Skincare Ingredient Red Flags

A few weeks ago I attended a special presentation by Diana Howard, Ph.D., International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica vice president of research and development, who shared her thoughts on the latest skincare ingredient trends. Here are a few, according to Howard, to steer clear of at your spa:

  • Hydroquinone is effective for reducing hyperpigmentation but brings a bundle of risks, such as ochronosis, dermatitis, and photosensitivity, that outweigh the benefits. It’s banned in Europe and many Asian countries so brighten unwanted spots another way.
  • Bee venom contains several active toxic compounds, such as neurotoxin, hemorrhagic, and hemolytic. Though it may help stimulate collagen, according to Howard, the extraction method often hurts the bees in the process.
  • Stem cells often appear in untested cosmetics and unapproved procedures, and in turn endanger clients. Accompanying claims are lofty and alluring, but the possibility of unintended and potentially harmful effects remains largely unexamined.

Howard also shared her favorite ingredients that are worth the hype. What do you think about these controversial ingredients?