Ingredients…Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth?

Have you ever purchased commercial lotions or soaps that claimed to contain natural ingredients or some other moisturizer only to determine that you’ve wasted your money? If you said yes to this question, you’re not alone. The commercial cosmetics industry list natural ingredients of aloe vera and here lately shea butter on their product labels to satisfy the consumers quest for natural products. You may even pay more for the inclusion of natural ingredients, but are you getting your money’s worth

Keep the following in mind when purchasing products that make specific claims on the label:

1) The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requires that ingredients be listed in descending order of quantity. This means which ever ingredient makes up the bulk of the product should be listed first; therefore, If you’re looking for a shea butter product, look for that ingredient towards the top of the ingredient list.

2) Natural means that ingredients are extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically. Supposedly there is no proof that natural ingredients are better for the skin, but I can certainly tell the difference when using all natural bath oil verses the 100% mineral oil (a synthetic derived from petroleum), I’ve used in the past.

3) Hypoallergenic on cosmetic labeling claims the product will most likely not cause a allergic reaction. When you read terms “dermatologist-tested,” “nonirritating,” and other statements that imply the product has been tested isn’t a guarantee that you won’t have an allergic reaction.

4) Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA) are the ingredients used in products that claim to reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Always use caution when applying these ingredients by testing a small area first to determine if a reaction will occur. You should also avoid the sun and use a sunscreen when using AHA.

5) Soap as you know it, is actually a snythetic detergent bar regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and is not required to meet FDA regulations unless it claims to do something other than cleanse. If the soap claims to be a deodorant soap it is considered cosmetic and must abide by FDA regulations. If it reduces dandruff or makes some other medical claim it must be considered a drug, carry the required drug labeling and also meet FDA safety and effectiveness requirements. I’ve used handmade soaps for some time and don’t experience the skin dryness as when I’ve used commercial soaps. This is because handmade soaps retain natural glycerin, a humectant which attracts moisture to your skin, whereas the commercial soaps remove the glycerin to use in more profitable products.

Keep in mind that typically handmade bath and body products contain a higher percentage of natural ingredients. Whether you purchase commercial or “natural” products, I encourage you to shop around as all products are not created equal. Know what to look for regarding ingredients and how they are listed to determine if you are getting your money’s worth. Take into consideration how the product makes your skin feel, does it dry your skin or does it feel soft and moisturized.

This article is not meant to bash commercial products, but should serve to help you make an informed decision concerning products and what you’re actually getting.

For more information on cosmetic ingredients visit the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association; the Federal Drug Association

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