearing a white towel on her head

Watch Out For These Irritants In Your Skincare

Yep, we know it! There can be irritants lurking behind the packaging of our skincare favorites, but what if we told you they could cause a reaction on your skin? Not all ingredients are created equal, so it's time to decipher the elusive skincare label (without the need for a chemistry test!), and separate skin lovers like hypoallergenic ingredients from skin aggressors. Your calm, happy and reaction-free skin will thank you.


Denatured alcohol

Alcohol Denat, SD Alcohol or Isopropyl are all great at sapping vital, natural oils from our skin. Yep, the dehydrating effects damage skin cells and break down the skin's barrier, making it less able to keep moisture in, and irritants out. The result? Skin that feels dry, irritated, rough, inflamed and sensitive.

Denatured alcohol is often used as an astringent, and is commonly found in oily and acne-prone skincare products. Ready to go alcohol-free? Witch Hazel is a skin-loving alternative. Not only does it balance oily skin (as well as working well on all skin types), it tones and firms the skin too, without leaving that uncomfortable dry and tight feeling behind.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (aka SLS) is a heavyweight cleanser, a foaming agent and it helps ingredients absorb into the skin. Problem is, its molecules are so tiny that they too can penetrate, and damage, our skin cells. With cell damage comes water loss and over time, our skin becomes less able to keep out allergens. Hello, red, dry and inflamed skin. Instead of getting in a lather about it, keep your cleanser SLS-free and make a beeline for botanical alternatives like Bisabolol instead. This skincare superhero can help the skin absorb other active ingredients more effectively.

Smiling girl in bathroom applying cream to her cheeks

Artificial colors and dyes

Pastel pinks, lemons and lilacs. Our favorite lotions and potions are often loaded with artificial colors and dyes, which can sometime contain a cocktail of irritating chemicals. Unsurprising then, that when face to face with these chemicals, our skin can go red, quite literally, in the form of heightened sensitivity, irritation and flushing. Guess what? You simply don't need these dyes to color you (and your skin) happy. So we say go dye-free and harsh chemical-free and leave those sugary shades for the candy store instead.

Colourful splash illustrating artificial colours and dyes


Soap. A cleansing staple for centuries. Can’t be bad for our skin, right? Well, not exactly. Soap often has a higher pH than our skin, which can dehydrate and irritate skin. It also means that any moisturizer you apply afterwards is simply replacing moisture that the soap has stripped, rather than being able to do its job properly by not disrupting skin’s moisture barrier.

Go for a soap-free cleanser or switch to a cleansing oil like Grapeseed Oil. Not only is it a master at getting tough on stubborn make-up, it’s high in skin-loving fatty acids that help nourish and strengthen your skin to make it look beautiful.

Woman holding a bar of soap under running water

Artificial perfume and fragrance

Ever wondered how many real roses are in your fave floral face wash? Our guess is a big zero. Yep, the reality is that artificial perfume and fragrance can contain ingredients that are irritating to your skin. Be on the look-out for fragrance-free unscented products if you’re prone to irritation from fragrances.

Pink rose, skin cream and perfume