Skin care is a crucial part of anyone's beauty routine and as someone who is constantly reading labels, there are a lot of products out there that are doing more harm than good. It is hard enough maintaining our skin without chemicals bouncing around in our favorite moisturizer, disrupting the process. I am a big believer in minimal, natural ingredients in my beauty products and after reading about these common and potentially harmful skincare ingredients, I hope you will be too.

1. Fragrance

If you take a look at any of the beauty products you own, whether it's skin care, makeup, or hair care, "fragrance" or "perfume" is most likely going to be listed as an ingredient. Mixing in a scent — into skincare products especially — can cause skin irritation. And while a fragrance isn't inherently problematic, nine times out of 10 companies do not list the ingredients that make up the included fragrance, which can lead to a high allergy potential.

2. Salicylic acid

Anyone with acne-prone skin is likely to be familiar with salicylic acid. It is used in many acne fighting products as a means of drying out and eliminating breakouts. Many times it is effective. However, prolonged and excessive use of salicylic acid can lead to dry, red, and peeling skin. In fact, drying out the skin too much may lead to further irritation and breakouts, depending on your skin type. Watch out for this if you have sensitive skin or are not prone to acne.

3. Parabens

Parabens are synthetic preservatives found in a wide range of beauty products. You can easily spot it on an ingredient list by looking for a long word ending with -parabens. Their main purpose is to lengthen the shelf life of your favorite products. What's concerning about this ingredient is that it can mess with your hormones if you are exposed to it through the use of multiple different products. The good news is that many companies are switching to paraben-free formulas for their products.

4. Squalene

Squalene is an oil that is produced by almost all plants and animals. In sharks, the oil comes from their liver. This shark squalene is often used in moisturizers or skin creams due to its easy absorption ability. As a vegan, this grosses me out. But know that not all companies source shark squalene for their products; some use plant-derived squalene instead. The reasoning behind using shark squalene is that it appears to be less expensive than other plant-derived ones. Check your labels and watch out for sharks.

5. Too many unknown ingredients

A tell-tale sign for anyone who is mindful of what they use on their body is a long, long, seemingly never-ending list of ingredients on the back of your favorite beauty products. If you have to Google the unpronounceable list, you might want to invest in another product. It's important to know exactly what you're buying and what effects it may have on you, good and bad. The fewer ingredients, the better. It's safer to go the natural route; take some time and research what natural beauty products are out there for you to try.