skin care products
Which skin care products work best? What does “fragrance-free” really mean, and what about other terms used by the cosmetic industry? This article is a thoughtful eye-opener for consumers overwhelmed by the scores of new “miracle” products marketed.
The packaging may be beautiful, but it will do nothing to relieve troubled acne, reduce fine lines, smooth out wrinkles or replenish moisture and oils to dazzle your complexion. When it comes to cosmetics, like most things, it’s what’s inside that counts.
If you feel overwhelmed by the many product choices available today and the “miracles” that every reputation has to offer, it can help to become more familiar with terms used in cosmetics and their true meaning, to distinguish which products are right for you and which are not.
Cosmetic companies are required to disclose all the contents of their products accurately, in order of concentration, from the most to the least. However, certain cosmetic terms can be confusing and misleading for the average consumer; terms such as “completely natural” and “odorless”, for example.
Although completely natural means that the ingredients used come from natural sources such as plants and other organic material, the use of the term for cosmetics are not regulated by the FDA. Some cosmetic companies that are not concerned with accuracy or reputation often mislead consumers by applying the term to their product.
It is noteworthy that according to the author and cosmetics expert Paula Begoun in her book “Don’t go to the cosmetics counter without me”, there is no scientific evidence that “natural ingredients” are more beneficial to the skin than synthetic.
Products that advertise being odorless can still use fragrant plant extracts to mask unpleasant odors caused by unrefined materials used. These extracts can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. Thus, odor-free can only mean that the product does not have a “noticeable” aroma. “Irritant free” is a more reliable term to search for in a product.
Alcohol-free products can be free of ‘grain alcohol’, which dries. However, other forms of alcohol may be used, such as lanolin alcohol or Cetearyl alcohol. For people with sensitive skin, Mrs. Begoun suggests using products that mention an alcohol component just before or just after the list of preservatives.
The sensible cosmetic consumer will select products based on content and performance of ingredients, not on packaging or brand. Higher cosmetics will not necessarily work better than those that are cheaper, and the product of one brand may be excellent, while another product of the same brand may not be effective. Therefore, “brand loyalty” will not necessarily benefit the consumer.
Many cosmetic companies in department stores have merged. In all likelihood, cosmetic purchases with three different ‘brand names’ can, in reality, all be distributed by the same cosmetics company. More than 75% of the cosmetic lines of department stores are currently owned by Estee Lauder or L’Oreal.
The short and sweet thing about it is to forget the hype. Everyone’s skin is different. Find out what works for you and stick to it. After following a daily skincare regime adapted to your skin type, the use of tried and tested products will give your face a healthy glow like no other.
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