Say “No” to Aveeno

May 18, 2015


By Dr. Jen Newell

Jennifer Aniston has pioneered a number of epic fashion statements – who didn’t have “the Rachel” haircut? That being said, I can’t get behind her promotion of Aveeno skincare products, which masquerade as “natural” products. This is really deceiving and confusing to customers looking to make smart choices for personal care products.


Aveeno’s Claims:

Our mission to help every woman feel naturally beautiful in the way she looks and in the way she lives her life. So we strive to inspire you to discover natural beauty and wellness, and we work hard to provide products made with the most natural and effective ingredients.

The makers of AVEENO® only select the finest ingredients found in nature with powerful benefits to become ACTIVE NATURALS® ingredients, and turn them into innovative, effective skin and hair care products. In fact, these formulas are so effective, they’re recommended by dermatologists, pediatricians and beauty professionals across Canada.

AVEENO® products can help you achieve healthier looking skin and hair, so you can look and feel more beautiful too.


What’s in Aveeno:

AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Lotion (interestingly enough the full ingredient list was not available on Aveeno’s website; the only ingredient mentioned is colloidal oatmeal):

Active Ingredients: Dimethicone (1.25%) (Skin Protectant)

Inactive Ingredients: Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour (Oat), Benzyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Petrolatum, Sodium Chloride, Water


What are all these ingredients?

Dimethicone – man-made silicon polymer that gives products a silky, easily spreadable sensation. While Dimethicone is considered safe and low hazard risk according to the Environmental Working Group; I caution against its regular use as it creates a plastic-like barrier on the surface of the skin and prevents the skin from its normal activities.

Avena Sativa Kernal Flour (AKA colloidal oatmeal) – this is not considered one of Aveeno’s active ingredients but it is one of the least concerning ingredients in the products which is probably why it’s the only one mentioned on their website. This ingredient is created by finely grinding oat kernels; It is often used to relieve minor skin irritation and itching.

Benzyl Alcohol – benzyl alcohol is a naturally ocurring and synthetic ingredient used as solvent and preservative; has been associated with contact allergy.

Cetearyl Alcohol – mixture of fatty alcohols, consisting predominantly of cetyl and stearyl alcohols and is classified as a fatty alcohol. It is used as a emulsifier and helps prevent oil and water containing products from separating.

Distearyldimonium Chloride – found in many skin creams because of its moisturizing and smoothing properties.

Glycerin – used as a moisturizer to treat or prevent dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin and minor skin irritations.

Isopropyl Palmitate – binding agent that lubricates the skin. Isopropyl palmitate has been known to cause acne, blackheads, whiteheads and clogged pores if overused.

Petrolatum – Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly (i.e. petroleum jelly). It is used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in a variety of moisturizers and also in hair care products to make your hair shine. The European Union classifies petrolatum a carcinogen and restricts its use in cosmetics. Petrolatum comes from crude oil, and as such is not a renewable resource.

Sodium Chloride – salt.


My Thoughts:

Based on the ingredients, Aveeno is far from natural and does not qualify as a skin-nourishing product. I advise patients to steer clear of it and opt for actual natural alternatives that will heal and nurture the skin as part of a comprehensive skincare regime.

Not only do I dislike the ingredients used by Aveeno; I also think they should be held accountable for their false claims of being a natural product. Unfortunately, there are no regulations about the use of terms such as “natural”


Dr. Jen Newell is passionate about helping people embrace health, feel amazing and easily incorporate “real” food into their busy lives. Her mission is to make health accessible and achievable, and to inspire patients to live an active, vibrant and healthy life.

Jen has a clinical focus on digestive health, food sensitivities and healthy nutrition; mental health and stress-related illness; women’s health, hormone balance and fertility; optimal aging; and dermatology. She focuses on integrating healthy foods into one’s diet in a medicinal and therapeutic capacity and providing individuals with nutritional support that is easy to incorporate into a busy day. Dr. Newell practices at the Integrative Health Institute in Downtown Toronto.


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9 Responses to “Say “No” to Aveeno”

  1. Stephanie says:

    I recently watched the documentary “The Human Experiment” and it completely opened my eyes to the toxic and unregulated chemicals that are EVERYWHERE. Since the fact, I have been researching different chemicals in cosmetics and household items -specifically things that I or my family use everyday.

    Two and a half months ago I gave birth to my first child and from the beginning I have been a fan of healthier items – or so I thought. I chose to use aveeno baby products because, as the label says, I thought it was natural. After researching, I will definitely be changing what I use on my son!

  2. Debbie says:

    Thank you for this informative blog. What moisturizers do you recommend. I have found that I am allergic or sensitive to everything!

    • I recommend checking out Consonant skincare. Their line is free of most allergens including essential oils and is ideal for sensitive skin. Their Baby lotion is one of my favourite products for patients with sensitive and reactive skin.

  3. Susan Slupski says:

    I was told by a dermatologist to use Aveeno to “seal” coconut oil. I put coconut oil on my skin daily. Is it true coconut oil needs to be “sealed” to moisturizer skin? I hate putting chemicals on my skin and hair.

    Also, any suggestions for a healthy shampoo and moisturizing conditioner?

    Thank you for informing the truth about products to us.

    • Hi Susan,
      Basically when moisturizing the skin you want something that will act as an emollient (moisturizer) and something that will act as a humectant (seals in the moisture). Most creams contain ingredients that act as both. Oils are more emollients than humectants so for those with dry skin, I recommend layering an oil with a cream. The oils you select will really depend on your skin concerns as most have different properties and composition. I recommend consulting with a skin health professional to determine what will be best for your skin as there is no perfect combination for all people.

      With regards to natural shampoo and conditioner, again it depends on your hair type and concerns. Right now I really love the Graydon Skincare Matcha Mint Shampoo and the conditioners from Andalou.

  4. Joyce says:

    Hi I would like to know which brands of skincare products is best recommended for eczema /hives patients cos I thought of buying Averno for my daughter but after reading the above article, I rather seek advice before I buy. Thanks??

  5. Susan Robinson says:

    Very informative article , thought I’d found a great product to help with litchen sclerosis (avenno baby bath wash ) flare up of symptoms make me research the product really surprised won’t be using it again .
    Any suggestions ?

    • IHI Team says:

      Hi Susan,

      We can recommend a consult with Dr. Newell on our team. She would be happy to discuss your treatment options.

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