Reading ingredient labels

Do you read the ingredient labels before buying a face or body cream? No? Well, what’s in the jar should be one of the most important considerations when picking out a cream to put on your beautiful face! You wouldn’t buy food for your family without perusing the ingredients, and you should take the same care when picking out a cream for your face!

Do you know what is in your face cream? Do you think that just because it says “natural” or “organic” or “simple”, it won’t trouble your sensitive skin?

Well, those labels mean very little in the beauty and cosmetics world. Oftentimes, there may be one or two organic ingredients, but also many harmful ingredients, too. You need to look at the ingredients list! If the manufacturer is kind, they put the common names for the ingredients alongside the legally-required botanical names. (although sometimes I think they leave out the common names just to further confuse the customer!)

Go on, look at one of your regular creams. To help me write this article, I’m looking at an ingredient list from a big name eye cream, which claims to be “skin loving, with no perfume or colour”. Well, the “no perfume or colour” part is true! But look further, and it contains, amongst other things, these harmful ingredients:

  • Propylene Glycol – very common in creams and ointments. Can cause skin rashes and contact dermatitis, and has been shown to cause damage to the kidneys and liver.
  • Methylparaben – parabens are widely used in cosmetics, deodorants, skin care  and baby products to prolong their shelf life. They are known to be highly toxic and have caused rashes and allergic reactions. Although a link with breast cancer has been mentioned, no link has been proven.
  • PEG-40. Short for polyethylene glycol (PEG). Used as a thickener in skin care products and cosmetics, PEGs interfere with the skin’s natural moisture balance, causing an increase in ageing and leaving the skin vulnerable to bacteria.

The list goes on – these are just the first few in the ingredient list! And remember, legally the ingredients have to be in proportion order. So if “agua” is the first ingredient, then the product has more water in it than any of the other ingredients.

So why are potentially harmful things in creams, you ask? Well, in some ways, the big guys have to add these chemicals, as they make millions of jars that may sit on a shelf in a warehouse or store for months and months.

Also, many people like their creams to have a very long shelf life even after opening – this is not easy, as you stick your (possibly grubby) fingers in to get a dab of cream out!

Lastly, these chemicals are cheap – or at least much cheaper than using more expensive, but natural, ingredients.

We at Lujos think that many of these chemicals are unnecessary. You don’t have to pay a fortune for creams that contain natural ingredients, but you do have to look harder for them, as they are not that common!

So my final word of advice: check that ingredient list before paying for a cream!