Let’s be real. There are a lot of ingredients out there, and it’s hard to know what’s actually good for your skin and what to avoid. Here's my shortlist:
Ingredients to look for:
Colloidal oatmeal is found in moisturizers, shampoos and creams. It’s an emollient, meaning it keeps moisture in your skin, and it’s made by grinding oat grain into a very fine powder. In 2003, the FDA approved it as a “skin protectant”, and now you can find it in many eczema and psoriasis treatments - though, colloidal oatmeal’s benefits are pretty universal and it can be used by all skin types.
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid or L-AA)
Vitamin C is found in many serums, eye creams and moisturizers. It’s an effective topical antioxidant known for reducing UV damage, brightening skin tone and boosting collagen - aka, being an all-around anti-aging ingredient. When shopping for vitamin C, you may find other derivatives of it that contain “ascorb” in their name - just beware, these derivatives may not offer all of the same benefits as pure vitamin C.
Titanium dioxide & Zinc oxide
Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are physical sunscreen ingredients that block UVA & UVB rays. Generally, these are the ingredients you’ll see on any mineral or reef safe sunscreen. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sunscreens are great for sensitive skin, but beware, they can end up leaving a white or purple cast on your skin so make sure you double check in the mirror before heading outside!
Ingredients to avoid:
Sulfates are found in cleansers, shampoos, body wash and other products. They’re a type of surfactant - basically, they act like a degreaser and remove oil from a surface. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl ether sulfate all fall into this category of chemicals. It’s best to avoid sulfates because they can cause skin irritation and overstrip or dry out your skin.
Parabens are used as preservatives in skincare, since they prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. The most common parabens to watch out for on ingredient lists are: butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. It’s best to avoid parabens because they are known to disrupt hormones in the human body and can build up in marine life, too.
Phthalates are used in fragrances or fragranced products. Dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate and diethylhexyl phthalate commonly appear on ingredient lists, but products that just list “fragrance” on their ingredient list can also contain phthalates. It’s best to avoid phthalates because they are also hormone disruptors and some have been linked to cancer and reproductive issues.
The good news is: Chuan Skincare products are sulfates-free, paraben-free, and phthalate-free. I believe in only using high quality, whole and naturally-derived ingredients to create gentle and effective skincare for you. So you'll never see these ingredients on my ingredient lists.