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SKINCARE 

HOW TO READ YOUR SKINCARE PRODUCT LABELS

- 6 July 2021

Product labels can be confusing, whether you are new to the world of skincare or not. With a lot of printed information, we sometimes are unable to prioritise what’s important. This information is of prime importance, especially when you have to choose the right product for your skin. We are here to simplify all the unreadable illustrations and confusing jargons for you.

The 3 things you have to focus on are:

FIRST, THE INGREDIENTS

The ingredients of the product are usually listed on the rear side in a paragraph. The trick here is, they are always listed in order of their concentration from highest to lowest. So if you see an excellent product, but it’s listed towards the end, the odds of you benefitting from it are low. The reverse is also true. If you see an ingredient that you want to avoid listed in the top 3, it's better to start looking for alternatives.

5 ingredients you would want to avoid:

PARABENS

Parabens include methyl, ethyl, butyl, isobutyl, and propyl parabens. As complicated as they may sound, it’s important to take note. These have been used in a majority of cosmetic products as preservatives to keep the ingredients stable. But, they have been linked to toxicity, defects and reproductive difficulties. Research even shows parabens to increase the risk of cancer.

SILICONE

The most common forms of silicone are cyclopentasiloxane and cyclohexasiloxane. Even pronouncing these can be a tongue twister, let alone remembering these names. A clever tip for this is to look out for ingredients ending with -cone, -conol, -saline and -siloxane. This should do the trick. These are commonly found in moisturizers, serums, mists and acne and anti-aging treatments. There are many reasons to avoid these. Silicones tend to trap debris in your pores. They make the skin dull and dehydrated, and interfere with cell renewal. While many regard it as a beneficial substance, it has no place in daily use products. We always promote clean beauty, for which this is a big no.

SULFATES

Sulfates are the substances that are responsible for the lather in most soaps and cleaning substances. These are mostly found in your cleansers, shampoos and body washes. They attract the oil and dirt from your skin and separate them. While they may seem helpful, they are damaging for the skin. They can strip off the healthy and natural oils from your skin. This will make your skin feel dry and stretched. Sulfates can also cause skin irritation, which leads to more complications. It’s advised to go sulfate-free and save yourself from the harmful effects.

Phthalate

These are a group of chemicals that are found in many products, including moisturizers and soaps.. To spot them, look for the names: DBP, DEHP, DMP and DEP. They are suspected to be carcinogens and can also cause hormonal problems. They are commonly used as they are said to soften skin and help in dissolving certain ingredients. It’s important to eliminate their use to protect not just your skin but also your body organs.

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a compound that won't directly be seen in your products. Yet, it can be a by-product of reactions of other ingredients used. Be on the lookout for Imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin and Diazolidinyl Urea. These are found in hair products, baby soaps, lotions and nail products to name a few. It is regarded as dangerous for the skin and can cause allergies. It is linked with breathing difficulties as well. Safe to say, you’re the safest far away from these.

As proponents of clean and natural beauty, we focus on all natural ingredients. All our products are free from all these harmful ingredients and are safe on skin. In the long run, your skin will thank you for staying clear of these substances. In skincare it's essential to choose what's right for you, and knowing your ingredients is the way to do it.

SECOND, THE ILLUSTRATIONS

All products come with some little illustrations on it that you sometimes just can't decipher. Some of the common ones that you can find are:

Green Dot Symbol

The Green Dot symbol is mainly used in Europe. Any company that has this logo on their packaging is responsible ecologically. It indicates that the company has a tie up with a recovery and recycling organization.

This organisation specialises in management of the company’s packaging waste.

Flame 

As the picture clearly indicates, this product can cause a fire. It is found mostly on sunscreens, hairsprays, dry shampoos, and nail polish removers to name a few. It is probably the most important symbol for safety.

Always be careful while using flammable products.

Cruelty-free

If you can see the image of a bunny, this is it. This means that the product has not been tested on animals. Having a cruelty free product is a step towards overall benefit to nature. By choosing to use these products, you can do your bit to be a more conscious consumer.

Vegan

This indicates that the product has been formulated with only vegan ingredients. This means that it does not contain animal products or by-products, and is not tested on animals.

Non-comedogenic 

This label is especially crucial for people with acne prone skin. This label shows that ingredients that can clog up the pores aren’t used. This helps in managing and avoiding breakouts.

Clean

This indicates that the products are free of harmful substances. This ensures that ingredients that are potentially harmful or are irritants are not used. This can also be seen as a ‘toxin free’ label.

NATURAL

As the name suggests, this means the ingredients aren't chemically produced and there are no synthetic additives. The product only uses ingredients that are natural or derived from natural sources.

Sulfate-free, Paraben-free and Phthalate-free

By now you must be aware of these harmful irritants. Products which are free of these ingredients draw up a small illustration mentioning this phrase. This is an indicator that you have picked up a safe product.

Recycle

In this age, it’s not just important but a necessity to preserve and conserve. The sign suggests that the product container is recyclable. You can sometimes also find a number denoted inside the loop. It refers to the type of plastic used to make the container.

Type 2, 4 and 5 are the only ones recommended for reusing. This is a sign to show your eco-friendly values.

Refer to insert

This symbol shows a hand pointing at a book. This means that you must refer to information or instructions written on a leaflet or tiny card, inserted in the box. This is shown when the required information doesn’t fit on a container’s label.

If the product you’re using has a small package, there are chances that you will find this symbol on it.

This is a non-exhaustive list of the common illustrations found on products. This should help you make the right choice and not be confused by the label.

THIRD, THE DATES

Just as for any consumables, it’s always important to check for the expiry dates in your skincare products. This can be listed in many ways.

One way is it being printed below the box. The date will be mentioned either as a manufacturing date or an expiry. If it's a manufacturing date, check for a small text that tells you how many months it's ‘best before’. If it's an expiry date, you know the drill

Another way is presenting it via a PAO symbol. This refers to the ‘Period After Opening’ and is shown as a tiny open box. On it will be a number with the letter ‘M’. This indicates the number of months the product is okay to use after opening it. If, for example, it says ‘9M’, you can safely use it for 9 months after opening the seal.

Keeping the dates in mind is very important. It gets even more crucial with natural products without any added preservatives.

Safety while using skin care products is of paramount importance. If you keep these tips and tricks in mind, it gets easier. Reading labels can be tricky.

We hope this serves as a guide in making better decisions for your skin and yourself.

Let us know how this helped you in making more informed decisions. We hope to answer any other questions you may have, in the comments below.

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