Listen up Comrades!

Just like you read the labels on your food (hopefully, at least to some degree), so should you read the labels on your body care products. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so whatever you put on your skin, you put in your body. The good news is it’s becoming increasingly easier to find skincare products with a list of natural, more easily recognizable ingredients.

Here’s a rundown of three big things to avoid when it comes to products for your skin, and what to look for instead:

Avoid: Fragrance / Artificial Fragrance / Synthetic Fragrance / Parfum
While fragrance may give that manly musk, seeing the word on your skin care product’s ingredient list is way less attractive. It’s a loophole word that covers all manner of sins, including many hidden chemicals that are derived from petroleum. Fragrances are one of the top allergens and are known to cause hormone disruptions. Look out for fragrances in basically all your body care products, from shampoo to deodorant.

Look For: Essential Oils
While you’re headed in the right direction if your body care products don’t include any fragrances, essential oils are a better bet if you need a little extra scent because they are naturally derived from plants.

Avoid: Polyethylene
Polyethylene is the most common type of plastic. That’s right, you are attempting to rub plastic into your skin. This ingredient normally manifests as those little microbead which are meant to exfoliate. Polyethylene can cause skin irritation and when they don’t pop, they can actually make it into waterways and cause other issues.

Look For: Ground Nuts, Coffee, Sugar, Sea Salt or Oatmeal
A good exfoliation leaves that skin soft by sloughing off dead skin cells. Exfoliating won’t only make your skin look better, it will help your skin absorb all those other natural products (whose labels you have read) and do their job.

Avoid: Triethanolamine (TEA)
This unwelcome ingredient is typically found in shaving gels and creams and serves as a pH balancer and emulsifier. Products with TEA aren’t meant to be kept on the skin for long (that’s comforting) and it has earned a rep as a respiratory toxicant and cancer-causer.

Look For: Plant Waxes, Natural Oils
Some sort of lubricant when you’re shaving is definitely mission critical, but look for natural alternatives like plant waxes, aloe vera, or coconut, olive and other oils. Maybe it won’t be the foam you expect, but a smooth glide will protect the skin from razor burn.

These three are just a small representation of the funky crap that is in our body care products. Check out the ingredient list, and if something seems odd (un-freakin-readable), do your research. A little bit of perusing and it’s easy to find natural alternatives to many of these problem-causing artificial chemicals. This is your body we are talking about!