With all the creams, masks, and peels out there, do you ever worry about what you’re putting on your skin? Stephanie Schuler, beauty guru and owner of Rūtz Skincare, provides us with her top six ingredients to avoid when shopping for skin care products.

By Liz Petoniak

1 / Mineral Oil

This petroleum by-product can promote acne and other skin disorders. Schuler says, “It is a main ingredient found in many well-known cosmetic companies’ products because it is inexpensive. Rūtz chooses to use a safer and natural ingredient, jojoba oil, in many of our products.”

2 / Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

A commonly used foaming agent in facial cleansers, Schuler warns against products with this compound high up on the ingredient list. “It is commonly used in laundry and dish detergent, as well as your home cleaning supplies,” she says. “I personally don’t want to use the same ingredients on my face as the ones I’m cleaning my floors with!”

3 / Methylchloroisothiazolinone

More than a mouthful, it’s often used as a preservative in cosmetics. But, interestingly enough, it also causes skin erosion! “I’m a betting girl, but I’m going to steer clear of this one!” says Schuler. “A safer option is phenoxyethanol, a non-toxic, broad-spectrum paraben. Rūtz uses this as a better and more natural choice to provide longer shelf life for our products.”

4 / Propylene Glycol

It’s often used as a thickening agent, or to keep products from liquefying in heat. However, propylene glycol is in fact a rancid oil that forms free radicals and damages the skin, which is completely counterproductive. Schuler says, “It’s considered so toxic that workers are required to wear protective gear while handling this product…I’ll pass on this, thanks!”

5 / Isopropyl Alcohol

This ingredient is used as a disinfectant in many skin care products, yet it irritates, dehydrates, and strips the skin of its natural barrier and healthy bacteria. “Cetyl alcohol is a healthy alternative,” she says. “It’s a fatty alcohol that will not dry out the skin’s surface. We use this in Rūtz’s top-selling product, Eye Conquered, which is our eye cream.”

6 / Methyl Paraben

The worst offender on the list, it’s a super cheap chemical preservative that often serves as the paraben of choice for skin care and cosmetic products. “Sadly, traces of these parabens have been found in breast cancer cells,” says Schuler. And, finally, Schuler encourages women to do their own investigations. “There are many reputable websites that speak to ingredients, both chemical and natural,” she says. “Please research what you are putting on your skin — it’s the largest organ you have!”

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