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Les ingrédients déconseillés aux peaux sensibles

Ingredients not recommended for sensitive skin.

Sensitive skin requires special attention. Often prone to redness and allergic reactions, certain active ingredients can be particularly aggressive. Here is a list of ingredients to avoid if you have sensitive skin.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (A.H.A.)

Often used in peelings, these fruit acids are known for their exfoliating virtues. Indeed, they have the ability to detach dead skin on the surface and thus stimulate the renewal of the epidermal cells.

In skincare, there are several types of AHA, including:

  • Theglycolic acid, derived from sugarcane, is renowned for its exfoliating power on the upper layers of the epidermis, as well as for its astringent and deep-cleansing virtues. It also has a moisturising power due to its stimulating effect on cell renewal and the synthesis of hyaluronic acid.

  • Thelactic acid is obtained through the fermentation of milk and certain fruits. In addition to its keratolytic properties, researchers have shown that it improves skin hydration. Due to its larger molecular weight compared to glycolic acid, thelactic acid remains on the skin's surface. This superficial action allows it to exfoliate and hydrate the skin without causing irritation. Furthermore, it is a molecule naturally present in the skin as it is part of the Natural Moisturising Factor (NMF).

  • Themandelic acidoriginates from almonds. This active ingredientalso has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it particularly recommended for blemish-prone skin.

In order to remove dead cells from the skin's surface, these acids possess mildly exfoliating properties. The hydrolipidic film of sensitive skin is already weakened. The application of treatments containing AHA acids can further assault it, potentially causing irritation, redness, and even eczema.

Take note! Glycolic acid is the most sensitising A.H.A. due to its small size, it penetrates deep into the epidermis. Some sensitive skin types may not tolerate glycolic acid but can tolerate lactic and/or mandelic acid. The best course of action is to perform a skin tolerance test: apply a small amount of the product in question to the inside of the elbow and see if it produces any skin reaction.

Fragrance agents.

The scents of skincare products can be part of the reasons why we choose them. However, on sensitive skin, fragrance can be the cause of allergic skin reactions. The substances that produce the fragrance can cause irritations, redness, swelling, and skin rashes.

Thus, fragrances can be triggering factors for irritant contact dermatitis, even though they constitute a minuscule percentage of a product.Substances with aromatic or fragrant properties are therefore considered potentially allergenic. Furthermore, the list of ingredients on a cosmetic product (INCI list) does not inform whether the manufacturer has used an essential oil, a synthetic substance or an isolated component to scent a formula. Consequently, all these active ingredients are subject to the same INCI denomination. For instance, geraniol and linalool are listed among the 26 allergens regulated by Europe. However, these synthetic compounds are more sensitising than those of natural origin.

However, for sensitive skin, it is recommended to choose neutral skincare products that do not contain any fragrance. Without the presence of scenting agents, the skincare products will be gentle and better tolerated by sensitive skin.

Sulphated surfactants.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) or sodium lauryl sulphate (LSS), is apowerful detergentand asurfactant. It is found in household products for its excellentdegreasing power, but also in hygiene products such as toothpastes, shampoos, shaving foams, soaps, etc... This foaming agent is currently criticised for two main reasons:

  1. Its irritating effect:

    Its detergent properties can be too strong for some sensitive skin types to the point of causing dryness. The SLS destroys the hydrolipidic film, which results in a feeling of tightness after cleansing. It also alters the proteins of the skin and ocular cell membranes, leading to irritations and redness. For this reason, shower gel and bath product manufacturers are using it less and less, preferring the ethoxylated version (SLES = sodium laureth sulfate) which is less abrasive, but its manufacturing process is highly polluting. It should be noted, SLS is still authorised in organic products, while SLES is not.

  2. Its polluting nature:
    SLS is also identified as a pollutant to the environment, animals, aquatic habitats, and even plants.REACH (European Regulation to secure the manufacture and use of chemical substances) classifies this substance asecotoxic.

