Each day we are inundated with new revolutionary skincare treatments, anti-ageing creams and nourishing serums.
And while many are tempted to try them all, using too many products on your skin can actually cause damage, premature ageing and adult acne.
Dr Donna Marcal, an Australian biochemist and expert in human inflammation, is encouraging women to rethink their skincare regimes after a recent US study revealed that the average woman is using 12 personal care products containing 168 ingredients every day.
‘When doctors prescribe medication they are quick to tell you what other drugs to steer clear of but the same doesn’t happen with skin products, so unknown combinations of chemicals might be interacting which could irritate the skin,’ the Dermatonics founder said.
While many are tempted to try them lots of skincare products, using too many products on your skin can actually cause damage, premature ageing and adult acne
Speaking to FEMAIL, Dr Marcal said it’s concerning to think about the chemical combinations some women are applying every day.
‘Each person uses a different combination of products in their daily routine. Some combinations of chemicals may be safe and others may not be,’ she said.
‘And even though those individual ingredients may be deemed ‘safe’ to use in cosmetics, we don’t know what the combinations do. Unlike the phamaceutical industry, which is much more regulated, the cosmetic industry doesn’t have that indication of chemicals you shouldn’t mix.
‘What we do know is that we seem be seeing an increase in things like eczema, adult acne and hypersensitivity and it’s quite likely that all these products we are using are not helping the situation.’
‘When doctors prescribe medication they are quick to tell you what other drugs to steer clear of but the same doesn’t happen with skin products,’ Dr Donna Marcal said (stock image)
Dr Marcal said women are using way too many skin products that have harsh chemicals in them.
‘We just buy products without paying much attention to what is in them. I also think many women are overdoing it with make up that is applied every day and products that go underneath to cover everything up,’ she said.
‘This includes both make up and skin creams. We really need to make sure we are reading our labels to see what’s in a product. I think it’s unfortunate to see so many young women with so much make up to make themselves look “beautiful”.’
One of the biggest mistakes, she says, is that women aren’t choosing products that are safe for their skin.
What should you be wary of when choosing your skincare?
Packaging – Choose products contained in airless pump container because it means there will be less preservatives present that irritate the skin. Creams in a jar with a lid need a huge amount of preservatives to stop it from discolouring or separating and going cluggy.
Colours – Creams that look pure white may have a bleaching agent in it which means more unnecessary chemicals on your skin. So watch out for colours added or bleaching agents added to get the cream a beautiful colour that appeals. It’s okay if a cream is not perfectly white, that’s most likely the active ingredients contributing to the different colours of your cream.
Alcohol – They are not all bad, some are not actually a true alcohol but a side chain on a chemical. But watch out for alcohols at the top of the ingredients list as that is most likely harsh on your skin and will dry your skin out.
Smell – There is no need for a cream to have a very perfumy smell, that is not great for your skin. If a cream smells a bit medicinal, that may be a good thing as the creators have left the formula as is with the ingredients giving you the scent you smell.
Harsh chemicals – You want to stay away from harsh chemicals including sulfates, phthalates and parabens. There are much better ingredients on the market that do the same job as these chemicals without being harsh on your skin or harmful.
Dr Donna Marcal is an Australian biochemist and expert in human inflammation
‘We go and buy a product, perhaps because it is endorsed by someone, and just start using it. However, these products may not be the best for the result we want,’ she said.
‘It’s important to spend a little bit of time getting a consultation from a qualified skin therapist that can analyse your skin and yourself as a whole to determine what kinds of products are the best for you.
‘Many of us are extreme too, we either use way too many products, or hardly any at all. A happy medium is best for our skin. Take the time to think why you are using each product.’
Dr Marcal said to look out for ingredients that dry out your skin or that are harsh, such as sulfates and alcohols, which can contribute to wrinkle formation.
Some good examples of natural ingredients that contain antioxidants are pomegranate, resveratrol, natural vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) and green tea extract
‘Petroleum based products or other ingredients that clog your pores will contribute to the ageing process,’ she said
‘Petroleum based products or other ingredients that clog your pores will contribute to the ageing process,’ she said.
‘Chemical sunscreens are also bad as well, it is important to use sunscreen to help protect from UV damage, but watch for sunscreens that have harsh chemicals such as oxybenzone and bensophenone-3, just to name a couple as these chemical are actually more damaging when they get exposed to the sun. ‘
On the other end of the spectrum, there are specific ingredients that will do you some good.
‘If you are aiming to help prevent the signs of ageing, it is really important your skin care products contain antioxidants,’ she said.
Turmeric is a super food for skin because it has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, so it is excellent for wound healing and helping to treat and prevent acne
Top tips for overhauling your skincare regime
1. Keep it simple – but effective, if you are new to a regime, a good cleanser, moisturiser and eye cream will do
2. Read the labels – Have a look at what’s in the product. Don’t just follow advertising. Watch out for nasty chemical names especially at the top of the ingredients list
3. Wash your face every night – at minimum, this is critical. Keeping makeup on overnight or not washing it off properly can speed up the ageing process
4. Go natural – With skin care products, this is getting easier every day. There are some really good natural skin care products out there that have naturally sourced active ingredients
5. Do it every day – For time poor women, this may seem challenging, but do yourself a favour and make sure to take care of yourself and take just a few minutes every day to take care of your skin
‘It is also important that your products contain multiple antioxidants, not just one, as they work together in nature. Antioxidants help to scavenge free radicals that we are exposed to every day.
‘Free radicals damage DNA and eventually the whole cell and this promotes ageing. Some good examples of natural ingredients that contain antioxidants are pomegranate, resveratrol, natural vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), green tea extract, kakadu plum and lycopene.’
While using too many products is a bad idea, using nothing at all will also wreak havoc on your complexion.
‘I’ll be honest, I used to be one of these people when I was younger and before I educated myself more about skincare products,’ Dr Marcal said.
‘When you have no routine at all, your skin can really become dehydrated and very undernourished. Also, you are leaving your skin much more prone to breakouts if you are not washing your face properly.
‘Even if you drink lots of water from the inside, you may not be getting the hydration from a good product on the outside. You won’t be helping the ageing process at all if you are not taking care of your skin properly.’
‘So many people forget about eye cream. This could partially be because many eye creams can be very expensive, so women forgo that part,’ Dr Marcal said
Dr Marcal founded Dermatonics to offer a natural, science-based approach to skincare
Eye creams are also crucial, especially as we age.
‘So many people forget about eye cream. This could partially be because many eye creams can be very expensive, so women forgo that part,’ Dr Marcal said.
‘We should start using it before we actually see wrinkles. We should help prevent the ageing process, both outside and in, before it starts. By your 30s I would start using an eye cream to help prevent those nasty fine lines and crows feet.’
Dr Marcal founded Dermatonics to offer a natural, science-based approach to skincare.
‘We have combination of base moisturisers that ensure the products are highly hydrating and the products are packed with multiple natural, active ingredients that work together in synergy,’ she said.
‘We use a unique process of ingredient purification to ensure many of the ingredients are super-pure but also remain active. We’ve also kept the routine you need simple.
‘Your key moisturiser will have all the ingredients you need. There are no harsh chemicals, no animal products and the formulation of each product is carefully researched before development, to ensure each ingredient will give a benefit to the product.’