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When it comes to food, many of us pick apart the product labels to make sure that we aren’t putting anything bad into our bodies. It’s time that we start handling the labels on the backs of skin care products this same way.

Trying to make sense of the labels on the back of skin care products can often feel like trying to read a letter written in a foreign language. Because of this, we end up just sticking to what we know, or what we’ve seen splashed on the face of some commercial model. This may not always be the best idea.

The Ingredient List

The labels on our skin care products are just as important and work very similarly. Like food products, skin care products also list their ingredients in order of abundance or concentration. The same potato-chip-concept that I mentioned earlier comes into play here. You want to make sure that the active ingredients of the product are also the main ingredients. For example, if you’re buying a product that uses hyaluronic acid as its active ingredient but is not one of the first ingredients listed, then you are not truly getting what you are paying for.

Know What to Avoid

Like with food, there are just certain things that you want to stay away from. If you are unsure if an ingredient is safe or not, The Cosmetics Safety Database provides a directory of common ingredients found in cosmetic products. Each of these ingredients are given a score based on their toxicity hazard. Avoid the 12s at all cost.

Be Aware of Your Allergies

Everyone’s skin is different and we all react differently to certain ingredients. What may work perfectly for one may cause rash or irritation for someone else. This is why it is important to know your skin type and what it is sensitive to. Some common irritants include detergents, fragrance, and certain preservatives.

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