Healthy skin care shouldn’t be painful, but products that cause itching and burning are all too common. Here, we explain the most notorious repeat offenders—and how to avoid them.
Let’s try a fun holiday riddle. What’s scarier than any haunted house, horror movie, or terrifying costume that crops up around Halloween season?
Hint: It’s already lurking in your shower.
If you’re thinking like the Dirt Squad, you know the answer could be any item on a long list of spooky (read: dangerous, suspicious, or downright painful) skin care products. Staying true to the “less is more” philosophy, keep your beauty routine simple and you’ll not only look good, you’ll steer clear of any of any potential horrifying experiences!
Below, we explain why a few common products leave our skin feeling “mysteriously” unpleasant.
1. Aftershave: Smearing on aftershave is notoriously painful. This is because shaving not only nicks up your skin, but exfoliates its outer layer, making it ultra sensitive post-shower. Try gentle, alcohol-free products for a smoother experience.
This famous scene from Home Alone may be responsible for turning off an entire generation to after shave.
2. Glycolic acid scrubs and peels: The intuitive buyer may reasonably think the sheer intensity of acid peels yields better results—the label even sounds powerful. But be careful. The common compound used in DIY peels is called trichloroacetic acid, or TCA, and it is currently on trial for skin corrosion, eye irritation, and carcinogen status. If you want a truly safe peel, consult a dermatologist.
Sex and the City's Samantha Jones shows that even high fashion can't hide the horror of a chemical peel.
3.Hair removal cream: As if the hair-removal process weren’t arduous enough, we have to deal with potentially irritating chemicals like sodium thioglycolate, strontium sulfide and calcium thioglycolate. It makes sense that these alkaline chemicals are, well, unfriendly—they’re literally dissolving the hair proteins on your body. (You shouldn’t have to fight back tears to be fuzz-free, however. Our biome-friendly shampoo makes an excellent shaving cream!)
Netflix series Garfunkel and Oates explore dipilatory cream mishaps in the episode "Maturity."
4.Hair dye: You might not think of dye as a “skincare” product, but this neglects the skin on your neck and scalp. Many consumers report tolerance buildup and subsequent allergic reactions, burning, or tightness when using common dyes, since 99 percent of all formulas include the oft-debated chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD). Whenever possible, try using lemon juice to lighten your strands (or tea to cover grays).
This classic scene from the Tina Fey, Amy Poehler movie Baby Mama shows how to take care of hair dye mishaps with grace. ;-)
5.Environmental creepers: Mother Nature is a sensitive soul. Even if a product spares us physical pain, it might be harmful to the plants, animals, and other organisms around us. Agents like silica, ethanolamine, triclosan, and myriad synthetic fragrances have shown to really spook the natural world.
Unlike our ghoul makeup that promptly vanishes by November 1, many of the chemicals here can last for days, weeks, or longer depending on frequency of use. As a general guideline, we suggest treating skincare ingredients like those listed on a food nutrition label: If a word sounds scary or supernatural, it may well be, and many of their effects have yet to be studied at length. All the more reason to stick to more terrestrial products.
Wishing you a happy, safe, and painless Halloween!