Top Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care

Cosmetic Acupuncture with Olivia Shurdova

Top Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care

Ever since I started offering Cosmetic and Facial Constitutional Acupuncture over a decade ago I have been researching and offering alternative skin care products in my practice.

Up until then I was caught in the mainstream belief that good products have to be attached to big brand names, whether it was make-up, or creams and potions I was after. They were generally sold at bigger department stores or pharmacies, and I would generally look more at the advertisements than the ingredient lists.

That all changed when I started incorporating ‘scar work’ into my Cosmetic Acupuncture. Facial Constitutional Acupuncture doesn’t just diminish and eliminate wrinkles and fine lines, but also scars. And since I Ioved incorporating cleansers and creams into Cosmetic Acupuncture treatments anyways, I wanted to look for a good topical application for scars. During that time, “Bio Oil” was constantly advertised on TV – being “The” product to use for all kinds of scarring, on the face and body.

But let me explain just a little about acupuncture and working on scars. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, scar tissue can block the flow of energy through our channels and meridians, causing various physical imbalances. Applying acupuncture around the scars (no matter where or what kinds of scars they are) frees up that flow again. For instance, I once had a client with severe, chronic PMS, causing abdominal discomfort and bloating from mid-cycle to the start of her period every month. After working on her old abdominal scar from her appendix surgery (from decades ago!) with acupuncture, those symptoms disappeared after just 3 or 4 sessions, when no other strategies before had worked.

Similarly I had a client a few years ago who had a tumour removed from her face. It was major surgery and naturally pretty traumatising for her. Six months later we started working on the 3 cm triangular shaped scar below her right eye. After 10 sessions of  Cosmetic Acupuncture the scar was virtually gone. So in this case it worked on diminishing the physical appearance of her scar, as well as much of the mental and emotional trauma associated with it – the desired outcomes she was after.

Back to Bio Oil. Have you ever had a look at their ingredient list? It’s pretty scary. Just like many other skin cosmetics actually. The ingredient Mineral Oil in particular can be so misleading as it sounds like a natural ingredient. But Mineral Oil is nothing more than oil derived from petroleum. It is promoted with the claim that it maintains moisture in the skin and helps prevent dryness. Unfortunately it does so by clogging the pores, which makes the elimination of toxins through the skin very difficult. Not to mention we are applying a toxic ingredient to begin with.

But let’s not focus on Bio Oil alone. Most other conventional/commercial products are just as misleading, and potentially dangerous to our health. What really strikes me is that so many ingredients are banned in some countries but not in others. To make things easy, here is a list of ingredients to look out for when buying skin care, make-up, body wash/soaps and shampoos.

Here are the ingredients to avoid in alphabetical order:

  • BHA
  • Coal Tar
  • Ethoxylated surfactants and 1,4-dioxane: oftentimes not listed but included, best to look for letters “eth”
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrance/Parfum
  • Hydroquinone
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Mineral Oil
  • Oxybenzones
  • Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid and retinol – becomes carcinogenic when exposed to sunlight
  • Parabens
  • Paraphenylenediamine (PPD)
  • Phthalates
  • Placental Extract
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • Silicone-derived emollients
  • Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES)
  • Talc
  • Toluene
  • Triclosan

The ingredients above are unfortunately found in almost anything we can apply onto our skin. So please be on the lookout, whether you’re buying moisturiser, shampoo, mascara or even lubricant!

Thankfully we live in an era with so many alternative options now. I am not going to list all natural products as there are too many to choose from! I also prefer to buy local products and in my Cosmetic Acupuncture treatments I use a range of organic, essential oil based products either from Purestuf or Mukti Organics, both of which are Australian and handmade with love. No, you won’t find them on the shelf but you can order them online. I can absolutely vouch for these products as I have used Purestuf for the last 10 years and Mukti Organics for over 2 now. As for shampoos and body wash, I personally love the Australian brand Springfields.

I also find that natural, organic, essential oil based products like these not only smell wonderful and feel amazing, but in fact are so much more effective for the desired outcomes they are supposed to achieve in the first place. I actually used to suffer from acne and breakouts and I simply haven’t had any issues since I changed my entire beauty regime to natural products.

If you would like any more help or assistance on this, or would like to find out how Cosmetic and Facial Constitutional Acupuncture can help you achieve more lasting beauty results, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

In beauty and good health,


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