024: Most Harmful Ingredients Hiding In Skin Care w/ Rachael Pontillo

If you're listening to this podcast, you or someone you know is experiencing angry skin in some form—super dry, red, itchy, burning, cracked, etc. Did you know the ingredients in your skincare products could actually be harming more than they help?

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

To speak more about this, I am joined by Rachael Pontillo, a holistic skincare innovator, author, and educator. Rachael is the bestselling author of the book Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, and co-author of The Sauce Code. She’s a functional nutrition practitioner, AADP and IAHC Board Certified International Health Coach, licensed aesthetician, and natural skincare formulator and educator.

She’s the president and co-founder of the Nutritional Aesthetics™ Alliance, the creator of the popular skincare and healthy lifestyle blog, Holistically Haute™, as well as the much-loved online course, Create Your Skincare. She’s an avid herbalist, skincare ingredient aficionado, and lifelong learner.

Rachael is also my good friend, and my go-to person to ask about the ingredients in skincare products—which is actually our focus for this episode. We'll be talking about surprising skincare ingredients that can really aggravate the skin. 

Have you reacted unexpectedly to supposedly soothing ingredients in your skin products? Tell us about it in the comments!


In this episode

  • Why products at the drugstore for “sensitive” or irritated skin often make things worse
  • Are mass-produced products actually effective for skin rashes?
  • How to read and understand ingredient labels
  • The most harmful ingredients to look out for in a product


The most harmful ingredients in your skincare products

  • water
  • fragrance (aka parfum) Note: “Unscented” is a fragrance!
  • In cleansers, shampoo, body wash, conditioners: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), ammonium laureth sulfate (ALES)
  • soap
  • preservatives
  • parabens (methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben)
  • phenoxyethanol and phenethyl alcohol



“Colloidal oatmeal is a good example of a natural ingredient that is actually an FDA-approved anti-inflammatory.” [6:04]

“Typically, what you see first on an ingredient list is what's primarily in the product, and then it goes down in descending order.” [9:50] 

“I don't recommend products containing water for people who have really irritated and angry skin.” [17:56]

“‘Unscented' is a fragrance. ‘Fragrance-free' means there's no fragrance.” [19:54]






Follow Rachael on Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Interested in trying Rachael's online classes to create your own skincare? Click HERE!


Quote from Rachael Pontillo

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.

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