Ingredients We Avoid



Sarah Brown, Founder of Pai Skincare

"When I was trying to get to the bottom of my sensitive skin, I kept a product diary and slowly noticed a pattern in the ingredients I was reacting to.

Today, we take our commitment to sensitive skin seriously. You'll never see any of those ingredients I couldn't use on my own skin in our products.

Formulating without some of them is tough, but so worth it. Be kind to your skin and it will be kind to you."

Sarah X

Sensitive skin needs to be handled with care and we have a strict policy on ingredients.

Here are some common potential irritants we'll never use in our products - and you might want to avoid too.

Alcohol denat (or ‘denaturised alcohol’) is used as a preservative and fragrance fixer, and this kind of alcohol can dry out and irritate sensitive skin.

Unfortunately even organic alcohol has the same effect on the skin, so we choose to avoid it altogether.

Traditionally used to protect the “trade secrets” of the perfumery industry, the words ‘parfum’ and ‘fragrance’ can be used to cover over 200 different chemicals – including preservatives.

If you use a product with ‘artificial fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on the ingredients list – you can’t be sure what you’re putting on your skin.

True fragrance sensitivity can cause everything from headaches to skin rashes and it can be hard to pin down which fragrance compounds or additives you are sensitive to.
As concerns over the safety of parabens built momentum, non-paraben preservatives, such as Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and Sodium Hydroxylmethylglycinate became more popular.

Unfortunately, these alternatives can be highly irritating and we don’t use them in Pai products.

Essential oils have a world of benefits, both in aromatherapy and on the skin when used in low dilutions - but it’s a delicate balance!

High levels of essential oils have been known to irritate already damaged, broken or delicate skin.
Parabens are a common form of preservative used in many cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.

There’s been a lot of controversy over the safety of them in recent years, so we take a precautionary approach and avoid them altogether.

This includes so called ‘natural parabens’, such as Japanese Honeysuckle. These ingredients contain parahydroxy benzoic acid, a natural compound on which parabens are based.

They’re listed under their INCI plant name (Lonicera Japonica) and sometimes feature in ‘paraben-free’ products.
Petrochemicals are ingredients derived from petroleum.

The beauty industry uses over one hundred of these chemicals, often as preservatives, bases for synthetic fragrances, emollients and to keep products moist for longer - think of a pack of facial wipes!

Some common petrochemicals, like Propylene Glycol, can cause skin irritation and have been linked to inflammatory conditions such as Eczema, so we choose to avoid them altogether.

Petrochemicals also require the use of finite resources, which is bad news for our planet. We've found plenty of effective, plant-based and renewable alternatives in nature.
Often used as a substitute for parabens, phenoxyethanol is a popular preservative choice for natural beauty products.

We avoid this preservative as it can be a trigger for condition such as eczema and contact dermatitis – it also brings our founder Sarah out in a rash!
Phthalates are used as a fixative for fragrances, particularly in moisturisers and body creams.

They're often absent from ingredients labels, instead being listed under 'parfum' and 'fragrance' or alternative names like DEP, DBP and DEHP.

There are safety concerns around the effect Phthalates have on reproductive and endocrine systems and some forms are banned in the EU.
We avoid all sulfates, including sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES).

The same ingredients that leave your dishes squeaky clean, these detergents can strip away the skin’s natural protective oils and increase pH levels, leaving sensitive skin imbalanced and exposed to irritation.

We believe they can easily be substituted for kinder, natural alternatives.

Our Cleanser uses a gentle three oil system to lift away dirt and grime and our Petit Pai Apple Blossom & Mallow Hair & Body Wash uses a nifty all-natural Konjac sponge to create a rich lather.
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