We have become very good at reading our food labels, but are we watching what we put on our or our children’s skin? With our skin being our biggest organ, it is time we pay more attention. But sometimes this can be a super overwhelming task as there are so many chemicals out there. Here are just a few tips that I personally do to ease the process!First of all, it is important to know that just like food labels, skin care product labels are written from highest percentage of ingredients to least concentrated ingredients. This can help you know which ingredients have a higher concentration in a product but do remember some don’t need to be very high to be effective, such as retinol. When I’m reading labels I skim through it first and pay bigger attention to the main actives in it and then I always check preservative. Preservatives are necessary, but some preservatives such as parabens I completely avoid.Do not be scared of some of the BIG words you can’t even pronounce. A lot of these are essential vitamins or other things that are actually really good for your skin. For example in my serum, Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is simply stabilized vitamin C. When in doubt though, look things up! But I do lean towards buying products with the lesser amount of ingredients total in it.
Switch products around every so often so that you don’t expose yourself to one preservative constantly. The more exposure to any preservative can potentially become troublesome. Or if possible make sure all of the products you use don’t have the exact same ingredients as this will allow more to enter your bloodstream.
If you are breastfeeding, be careful with products such as lotions that you would put near your breasts that contain phenoxyethanol (most common preservative out there now and even in the palmers stretch mark formula), it can cause seizures in infants.If using aerosols such as dry shampoo, perfume, hairspray etc. I recommend spraying and then walking away so you don’t inhale the chemicals as much. I literally spray my hair while holding my breath and then leave the room for a few seconds to allow the particles to disseminate. If you think about how asthma drugs work they are tiny particles that you inhale so better safe than sorry!Look for major ingredients you want to limit exposure to (don’t get too worked up over every single ingredient like for instance I avoid all parabens and sulfates)
Worry more about leave on products then face washes etc because face wash is limited exposure since it is a rinse off. With this being said, face wash ingredients still matter because face washes can dry out your skin leading to premature aging. This is why I use micellar water! It takes my eye makeup off and dirt very easily without harsh scrubbing and does not leave my skin feeling parched. I am also acne prone and this has worked for me! I use this one Garnier Micellar Water.Take skin care claims with a grain of salt. For instance organic does not mean safer or better for you, again no one regulates this and only a certain amount of your product has to be organic to get “the unofficial official organic label” so be vigilant on checking ingredients even on these “organic” products. Also skin care companies can hire a lab to test their product on a few subjects and get the claim “non comedogenic” or “hypoallergenic” or “dermatologist tested”. Again this is not regulated so they could essentially throw anything on their label or marketing. Be wary of this. I am not saying to not trust any product, I just want you to remember that companies will say anything to sell their products.
Download Think dirty app to scan items and see where they rate as far as health and safety. It is an easier way to learn about potentially toxic ingredients in products while you are shopping for them.
And last but not least, something I have learned in the last year is that brand and generic over the counter meds/skin care products are often times different as far as inactive ingredients, so make sure you watch this or ask a pharmacist if you have questions. For instance some brands may have parabens in them while generics may not or vice versa. Price is important to me but not as important as health & safety. (I do opt for generic and cheaper priced if the ingredients are exactly the same 😉 )Speaking of price, it is easy to think that higher priced products will be better for you or work better but this is highly unlikely. Skin care companies use similar ingredients with just different formulations. There is A TON of affordable skin care products that are safe and work very well. Also some of the bigger skin care companies still use parabens or formaldehyde forming preservatives and other harmful ingredients because they are big enough that people do not tend to question them.
Hope this helps a little! Also I have had lots of people message me with products to check ingredients for them, so feel free to message me or text me with questions! And Sory this post is full of rambling haha! Happy label reading friends!
Pharmacy Mommy***Disclaimer: although I am a Doctorate of pharmacy, this is my own professional opinion not professional advice (😉)