Skincare Ingredient Routine No-No’s

Kendall Weatherman
October 27, 2021

When in doubt about what your skin needs, it is best to consult a professional skincare expert with science-backed knowledge

It is important to choose wisely when it comes to your skin care routine. Products with the wrong ingredients, or even duplication of great ones, can cause irritation, hasten aging, compound skin concerns, or worse, potentially harm your health. With docent, it’s all in the name - you never have to worry about contraindicated ingredients or accidentally mixing too many high dose actives: we do that for you. To better understand our dedication to total skin health, read on.

Go pro

When in doubt about what your skin needs, it is best to consult a professional skincare expert with science-backed knowledge. docent has real dermatologists with expertise treating a wide range of skin types and concerns. Each patient is analyzed by a dermatologist who carefully assesses their skin, considers their unique needs, and reviews their history. They then hand select prescription compounds in appropriate doses for you alone.  

But what about over-the-counter products you are already using? Most patients have a medicine cabinet full of products that may be doing nothing, working against them, or that are unsuitable with prescription treatments. We take the guesswork out of creating a holistic regimen. When, for example, a serum you are already using doesn’t work well with a prescription ingredient, we share our thinking on why you should change course and offer safe alternatives.

If you haven’t started using docent, here are a few tips to help you navigate the complex world skin treatment.

What not to mix in your routine

Looking to the internet for “information” about what ingredients to avoid can be quite confusing.  To simplify this process, we’ve created an ingredient “no-no” list containing prime offenders known to irritate the skin, dehydrate it, clog pores, cause rashes.

1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate + Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS for short, is a harsh, inexpensive chemical cleanser that strips moisture from skin and breaks down skin proteins, causing dryness and irritation. Sodium Laureth Sulfate, known as SLES, while considered more benign by some, also dissolves the oils on your skin, so ought to be avoided as well. While thicker oilier skin types may normally tolerate SLS and SLES, with powerful prescription medications, using gentle cleansers is important to keep all skin types hydrated and calm.

2. Exfoliating acids  

Don’t get us wrong, we love exfoliating acids. AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) and BHAs (Salicylic Acid) are an excellent way to stimulate cell turnover and refine skin texture to treat acne, aging, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage. But, when making the choice to use powerful prescription skincare, the skin needs a break from acids, at least initially, to allow time to adjust.  

3. Alcohol

While alcohol can initially kill acne-causing bacteria, it not only causes rebound oil production, but breaks down the skin barrier, irritating and dehydrating all skin types. It damages cells and inhibits the skin’s ability to reduce inflammation and fight free radicals.  

4. Artificial dyes + fragrances

Derived from petroleum, acetone, and tar, studies have shown that many artificial colors are considered allergens and irritants that can causes rashes and hyperpigmentation. Artificial fragrances may also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.  

5. Parabens

Listed as ethylparaben, butylparaben, heptylparaben, propylparaben or methylparaben, these widely used preservatives stop the growth of mold, fungus, bacteria and other microbes from growing in your favorite creams and makeup. But they have become controversial with some arguing that there is no toxicity or link with cancer, while others claim that parabens are absorbed via the skin and digestive system and are linked with allergies, hormone (endocrine) disruption, and developmental, reproductive, and immune toxicity.  Often, individuals do not take into account that they use multiple products such as shampoos, cleansers, shave gels, scrubs, deodorants, toners, moisturizers, conditioners, makeup, toothpastes that may all contain parabens.

6. Mineral oil  

Mineral oil, commonly used in moisturizers to seal in moisture, leaves an occlusive layer that sits on top of the skin. This clogs pores and aggravates acne. Derived from petroleum, mineral oils may also appear as “paraffin” or “petrolatum”.


At Docent, we always to support the health of the skin and body. Skin is the body's largest organ and plays an important role in maintaining overall health: we are committed to playing it safe while achieving your goals…. Take care of it and it will take care of you!


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