Skincare product labels can be overwhelming due to the abundance of words, images, and marketing language. Additionally, it can be challenging to decipher the ingredients and their benefits for your skin. However, it’s crucial as a consumer to educate yourself so you can make informed decisions when investing in products concerning your skin’s health and appearance. Here’s our recommendations as far as what to look for on a product label:

Order of Ingredients

Everyone has different priorities when it comes to the types of products purchased, but the order of ingredients can give you insight into whether a certain product is really what you’re looking for. Though you should scan over all the ingredients to identify potential allergens or sensitivities, it’s notable that ingredients are listed from highest to lowest concentration. This means that the significant ingredients you’re seeking to benefit from should be closer towards the beginning of the list. It’s also important to keep the order of ingredients in mind because if you know your skin doesn’t react well to a specific ingredient and it is within the first three listed, you may want to search for an alternative product. On the other hand, if a great ingredient is listed at the bottom, you won’t be benefiting much from it.

Expiration Date

The Period After Opening (PAO) is an open jar symbol that represents how long a product will stay good for after it has been opened. The time period can be given in months or years. In the case of months, search for 6M, 12M, 24M, and so on inside or next to the jar symbol. You should also look at the expiration date attached to the batch or lot number located at the bottom of the packaging. Taking note of both can serve as a guide for when it’s time to replace a product in your routine.

Directions for Use and Warning Labels

Look for directions telling you how to use the product correctly and possibly the frequency of use to ensure safety.

Look at any warning labels as well for potential risks of using the product or who it is intended for. Examples of warnings include, “For external use only”, “Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing”, and “Keep out of reach of children.”

Other Characteristics

With clean beauty on the rise, many consumers are seeking products labeled as being eco-friendly, sustainably sourced, cruelty-free, plant-derived or vegan. Because many cruelty-free symbols representing a company’s decision to not use animal testing are unregulated, look for products with third-party certifications from organizations like PETA or Leaping Bunny for more verification.

Different people may have their own priorities when reading a product label, but being aware of important information can assist in making informed purchase decisions.

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