The common ingredient in cosmetics causing accelerated ageing

The common ingredient in your cosmetics and hair care products causing dryness, sensitivity and accelerated ageing

  • Australian skin therapist Robyn McAlpine lifted the lid on skincare ingredients
  • The expert revealed a commonly used agent causes accelerated ageing
  • The substance is used in almost all cosmetics and also triggers dryness

With hundreds of ingredients listed on the side of our favourite cosmetics, it can be hard to tell what’s really inside our favourite beauty products.

Australian skin therapist Robyn McAlpine lifted the lid on the single most damaging ingredient found in almost all skincare and self-care concoctions: emulsifiers.

Speaking to FEMAIL, the New South Wales-based expert explained why this commonly used chemical can wreak havoc with our skin.

Australian skin therapist Robyn McAlpine (pictured) lifted the lid on the single most damaging ingredient found in almost all skincare

‘Emulsifiers are soap-based substances found in a wide variety of cosmetics and personal care products, including moisturisers, foundation, shampoo and conditioner,’ she said.

‘Emulsifiers act as a binding agent which work to fuse ingredients that do not agree with one another otherwise, such as oil and water which cannot be blended on their own. 

‘Emulsifiers are one of the most common and dominant ingredients in skincare.’


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Ms McAlpine explained that the problem with emulsifiers arises due to the structural make up of human skin.

‘Our skins barrier and the fluid between our skin cells is made of oil and water.

‘When we apply a product containing an emulsifier, the binding agent knows it should bind oil and water – including the oil and water within your skin layer.

‘This disrupts the skins barrier function and results in a washed out, stripped and dried out effect.

‘When the skin dries, it accelerates sensitivity, ageing and ultimately the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.’

‘When we apply a product containing an emulsifier, the binding agent knows it should bind oil and water – including the oil and water within your skin layer’ (stock image)

Ms McAlpine uses the bespoke brand Dermaviduals in her Newcastle clinic, which uses no binding agents in its products.

She urged beauty enthusiasts to read cosmetic labels carefully to understand exactly what you are putting on your skin.

‘You should look for moisturisers and serums without emulsifiers – read the ingredients list!’ She said.

‘Everyone’s skin is different, which is why individually tailored care regimes like the ones offered by Dermaviduals are the best on the market.’

Ms McAlpine stressed the importance of fish oil and staying hydrated for clear, supple complexions

From a dietary perspective, Ms McAlpine stressed the importance of fish oil and staying hydrated for clear, supple complexions.

‘To care for the skin’s natural oil we must eat a diet rich in Omega 3. Fish oil supplements will work wonders, they give cells what they need to create a natural oil and water balance without any topical treatments.

‘Drinking plenty of water is also essential for maintaining skin elasticity.’

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