As a precautionary principle, Typology does not introduce sulfates into its cleansing products for the face and hair. Find here our blacklist of ingredients.

Some essential oils.

Despite their numerous benefits for the body, essential oils can be harsh on the skin. For topical application, these types of oils are generally not used in their pure form. Essential oils are most often diluted in a neutral vegetable oil, known as a carrier or vector oil, before being applied to the skin.

There are numerous essential oils that contain potentiallyallergenicorhyper-sensitisingmolecules such aslimonene, linalool,geraniol or even citrals.

Even though the risk of allergy depends on one's allergic predisposition, it is essential to perform askin tolerance testin the crook of the elbow or wrist with the essential oil in question. Moreover, repeated and prolonged use of the same essential oil can promote an allergic reaction, so remember to take breaks during use.

Here is a list of essential oils containing allergenic molecules in significant quantities: aneth, angelica, bergamot, bergaptene-free bergamot, cajeput, cinnamon (bark), lemon, clove, coriander seed, rose geranium, fragrant inula, bay laurel, lemongrass, green mandarin, lemon balm, lemon myrtle, sweet orange, compact oregano, Spanish oregano, palmarosa, grapefruit, turpentine, exotic verbena, fragrant verbena.


Many toners, creams, and deodorants contain alcohol. This ingredient allows for quick drying, but it also reduces the skin's hydration, leading to irritation and itching.

Alcohol can appear in various forms in a cosmetic product: Alcohol Denat, SD Alcohol 40-B,SD Alcohol 40-A,SD Alcohol 40,SD Alcohol 39-B,SD Alcohol 38-B,SD Alcohol 3-B,Polyvinyl Alcohol or even isopropyl alcohol.These compounds disrupt the skin's natural hydrolipidic film, leading to dryness, cracks, irritation, tightness, and vulnerability to external aggressions. Moreover, they can exacerbate certain skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea.

Take note! Benzyl alcohol (INCI: Benzyl Alcohol), which can also be referred to as phenylmethyl alcohol, is an effective ingredient for inhibiting the proliferation of bacteria within the product. Introduced in small doses (< 1%), its drying effect is minimal. Furthermore, itis on the list of 26 allergens regulated by Europe and it is authorised in organic products. For this reason, it is present in several of our serums at a concentration of less than 1%.


Retinol belongs to the family ofretinoids, which are derivatives ofvitamin A,such as retinoic acid and retinal. Retinol is permitted up to0.3%in a non-rinse cosmetic product.In practical terms, this active ingredient exfoliates the surface of the epidermis and removes dead cells. It also stimulates cell renewal and regulates the activity of melanocytes responsible for hyperpigmentation. Moreover, it boosts the production of collagen and elastin. No wonder it is recommended for smoothing skin texture and plumping up wrinkles!

The most common adverse effect following the use of a retinol-based skincare product is an irritated skin characterised by the onset of redness, itching, and even slight burns. This is why this active ingredient is not recommended for sensitive and/or atopic skin. However, it is important to note that retinol requires a period of skin adaptation; if slight, bearable redness appears, it does not necessarily require discontinuation of its use.

What precautions should be taken?

  • Before applying a retinol treatment to your face, we advise you to carry out askin tolerance test. In other words, apply a few drops of the product in question behind the ear, on the wrist or in the crook of the arm and observe what happens. If a significant skin reaction occurs, do not apply the retinol treatment to your face.

  • We advise you to allow your skin time to adapt to retinol to prevent it from reacting too intensely. You can thus start by using a retinol treatment every two or three days, then gradually increase the frequency of application, but always in the evening.

  • It may also be relevant to combine this active ingredient with a product containing a highly moisturising ingredient, such as hyaluronic acid, to counteract the potential drying effect of retinol. For example, for a smoothed and hydrated skin upon waking, you can apply a few drops of our plumping serum with hyaluronic acid, followed by a dab of firming cream with retinol, during your evening beauty routine.


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