“Parabens,” the term for a group of preservatives used in mainstream beauty products, wasn’t always a dirty word.
In 2004, Dr. Philippa Darbre, a research scientist at the University of Reading in the UK, published a small but pioneering study that showed high concentrations of parabens in human breast tumors.
Women everywhere flipped over their moisturizers to read the list of ingredients.
For lots of healthy types, the frequently stated fact that Diet Coke might be “empty calories” actually goes down just fine compared to office cupcakes, which they’re not regularly scarfing.
And reaching for a diet soda fits nicely into the “allowable-exceptions” category of a healthy New York lifestyle. You know, along with a glass of Sancerre, the occasional dinner at Eataly, and watching the Real Housewives.
But should you allow Diet Coke a free pass?
One of the best pieces of skin-care advice I ever got was also one of the most counterintuitive: Slick my skin with oils. Not just my body….my face. That is, if I wanted to age like Dorian Gray (or just protect my skin from losing its natural luster).
I took some convincing, so I understand why, when I say I’m now an oil-slathering convert, and use oils twice a day under my moisturizer, it often provokes a violent head-shaking reaction. But before you say, “No way, I will break out!” Check to see if you’re not already using one. Your skin-care brand may have just called it a “serum” because you’d never buy it otherwise.
Are you polishing your skin with plastic? You are if your favorite facial scrub contains particles made from polyethelene. It’s a common exfoliating ingredient in such popular products as Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Regeneration Cream Cleanser, the new Neutrogena Rapid Clear Foaming Scrub, and even Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Scrub. Polyethelene beads are made from polymers of ethylene oxide (say that three times fast)—the same synthetic stuff used to make plastic grocery bags.
Fragrance is the problem child ingredient of traditional beauty products. Wild and wily, these molecules of scent can wreak havoc on your skin by causing contact dermatitis, a seriously red and itchy rash, or other allergic reactions like a headache or asthma. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), fragrance is the biggest cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis. It’s up there with nickel and poison ivy, which most people know how to avoid.
You won’t see heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury listed on your beauty product labels. But that doesn’t mean your skin care and makeup is free of them. In fact, your best-selling Sephora lip gloss looks to be loaded with arsenic and other known toxins. A Canadian environmental group recently had 49 popular beauty… Read more »
Most body-care products include just a drop of the high-quality ingredients typically found in ones for the face. That’s what Diane Ginzel learned when she bought her first skin-care dictionary on a quest to be a better label-reader. The Consumers Guide to Milady’s Cosmetic Dictionary became the skintrepeneur’s Joy of Cooking on her path to… Read more »
Linda Wells, the editor of Allure, wrote Confessions of a Beauty Editor. Jean Godfrey-June wrote about her unlikely rise to the top of the moisturizer section of the masthead at Lucky in Free Gift with Purchase. Alexia is making me write this skin care tell-all. Throughout my tenure at the now-shuttered Luxury SpaFinder Magazine, where… Read more »
It’s a buzzkill to discover that your favorite facial cleanser—and one that dermatologists love to recommend— is not so clean. But an increasing number of natural and organic brands are vying for a chance to purify your pores. To find them, you may have to have to look just beyond your neighborhood Duane Reade or… Read more »
Cetaphil probably has the best PR of any facial soap. Beauty magazines gush over it as a no-frills $8 must-have. Dermatologists love to recommend it as a mild and non-irritating facial cleanser for two reasons: it doesn’t contain fragrance and, more tellingly, because MDs have a big Pharma love affair with the manufacturer, Galderma, the… Read more »