Ask Dr. Anna:
Why should you always check your labels?

Have you ever looked at your personal care products to analyze the ingredient labels (INCI)?

One of the reasons I became interested in skincare was in the operating room. During an anesthetic for a long surgery, I was analyzing the label on a multipurpose silicone skin cream, supplied for health care professionals to moisturize their hands.

It was silicone based and full of BHA/BHT, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propyl paraben, butylparaben, and “fragrance” (could be a host of other unnamed preservatives).

These chemicals are hormone disruptors, estrogen mimickers, potentially carcinogenic with repeated exposure, and toxic to the environment. They are also very common in beauty and skincare products.

Chemicals like these can produce organ system toxicity especially in the lymphatic and hematologic systems as well as are immunogenic which means they can with time be irritating and cause allergic reactions. They are added to everything we use as surfactants, penetration enhancers, preservatives, and chelating agents (just look at your shampoo).

I encourage you to read labels carefully. Steer clear of preservatives such as methylisothiazoline, phenoxyethanol (a phenol like is used to preserve cadavers), retinyl palmitate, retinoic acid, sodium laureth sulfate, parabens, siloxanes, BHA, BHT, hydroquinone and hundreds of others.

Even the so-called “natural” and “organic” products are actually chemicals derived from nature and organic farming. In fact, botanicals are the hardest to preserve, therefore have more preservatives than many synthetic additives such as vitamin B3 otherwise known as niacinamide.

Sunscreens are the worst offenders. Even companies that are better than other companies with natural, organic and eco friendly are still adding preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and chemical sunscreens such as oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate.

Many chemical ingredients in cosmetics have never been tested for their effects on humans and the environment. Health Canada and Environment Canada are slowly working their way through the assessment of some 4000 existing substances, including chemicals in cosmetics, that have been categorized as potentially toxic to humans or the environment.

We have no studies on the long term effects of repeated cumulative exposure to these chemicals so they have not been banned. They are on the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist and the manufacturer has been advised to:

  • remove the ingredient
  • reduce the concentration of the ingredient
  • provide evidence the product is safe for intended use
  • confirm that product is labeled as required
  • confirm product is in a child resistant package

I wanted to do better than this! Our products are transparent, simple, effective and 100% safe for the consumer and our planet. The skincare line is customized, medical grade, and works.

We offer free samples of the skincare range at the clinic, so I invite you to visit!

Ask Dr. Anna

A new blog series where she provides information to empower women to make better choices.

Do you have a cosmetic, medical or general health question? Dr. Anna wants to hear from you!


To schedule a complimentary consultation or to book a treatment:

Please call 250.590.0883 or visit our online booking system.

Dr Anna Medical Aesthetics
#322 – 1964 Fort St, Victoria, BC. V8R 6R3

Dr. Anna Medical Aesthetics

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