Skin care products: importance of checking ingredient labels


Skin is the largest external organ in our body. Being constantly exposed, it is mainly affected by environmental conditions and other chemical substances which may have impacts on its defense mechanism and produce irritations or damages. In order to prevent effects of these conditions, appropriate skin care products are encouraged.

Cream and lotion are important cosmetics throughout the world. Both are emulsions made from combination of two phases; water and oil, for the purpose of hydration of skin. Both help in protecting the skin against the harsh effects of our environment, which include; heat, cold, and wind.

For clarification, cream is different from lotion. Creams are oiler, thicker and greasier when applied to the skin. They contain equal or greater ratio of oil to water and sometimes formulated for dry skin. Lotion, however, has much more water in its formulation than cream. Lotion is absorbed much more quickly, making it feel lighter on the skin. It is sometimes prefer for oily skin.

The choice of cosmetics depend greatly on the nature of the skin and what you want to achieve with it. Some people have sensitive skin and must be more careful with what they introduce to their skincare routine. People that have normal skin have more leniency when it comes to selecting their skin care products.

Cosmetics can be used to treat certain skin ailments or for skin beautification purposes. Unfortunately, many of us end up damaging our skin as a result of some harmful/harsh chemicals found in skin care products. Many cosmetics in our various stores contain harmful chemicals that can damage the skin.

Knowing what the cosmetic of your choice is made of is a better way of avoiding harmful chemical to your skin. Most times we do double check when it comes to something that passes through our mouth but hardly read ingredient labels on our makeup, beauty, and skincare products whenever we buy them from the various store.

Many of us don’t even know that this level of ignorance can badly affect our health. Many people have suffered toxicological and health hazards such as skin cancer, dermatophyte infection with lesions, macular hyper pigmentation, etc, as a result of these harmful chemicals.

I would list two (2) chemicals in our cosmetics that have been restricted due to health and environmental hazards associated with them.

  • The first chemical is Triclosan. Triclosan is used in cosmetics as a preservative. It is also used in the production of soaps, mouthwash, shaving cream, deodorants, toothpastes, etc. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that women with higher levels of triclosan, which has been previously linked to bowel cancer and antibiotic resistance, are more likely to have bone disease. In addition to that, the environmental effects of Triclosan is that it doesn’t break down quickly and it retains its activity long after it goes down the drain. These have made some environmentalists and ecologists cautioned the effects of this chemical on wildlife and aquatic habitats. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned triclosan from antiseptic and antibacterial hand rubs and hand washes.
  • The second one is Siloxanes. Siloxanes are parts of the ingredients use in cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. They are also found in toothpaste, deodorants, petroleum products, medical products, food products and packaging products. There are lots of disparities in the safety of this chemical as some beauticians and experts argue that siloxane is safe for use in moderate doses while there is also an insinuation that even in its current dosage, it may still disrupt endocrine levels in our bodies and affect hormone production. Other major concerns is the environmental impacts which is one of the reasons it has come under scrutiny by the EU which has ultimately lead to it being banned in many products.

It is important to note that parabens and phthalates have not been appropriately investigated. Many clinicians and skin experts believe that these substances interact negatively with the body. Despite this claim, some manufacturing companies continue to add them into the skin care products.

For further reading on toxic chemicals in your daily skincare products, click on the links below;




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