What Is Filler-Free Skin Care?

·2 min read
row of clear beauty products
row of clear beauty products

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Skin care products are made with a variety of natural and chemically-constructed ingredients to deliver results, whether they be anti-aging, complexion clearing, skin smoothing, or anything in between. Some ingredients are better than others, and there are certain additives to avoid if you are particularly sensitive. That's the line of thinking behind filler-free skincare brands like TAHNYC. Haven't yet heard about this new wave of products? Keep reading to learn if these formulas are for you.

Related: How to Support Your Sensitive Skin as You Age

What are filler-free products?

Understanding what filler-free skin care truly is begins with this question. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, "Fillers are substances used to bind a product together, extend its shelf life, or fill up space in the container." Issues can arise if these additives are cheap, low-quality, or have little to no direct benefits for the skin. "Filler-free skin care describes topical products that omit filler ingredients, opting instead for higher-quality ingredients (natural or synthetic) that have direct skin benefits," Dr. Engelman continues.

TAHNYC, one of the best-known filler-free brands on the market, excludes thickeners, texture makers, and slip agents in their formulas. "Fillers don't enhance the product's effectiveness in any way-and they're not necessarily there to benefit your skin," explains Irene Barsky, the company's founder. "So, if you're wondering why they're used, primarily it's to give a product a feel, texture, or slip on your skin, to give you a feeling on application, or to thicken and fill out the product."

Are filler-free formulas better?

By leaving out so-so ingredients, there's more room to incorporate things that do bolster your complexion. "For us, every ingredient we use has to think about skin health, be effective, and work together in synergy to benefit your skin," Barsky says. "To me, that's what skin care is and needs to do. We as a brand have the privilege to do that." From a broader perspective, Dr. Engelman notes that filler-free products tend to be more potent and yield better, faster results, since every ingredient is designed to benefit the dermis in some way. "Although some fillers can be useful (for example, to preserve the shelf life of your products), they dilute the product to some extent," she explains.

Who benefits from using these products?

Beyond potency, Dr. Engelman affirms that these formulas might actually be friendlier to sensitive or reactive skin types, thanks to their lack of additives. In other words, it appears to be all pros. The single con? These effective, more potent products are often pricier than their counterparts, says Dr. Engelman. With that said, you can snag many TAHNYC products for under $30, and to that we say, add to bag.