Top 4 Skin Care Ingredients and How to Use Them

June 26, 2022 ۰ 10 min read

Throw These Ingredients Away!

Let’s be honest… We’ve all fallen for skincare products because of their nice packaging or because everyone else is using them just to find out that they completely do not work for your skin. Now we’re sitting here feeling suckered by big brand companies thinking about how we could have spent those $5-10 trying out that new Starbucks drink instead. The biggest mistake most people make when choosing skincare products is overlooking the ingredients list or not knowing what to look for. This article will go over some of the ingredients that are best to stay away from as well as what to look for depending on your skin type! 

To start off, I wanted to go over some of the few ingredients that you should definitely be cautious about when buying skincare products. I know, I know adding an extra step to buying skincare can be a hassle, but your skin will thank you later! And the scIQ app is here to help you filter products by the ingredients you want or don’t want.


Generally, we would advise to stay away from products that contain denatured alcohols which can be drying and stripping to the skin. However, it does have some pros! Alcohol can help penetrate stubborn dirt and grime stuck on the skin and in pores, providing relief for people with oily skin. If you are prone to oily skin, including alcohol as an ingredient in your choice of toner can actually help (in moderation). However, if you tend to have dry to normal skin, it’s best to stay away from products with alcohol. 

Some variations of alcohol to be cautious about are: 

  • Ethyl Alcohol (ethanol alcohol) 
  • Denatured Alcohol/ Alcohol Denat 
  • Isopropyl Alcohol 
  • Propanol Alcohol 
  • Methyl (methanol) Alcohol 
  • Benzyl Alcohol 
  • Cetyl, Stearyl, Cetearyl, or Lanolin Alcohol (FYI- this particular variation of alcohol is non-irritating though it can still dry the skin. It is typically used as a thickener for skincare products rather than for skin benefits).


Parabens are chemicals that act as preservatives in beauty products that help increase the shelf life of products. However, they can also lead to skin irritation and future skin problems. If you find your skin being more sensitive than usual after trying out a new product, you might want to take a look at the ingredients list and look for parabens. 

Some common parabens are: 

  • Propylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • ethylparaben

Parabens can lead to damaged and broken skin and actually worsen the skin for individuals who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It’s better to look for “paraben-free” or organic skincare products!


Fragrance is not always bad! There are two main types of fragrance: synthetic and natural. Fragrance is typically added to help products stay smelling fresh and increase the probability of users of continuing their use of that specific product.

Fragrance is also usually added to entice users to buy a product that “smells good” though it’s usually covering up the smell of other ingredients you might not want on your skin. However, like parabens since companies are not obligated to list specific fragrances they are using, users might be left with skin irritation, allergic reactions, and damaged or broken skin. Fragrance can also worsen inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea. It is also advised to avoid fragrance if you have sensitive skin and are prone to hyperpigmentation or dark spots. Three of the most common added fragrance ingredients include: benzyl alcohol, benzyl salicylate, and cinnamyl alcohol. But if you do prefer to have a little bit of fragrance it is best to look for naturally derived skincare products to avoid any allergic reaction to synthetic ingredients. 


Everyone’s been raving about charcoal lately. Literally. You can find charcoal products in almost any store. However, use this ingredient with caution! Although charcoal has been proven to be very beneficial to your skin since activated charcoal has the ability to break up dirt and absorb the buildup inside your pores, it can be very drying to your skin. Charcoal can actually overdry your skin and lead to excessive oil production causing acne and blemishes which can later lead to other issues like scarring once the blemishes are healed or hyperpigmentation/ dark spots. 

Don’t get discouraged! Here are some of our favorite ingredients that are tried and true! In order to reap the full benefits we recommend using products that focus on providing the most concentrated formula of the specific ingredient you are looking for.

Salicylic Acid

If you’re looking to target breakouts and acne look for salicylic acid. Salicylic Acid helps reduce inflammation and redness as well as break up dirt and grime stuck deep in your pores. Salicylic Acid also helps exfoliate the top layer of your skin and break up dead skin cells leaving your skin looking fresh and rejuvenated. 


If you’re looking to target hyperpigmentation and dark spots look for products that are rich in Niacinamide. Niacinamide can also help minimize the effects of sun damage targeting wrinkles and fine lines as well as redness and blotchiness in skin pigmentation. 



What’s the secret to youthful looking skin? Retinol. Over at Skinalytics we recommend incorporating retinol into your daily skincare routine as soon as possible. Retinol helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles while building up the skin’s natural skin barrier. Retinol can also help regulate the skin’s oil levels and reduce the possibility of future breakouts. Aside from reducing fine lines and wrinkles, retinol also helps brighten dull skin and tighten giving you the appearance of younger looking skin. 


Don’t forget the ceramides! What’s a ceramide? Ceramides are fatty acids that help strengthen the skin’s natural outer barrier. Ceramides can help improve hydration and pair well together with hyaluronic acid if you want that extra boost of hydration! However, be careful when choosing ceramides rich serums and moisturizers which can lead to clogged pores and hyper oily skin! Opt for oil-free ceramide serums. 

Before you go, when looking at skincare products it’s also important to look at the order in which these ingredients appear. If they are first on the list, this typically means there is a larger quantity of this ingredient included into the product. While ingredients towards the bottom of the list typically mean that there is a small quantity of this ingredient added. If fragrance is #1 on the list, it’s best just to toss but if alcohol is the last, you might be able to get away with keeping this product. And remember, just because it’s a popular brand doesn’t mean that it’s good or that it’s suitable for your skin type! Happy searching!




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