Plastic Bottles Saved


Plastic Bottles Saved

Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare


Did you know that 60%* of what you put onto your skin goes into your body?

More than ever we are aware of what we are putting into our bodies. There has been a huge shift towards eating cleaner diets that are protein-rich and full of organic fresh vegetables and healthy fats. Application of this nutritional knowledge is applied to gain results; building muscle, trimming fat and helping to keep your body in peak condition.

The same should apply to your skincare. What goes into your skincare is absorbed through the skin, and will end up going into your body. The ingredients within the skincare you use can have a hugely beneficial effect on your body and your overall health, which is why it is essential to know what ingredients to avoid in cosmetics.

Many brands claim to be ‘green’ but the only way to really tell is to turn the product over (as you would food) and read the ingredients list. So, what ingredients in beauty products are harmful? Here are the top nasties to look out for and avoid, and also some good things to look for.

ingredients to avoid in skincare



1. Petrol Chemicals 

Petrol chemicals can be called anything from Petroleum, Petroleum Jelly, Mineral Oil, and Liquid Paraffin - all of these ingredients are used as a barrier product. For us here at Proverb, shea of mango butter would be preferable to petroleum. While it barriers well, in our experience, they never solve the issue they are there to alleviate. Lip balms for example are nearly all petroleum based and why we believe people have to so repeatedly put them on.

Petroleum by-products coat the skin and subsequently clog pores. Used in many products because it is cheap and inert. It is in most cleansers, moisturisers and baby products.

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate will be in all your shampoos, bubble baths and children’s body washes. It is also used in engine degreasers, car washes and floor cleaner. It is a cheap foam and thickener and is what makes bubbles. A potential skin irritant with strong links to eczema and psoriasis.

3. Synthetic fragrance

If you suffer with sensitive skin, this is the ingredient most likely to cause you problems and skin irritation. Legally you don’t have to declare all your fragrance ingredients and can just put ‘Parfum’. This one word can be used to hide 20-100+ ingredient parts. You can roughly tell how much fragrance/parfum is in the product by looking at where it is on the INIC (ingredients list) on the back of the product - the higher up it comes in the ingredients list, the more there is.

4. Parabens

These are preservatives used to extend shelf life of products. Widely used in the beauty industry. An increasing number of studies have shown a risk of skin rashes and in the worse case that they are a potential carcinogen.

5. Phenoxyethanol

An anti-bacterial preservative used by many ‘fake’ natural brands to replace preservatives. Increasing data shows it has potential to irritate skin and lungs so we won’t use it.

Petroleum in Skin Care

Kirstie Sherriff, Proverb Skin founder, is a leading mind in the world of organic and natural skincare. In this video, she takes us through the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of skincare ingredients and why it's so important to read what’s in the bottle. Public enemy no.1 are ingredients in skincare derived from Petrol. 

But does my skin even absorb these chemicals? Well, in short, yes. A more in-depth look shows that different ingredients are absorbed at different rates depending on a number of factors, but up to 70% of what you put on your skin can be absorbed into your body.

Since what goes into your skincare can often end up going into your body, changing the way you think about this will change the way you think about looking after your skin and body and the products you use. So, let’s go over what ingredients should be in your skincare.


1. Organic Superfoods

Using products that include organic super foods such as Açai, Pomegranate and Avocado is a great way to give your skin an extra boost. Considered one of the most powerful and nutritions superfoods on the planet, Açai has been used for centuries by natives of Brazil. It has one of the highest known ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) values in the world. Açai scored an ORAC value of 185, red grapes got 11, blueberries 32 and pomegranate 105. The Açai phytophenols and anthocyanins (the colour pigment in the fruit skin) are the potent anti oxidants which play a critical role in neutralising free radicals within the body.

2. Powerful Antioxidants such as Sea Buckthorn, Mountain Pepper and Jojoba

Powerful antioxidants such as Mountain Pepper, Jojoba and Sea Buckhorn are just a few of the ingredients you ideally want to find in your skincare. 

Sea Buckthorn in particular, chosen due to its impressive nutritional profile. The summer green shrub with coral red edible berries is native to Europe and Asia. Containing over 190 nutrients and phytonutrients including vitamin C at a 12 x higher level than an orange. Hence its new place as a superfood! The seed oil part comprises of unsaturated essential fatty acides including Linoleic and Linolenic acides, while the pulp oil is unsaturated essential fatty acids, carotenoids and vitamin E. It's the main known source of Omega 7, which is anti inflammatory, 

3. Vitamins A, C and E

This one we are sure wont come as much of a surprise, we are all vastly aware of the benefits of taking the correct vitamins to aid our lifestyle - but what about in your skincare? Vitamin C is known to contribute to normal collagen formulation for the function of the skin and to release anti-oxidants, which are imperative to healthy skin function. As you you become older, your skin will slowly loose collagen and its elasticity, which is why we find ourselves with wrinkles! By taking oral supplements of vitamins (once consulting your doctor, GP or health professional first) or through your skincare within the ingredients.

4. Marine Botanicals

Marine botanicals or commonly known as Marine Algae is rich in fatty acids and hydrating ingredients that help the skin to retain moisture, as well as having anti-inflammatory properties that reduces the pooling of blood underneath the skin's surface, which can result in redness.

5. Natural Proteins

You may be questioning what on earth natural proteins are... But they are easy to understand, when you know.  The molecular structure is similar to that of the collagen fibres that make up the skin (a lot like Vitamin C mentioned above). It naturally increases the elasticity of skin, speeds up skin metabolism, prevents wrinkles, tightens skin, smooth and delicate.

At Proverb we are firmly committed to produce only clean, organic and natural products that are proven to work. We are the first UK male skincare brand to receive EWG verification and certification, each ingredient is ethically sourced and each product formulated to ensure the most effective results while using organic and natural ingredients.

Any questions about any ingredients please do drop our experts an email at we’re always happy to help whether it’s a question about Proverb or any other brand out there. Our mission to get everyone to start checking the ingredients in their skincare as you would the ingredients in your food.

For more information on what ingredients you should be avoiding, please download our free PDF with a comprehensive guide to what you should be watching out for here.