skincare ingredients to avoid

Best Skincare Ingredients and Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

skincare ingredients to avoid

What we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bodies and, in turn, affects our overall health and wellbeing. Just as we examine food labels looking to steer clear of Red 40 and high-fructose corn syrup, it’s important to read other labels too, particularly your skincare ingredients. It’s intimidating, though. Hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, niacinamide, AHA — how do you know if these ingredients are going to harm our skin or are actually the main components of some of the best/healthiest skincare products available?

Let us break down some of the best skincare ingredients and skincare ingredients to avoid.

Best Skincare Ingredients

When you think of the best skincare products, ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and retinol might come to mind. Here is a list of the good guys on the back of the skincare product label. Hint: Many of these ingredients are antioxidants for your skin — more on that later.


A vitamin A derivative, retinol is an ingredient that supports cellular renewal, improving your skin in a number of ways. It can promote cell turnover by boosting your skin’s collagen production, visibly smoothing skin’s texture, helping thicken the skin’s appearance and reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Moreover, it is an antioxidant that addresses free-radical damage. It can come in different strengths. Choose a gentle version for sensitive skin and first-time retinol users. Biopelle Retriderm serum has three levels — Mild, Plus and Max — but all formulas are delivered in a protein-rich, aqueous suspension that increases penetration and reduces irritation.

Vitamin C

The antioxidant benefits of vitamin C are plentiful. This vitamin is a popular ingredient as it combats UV damage and helps visibly brighten and even out skin tone. It is a key ingredient in skincare for every age group. A vitamin C serum will help prevent free radical damage and reduce wrinkles and other sun- and environmental-damaging effects to the skin.

When using vitamin C, you may want to pair it with another skincare powerhouse: niacinamide. This ingredient has similar effects on the skin and often works in conjunction with vitamin C to further boost the appearance of youthful-looking skin. It is considered the pore perfector and can control excess oil.

Hyaluronic Acids

Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in our bodies so it’s no wonder we use it as a skincare ingredient for our skin. Hyaluronic acid aids in moisture retention and especially should be applied during times when the weather can dehydrate your skin. Look for dewy, glowy results when using hyaluronic acid on a regular basis.

SCA Biorepair Technology

SCA is a secretion produced by the Cryptomphalus aspersa snail and contains natural growth factors that help promote cellular turnover, leading to more youthful-looking skin. This snail essence, or snail mucin, has become a dermatologist-recommended ingredient for many skincare needs and some applications can even help with skin healing after procedures

CellPro™ Technology

Replenish, reinforce, restore — the three pillars of the award-winning CellPro Technology that is clinically proven to aid stem cell function and promote healthy new skin cells. This is a main ingredient in the cutting-edge Tensage Stem Cell by Biopelle. CellPro is joined by retinol, grape seed extract and emollients to promote moisture balance and support collagen, and it works to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

MEP Technology® 

Emepelle’s patented MEP Technology helps address the root causes of skin aging due to estrogen loss and non-hormonally helps to revitalize skin’s natural source of radiance. Users see improvement in dryness, dullness and laxity over time with results in as little as eight weeks.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids, are a family of chemical compounds often used in skincare. Glycolic acid (from sugar cane) and lactic acid (from milk) the most common forms of AHAs. AHAs can be used both over-the-counter and in aesthetic procedures as chemical exfoliants, working by dissolving the bonds between skin cells, sloughing off dead skin. Over-the-counter products using low concentrations of these acids are usually gentle enough for regular use. 

In high concentrations (up to 70% compared to common at-home concentrations of about 4%), AHAs are used in chemical peels under the supervision of a dermatologist. 

BHAs, or beta hydroxy acids, are also powerful exfoliators. BHAs are oil-soluble, while AHAs are water-soluble. BHAs go deeper into pores and may be helpful for acne. A common BHA is salicylic acid. 

Other notable ingredients:

  • Vitamin E combats free radicals and has anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Peptides promote collagen production to help hydration, improve skin laxity and smooth skin
  • Vitamin K Oxide helps reduce the appearance of dark circles and under-eye pigmentation

Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

Knowing what skincare ingredients to avoid is just as—if not more—important than being aware of those that are good for you. Here is a list of what to avoid when examining your skincare product labels.


One of the main reasons we use skincare at any age is to keep hydrated, so when you see alcohol as one of the main ingredients, put the bottle down and run for the hills. It is drying and can damage the skin’s natural moisture barrier.


Most commonly found in skin lighteners, hydroquinone has been linked to cancer and organ toxicity. This ingredient is banned in the EU and restricted in Canadian cosmetics. While it can brighten dull skin, lighten dark spots, and work as an overall lightener for darker skin tones, the risk is far greater than the reward. The Good Face Project gives the skin-bleaching ingredient and F safety rating. Biopelle brightening products are all hydroquinone-free.


Commonly used as scent carriers, phthalates make products more pliable, helping fragrances stick to the skin. They have been linked to endocrine disruption, ADHD and asthma and are harmful to the environment. Phthalates are banned in the EU.

Mineral oil

It might seem innocuous at first since we love our nighttime facial oils, but mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum and is also known as paraffin. It is possible it could carry carcinogenic impurities.

This is a small list of the ingredients you want to avoid when selecting and using your facial skincare products. Learn more products to avoid on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website.

A Note On Parabens

Parabens are a hot-button issue in the skincare community. While many brands use them, they’ve gotten a bad reputation. They are used as preservatives to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination in products and are often found on ingredient lists as butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. 

There are several reasons for the popularity of parabens in cosmetic formulations.  The main reason is that they are extraordinarily effective at relatively low percents.  This means they can be used at very low levels and not cause any harm.

While it is possible to formulate some cosmetics without preservatives, for the vast majority of topical products, in order to remain safe and effective over the anticipated period of usage, preservatives are necessary. Preservatives by design are active in their interaction with living organisms. This gives them the potential to cause harm in humans as well. The preservatives that have been approved for use in topical products, however, have been proven safe and effective in repeated studies. These studies have generally used preservatives in the quantities in which they were designed to be used in one product.  Problems may occur when one particular preservative is used repeatedly and extensively in numerous products by an individual over a long period of time.

Parabens are recognized as safe by the World Health Organization. In the United States, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) expert panel,  an independent body of internationally recognized medical and scientific experts in safety evaluation, has specifically reviewed Methylparaben and Propylparaben in a 2019 report and concluded that they are safe for use in cosmetic products.

Biopelle uses multiple preservative systems to maintain the safety of our products and to help ensure that any consumer using a variety of our products will not be exposed to a large quantity of any one preservative.  Parabens are found in just two of our products: Tensage Soothing Cream Moisturizer and Tensage Advanced Cream Moisturizer. These products contain low levels of methylparaben and propylparaben to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination. All other Biopelle products are paraben-free. 

As a general guide, we recommend looking at ingredients in the full range of products you use and deciding if you feel comfortable using products that contain parabens. Good skin should never feel stressful!

How Biopelle is Different

Biopelle uses powerful ingredients in smart ways, such as the aqueous solution in Retriderm products that make retinol more effective. Both the Biopelle and Emepelle collections have covered every skincare need, and the effective products are catered to specific desired results. These top-performing ingredients, including SCA, CellPro and MEP, have had clinical success. Enjoy the benefits of retinol, growth factors, stem cells and other active ingredients that Biopelle products provide to women and men from their 20s to their 100s.

Shop now to map out your specific skincare regimen.