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Our Ingredient No-No List Explained: Why We Don't Use These Nasties


The next time you skip reading the label on your favourite moisturiser, remember this, your skin is the largest organ on your body. Majority of the ingredients you lather on it absorb into the bloodstream. Not to mention all of the abundantly available science on how some ingredients are endocrine disruptors and hamper production of crucial hormones in your body. Parabens have been linked to endocrine disruption, thyroid disorders, obesity and even hormone-related cancers. Ask yourself the question, if these ingredients that you apply on your body which can be absorbed and enter your bloodstream, why would you want to restrict being mindful about the ingredients only when it comes to eating healthy?

For Ilana, sustainability is a priority, Whether that means using sustainable ingredients, choosing biodegradable packaging which is better for the environment or reducing wastage. When looking towards the future as well, our goal will never waiver from us being an integral part of your skincare routine. But at the same time, we have to consider our impact on the planet as well, which is our home. In that regard, we have compiled a short list of ingredients that you should avoid at all cost, and why we have them on this strict No-no list.

Mineral Oil, Paraffin

Paraffins are produced as a by-product of petroleum and forms an impenetrable layer around the skin. It clogs the pores and causes breakouts since your skin is unable to eliminate toxins. Using Mineral oils over a period of time in your skincare regime causes build up in the body as it enters through broken patches of skin or when used in lip balms. Apart from its long term health impact, paraffin is harmful to the environment as well. According to experts, paraffin is non biodegradable. It leaves behind a residue in the environment and emits toxic fumes when it comes in contact with oxygen in water or air. It is carcinogenic in nature and creates pollution to the air we breathe on burning.



Firstly, what is a Paraben? They are commonly found in ingredients like butylparaben, isobutyl paraben, propylparaben, and ethyl paraben. Although it has a wide application in skincare being a preservative, it has received immense flack in recent times due to its health and environment impact. While its usage in small doses in limited products is permissible, over a period of time it causes the skin barrier to break down. More importantly, parabens have been linked with ecological harm. Even low levels of butylparaben can kill coral and have been detected in surface water, fish and soil sediments. With the lack of concrete research available to us, we at Ilana have made the conscious decision to eliminate its use from any of our product formulations and opt for alternatives that are 100% safe for you, as well as the environment.


Synthetic Perfumes

Skincare is one of the most therapeutic and luxurious forms of self care. Those 10 minutes of pampering in the morning and night are our favourite parts of the day. Fragrance and aroma are an integral part of this process. While we make every attempt to refrain from adding synthetic perfumes to our products, adding IFRA certified fragrances where absolutely necessary cannot be avoided. IFRA refers to the International Fragrance Association, that is instrumental in regulating the products created by the fragrance industry on a global scale by holding dialogues with all key stakeholders involved. These IFRA approved fragrances have been carefully scrutinised to study any harmful side effects and have been deemed completely safe for cosmetic and personal use. In most cases we strive to use essential oils or natural food grade flavours. Synthetic perfumes can create hormonal imbalances, cancer and allergies. Perfume contains volatile organic compounds that cause ozone contamination while reacting with sunlight and other chemicals in the atmosphere.



Talc also known as anhydrous magnesium silicate is the main ingredient found in loose and pressed powders. With most talc compounds being contaminated with asbestos (a known carcinogenic), it becomes important to ensure that the brand is transparent in its sourcing or uses substitutes like corn starch, rice powder or mica. Although limited use of talc can be granted for human use, it clogs pores and aggravates rashes.

It isn't just a human hazard. The rising demand for talc in skin care is met by illegal mining activities in animal sanctuaries that is in particular destroying the Indian tiger’s habitat.


Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens are made from carbon-based compounds that protect the skin by reacting with UV rays to convert them into heat and release them from the skin barrier. In this context they act as chemical absorbers or Oxybenzones, Oxtinoxates, Octocrylenes, and Homosalates. While a number of brands produce chemical sunscreens, clean skincare uses Zinc and Iron Oxides to formulate their products. At Ilana, we have incorporated SPF into our base products like the Soft Blur foundation and concealer by using Iron oxides that lend natural sun protection. Besides affecting corals, the chemical sunscreens also damage fish, sea urchins, and other aquatic organisms. Places like Hawaii have hence placed a ban on Oxybenzone and concluded that high concentrations of this ingredient in the bodies of aquatic organisms poses damning effects.


Termed as industrial plasticisers in the skincare industry, they are used as skin softeners to assist in dissolving and combining other ingredients. They also make the skin supple and elastic when applied. They are referred to as DHPs, DMPs, BBPs and DNOPs. When used in tandem with synthetic fragrances, they cause reproductive and hormonal issues in men and women. They can also cause and have been linked with breast cancer, reproductive deformities and infertility. In its place, Ilana uses substitutes like Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E as moisturising actives and Castor Oil and Carnauba Wax to promote solubility. Phthalates too, over the years, have found their way into the body of aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.



Sulphates fall under the category of surfactants, which attract both oil and water molecules. In skincare they are responsible for drawing oily dirt to one side of each molecule while clinging to water droplets on the other side. Hence they help get rid of grease and dirt, emulsifying them with water droplets and expelling them down your bathroom drain. While this sounds all well and good, these sulphates accumulate in water bodies and cause toxicity. They also make your hair and skin dull, dry and lifeless by making it more prone to damage. So the next time you feel your hair locks are looking rather lacklustre or your skin feels extra stretchy, check the labels on your products and see if they contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS),Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Taurate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate.

So can you blame us for having any of these ingredients on our No-no list? What we use in our products, where and how it is sourced, and its environmental impact is something we take very seriously. Reducing our carbon footprint, supporting fair trade practices and being transparent and ethical in our manufacturing process is our mission. The world needs kindness today, more than ever before. Kindness in everything we do, especially towards our planet and each other. So are you with us?

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