Importance of Reading Product Labels and Understanding
As a generation, we consume more packaged foods and personal care products than the ones before us did. Hardly do we ever stop and see what all goes inside these packaged products to make them more attractive and to keep them from perishing, thus compromising with our health in the long run. That is, unless a personal experience or a life situation forces us to do so.
Here is Full Detail of Why is it Important to Read the Product Labels
The 3 main triggers which forced me to take a look at the labels of the products that I bought off-the-shelf (food or personal care) came at the following stages:
- My pregnancy-- when I started looking at food labels because I wanted to be careful about my calorie intake and also of any harmful substances that I may ingest and harm the foetus with inadvertently.
- The birth of my daughter, as she had such severe allergic reactions to the commercially available, 'popular' baby oils and moisturizers we used for her massage that I had to carefully scrutinize the labels of all personal care products to understand what caused those reactions.
- Strange personal experience--I had applied neem oil to treat some boils on my legs, and each time I did so, I could taste it on my lips. That's when I realized that the skin absorbs everything. And then I started examining, in detail, the labels on cosmetics products too.
Later on, at a conference that I attended in France, a presentation by some doctors revealed that they had observed a rising number of skin cancer cases due to overuse of stay-on cosmetics.
What do the labels say? Typical characteristics of labels on Personal care products
As I started reading the labels, I observed the following issues with them:
- The list of ingredients is always very long. More renowned or well-established the brand, the longer the list.
- The ingredients are always in very fine print which discourages most customers to spend time going through them
- The names of the ingredients are very complex, chemical sounding ones and often I can’t understand them. Typically, 'aqua qs" is often the only known ingredient in moisturizers. This evokes a sense of apathy or even fear.
- Sometimes, there are a few botanical names which sound relatable and therefore, give a sense of comfort.
- Very rarely are the disclosures complete to account for 100% of the composition. Terms like 'excipient' or gel base are common but one doesn’t know what goes into it.
- 'Natural', 'nature-identical', 'nature-inspired', 'Ayurvedic' are all terms that can be deceptive and need to be examined.
Secondary Research with focus on Moisturizers and other 'Stay-on" Products
A quest to figure out which ingredients were useful or beneficial, which ones were harmless or innocuous and which ones were harmful led to extensive research and analysis through “Google” searches on a host of complex-sounding chemical names (which sounded Greek or Latin even to a science graduate like me, let alone to the average Jo).
Instead of exploring a plethora of cosmetics all at once, I decided to focus my attention on the commonest "stay-on" personal care product--the simple moisturizing lotions--as they are used daily, all over the body, often several times a day, in most seasons and by everyone in the family--from babies to grannies. And most importantly, because they stay on the skin all day and night long.
And here's what I found:
- Most commercially available moisturizers contain about 70% water and 5-10% of oil/oily substances. The rest are chemicals for fragrance, emulsification, preservation against microbial or mold formation, appealing consistency and for that extra-smooth feel, or a matte or shiny look, based on the latest fashion trend!!
- The useful or beneficial ingredients were typically botanicals or naturals, which seemed to show promise of benefits corroborated by books on aromatherapy or Ayurveda. However, the excipient or base was still an issue.
- The most ubiquitously used harmful ingredients were Parabens (for preservation) or SLS/SLES.
Many reports indicate that continued use of products with parabens leads to a large number of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) cases in age-groups of 18-23 while SLS/SLES cause skin irritations either directly or due to an imbalance in the pH level. The rest of them were mostly in the "unknown or undetermined" category, but as per some studies were also found to be "toxic" in nature.
While some particles of skincare products penetrate the skin layers only to a certain level, the smaller the particle size, the deeper it penetrates. Also, some particles, which get lodged near the hair follicle and lead to a local irritation, can result in acne and pimples. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
So is the simple "moisturizer" a proverbial time bomb?
All of this is very worrisome because we start using moisturizers on babies and children when they are very small. And what about other stay-on cosmetics? Although we start using them much later in life, do they provide further fuel to the fire which is already building up within?
Younger children seem to be able to tolerate most things. Teenagers are willing to ignore small issues as long as they look and feel good, which is reinforced at a psychological level through attractive advertisements. Adults normally blame most of their skin issues on ageing, stress and environment while adding on more cosmetics and skincare products to hide or treat them.
In my daughter's case, because of her allergies and sensitive skin, we made these changes when she was really young. In my case, on the other hand, I realized that had my skin not sounded the alarm bells when I was close to 45, many of these issues would have gone undetected for much longer, till it had been too late.
So counter-intuitively, people with less sensitive skin are, in fact, in greater danger because they do not realize that these chemicals get deposited slowly and surely into our bodies over a period of time and create havoc later.
This detailed analysis made me decide to change my lifestyle, especially in terms of personal products. I adopted a 2-step program for the whole family’s skin care –
Step 1 – Stopped using off-the-shelf moisturizing lotions immediately
Step 2 – Started applying pure edible oils on the face and body
I experimented with cold pressed edible oils, like coconut, sesame and almond, the benefits of which have references in Ayurvedic texts.
Step 3 - Added essential oils for enhanced benefits
Having also studied books on aromatherapy, I started adding some essential oils to the cold-pressed edible oils for added benefits of skin clarifying, fungal or bacterial infections, itching, mosquito repelling, The pleasing, feel-good fragrances of these essential oils was a bonus.
(Cautions to be used while adding essential oils -
- the essential oils should not be allergenic for use and they should suit your body type
- they should be in appropriate dilutions with carrier oils
- they should be pure, unadulterated and not extracted using harmful solvents)
Switching over to natural ingredients for skincare has been a life-changing decision not only for me and my family but also for a large number of people that we shared our experience with. Apart from the tangible benefits like healthy and glowing skin, there is satisfaction in the knowledge that the body is not being subjected to harmful chemicals which could lead to serious consequences at a later stage in life.
So do your skin a favor and make the switch to natural skincare products. NOW!!
Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could get skincare and beauty products without the need to worry about their short- or long-term harmful side-effects?
--No added chemicals
--No artificial colors
--No synthetic fragrances
--No added flavor
--No gluten, soy or dairy
--No chemical active ingredients
--No mineral oil
And finally, No WATER
100% Natural. 100% Pure. Just the way it was meant to be. So pure that you can eat them! These oils are absolutely safe for babies, pregnant ladies and people with sensitive skin as well!
So, go on and check out our products here and thank us later!
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