Dangerous! 5 ingredients that should not be in a cream for the summer

Vrach-dermatocosmetologist Victoria Britko (@ dr.viktoria_13) told why glycerin and hydroquinone in the summer cream are dangerous, why with the advent of the sun it is necessary to exclude products with vitamin A from the “beauty diet” and what antibacterial component can be dangerous for the skin.

Victoria Britko (Goncharuk)

Victoria Britko (Goncharuk)


Vitamin A (retinol)

Retinol is the first vitamin discovered by scientists in 1913, which is why it was named the first letter of the alphabet. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that easily penetrates the epidermis. Retinol is essential for healthy skin and hair, a normal immune system, as well as new cell growth and slowing the aging process. Signs of a lack of vitamin A are expressed in the appearance of peeling on the skin, increased dryness, conjunctivitis, dandruff, hair loss, decreased visual acuity (especially at night), increased susceptibility to infections.

By itself, it is unstable and is rapidly destroyed by light and oxygen – it is included in cosmetics in altered forms (retinol palmitate, retinol acetate, retinoic acid, isotretinoin). The peculiarity of these compounds is in a structure different from the original vitamin, while they are completely similar in the mechanism of action and effectiveness.

Retinol can irritate the skin – before use, it is necessary to conduct a test (apply a small amount of the cream on the skin behind the ear and monitor the reaction during the day).

Retinol cream is best applied at night, as it loses its activity under the influence of light and increases the sensitivity of the skin to UV rays. I do not recommend using cosmetics with vitamin A for people with sensitive skin and prone to allergies.

In the spring-summer period, everyone needs to give it up – it can cause pigmentation. The ideal period is from November to March. If you do not have signs of acne, then it is better not to use creams with retinol before the age of 30.

It is contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation: retinol can cause fetal malformations. Six months before the expected pregnancy, it is better to stop using it.


Glycerin is a trihydric alcohol that is obtained by hydrolysis, sugar fermentation, or synthetically. It is often used in creams and other cosmetics as a good and inexpensive moisturizer. And it really fulfills its functions, but under certain conditions, the effect is the opposite.

If the air humidity is below 65-70%, glycerin can cause dehydration of the skin, “pulling” moisture from deep layers.


Hydroquinone is a common ingredient in whitening creams, concealers, and products with an SPF higher than 15. This substance works well for age spots and freckles. It got its name because of the similar properties with quinine, from which hydroquinine was synthesized.

In summer, products containing this substance should be avoided. They reduce the production of melanin in the skin, but at the same time make it more vulnerable to UV rays – there is a risk of burns.

Moreover, hydroquinine is considered a carcinogen – one of the possible causes of skin cancer. This component is prohibited in many countries. In our country, China and the United States – no.

The substance has herbal, more studied, understandable and safe analogues – extract of licorice tree, for example.


It is a chemical filter that protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation. Its main function is to convert UV rays into thermal energy. Recent studies have shown that oxybenzone can cause allergies and hormonal disorders. In the US and Europe, this ingredient is still used, but by standards its concentration in sunscreens should not exceed 6%, in day and foundation creams – 0.5%. An alternative is zinc oxide. What should not be in the composition of hypoallergenic cosmetics, I told here


Bitinol is a light gray crystalline powder with an antibacterial effect. It has antifungal and antimicrobial effects. And pharmacies even sell a drug of the same name.

In cosmeceuticals, it can often be found in shampoos, creams, tonics and other care products. But in the summer it should be avoided. It is a photosensitizer, a substance that increases sensitivity to sunlight. May cause itching and redness!