Do you check the ingredients list of your personal care and cosmetics products? Well, if you don`t, this article will change your mind!
You will find the reasons why it`s so important to know what chemicals and ingredients are in the cosmetic products you use on a daily basis.
There are various websites that work as ingredient checkers: giving you information about the composition of the products, possible allergens, comedogens, and others.
Of course, some ingredient checkers have better and more developed databases, which makes them more useful and helpful. Some of the most advanced ones include:
But now let`s see the reasons WHY should we use those!
See if the cosmetic product can be harmful
Most of the skincare and cosmetic products on the market may contain preservatives, parabens, alcohols, sulfates, essential oils, and other ingredients, which can trigger irritation and skin damage (especially in people with sensitive skin and already damaged lipid barrier).
Usually, ingredients checking websites mark such potentially harmful ingredients to indicate the risks that those may impose on your skin health.
However, the presence of one or two ingredients marked as potentially harmful does NOT make a particular cosmetic product dangerous or ineffective. The degree of irritation and negative effect strongly depends on its concentration, as well as your skin type and reactivity.
In fact, almost all cosmetics contain preservatives, which keep them fresh for longer and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and microorganisms inside the package.
How to know if cosmetics are safe?
You should look at 3 criteria:
- The number of controversial ingredients (the higher number, the higher chance for suffering different skin issues)
- Their concentration (higher position in the ingredients list indicated higher concentration)
- Their adverse effects (that online checkers or Google show you)
- Your skin type
For instance, if you buy a new moisturizer, and you see that 3 ingredients are marked as potentially dangerous, don’t give up on it! Look what are the probable adverse effects of those ingredients and what is their concentration.
Let’s say that your moisturizer contains denatured alcohol as third ingredient (thus, higher concentration), and your skin is very dry. In this case, the particular moisturizer may not be the best for your skin type, as denatured alcohol can additionally dry the skin and cause transepidemal water loss (your skin cannot retain water).
However, if your skin is oily and the moisturizer contains denatured alcohol and active ingredient like glycolic acid, this alcohol will help the active ingredient to penetrate better into the skin and do it’s job.
Another thing to look at is the long term effect of the potentially dangerous ingredients: while some ingredients can harm your skin in short term usage, others can affect your overall health after long usage (like phenoxyethanol).
It’s a good idea to make a sensitivity patch test before using cosmetic products that contain lots of controversial ingredients.
Identify any allergy or sensitivity
In some cases, your skin doesn`t respond well, even to “clean” cosmetic products. That happens mainly to people with sensitive and reactive skin types.
Checking the ingredients in your cosmetic products will help you to identify if your skin reacts negatively to a certain chemical (or substance) in your cosmetics. You can recognize the irritator by comparing the ingredients of the cosmetic products you have: both the ones that bother your skin and the ones that benefit it.
With some research, patch tests, and curiosity, you will be able to tell what you are sensitive to or allergic to. It is also a good to ask your board-certified dermatologist to do a patch test, that can quickly and efficiently identify your skin behavior regarding certain ingredient.
Find out what ingredients work best for your skin
This is the opposite of identifying skin irritators! By checking the ingredients in your personal care products, you can recognize what works for you.
Those can be even ingredients that are considered to be controversial, like dimethicone.
For example, many people find dimethicone a lifesaver for their dry and flaky skin, despite the fact that it’s a well known comedogen.
When you understand what ingredient works best (and worst) for you, your product choices will become easier and more informed! You just have to look at the list on the product label!
This way, checking the ingredients list of your cosmetics can help you buy skincare that actually helps your skin, and can save your skin from allergic reactions.