The Importance of Reading Labels

For every time you apply a particular product on your skin, face or hair, you could actually be exposing your system to a number of harmful chemicals through your personal care products.

One surefire way of keeping your overall well-being healthy is to learn how to read labels. Check out the following tips to learn how to properly identify which is safe and which is dangerous.

1. Know and avoid the dirty dozen.

You don’t have to memorize the 12 ingredients that natural beauty advocates have banished, but it doesn’t hurt to be familiar with them and their potentially harmful effects to your body. If a certain product does not have the USDA-identified organic seal, it is best to check its ingredients. Doing so can save you from applying toxic chemicals to your body.

Here are the 12 ingredients you should avoid:

  • BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) – in moisturizers and makeup
  • Coal tar dyes – in hair dyes
  • Cyclomethicone & siloxanes – in moisturizers, makeup and hair products
  • DEA, MEA & TEA (diethanolamine, monoethanolamine, and triethanolamine) – found in creamy and foaming products like shampoos and moisturizers
  • Dibutyl phthalate – in nail products
  • Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives – Take note of these ingredients: DMDM HYDANTOIN, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA, IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, METHENAMINE, or QUARTERNIUM-15.
  • Parabens
  • Fragrance or Parfum – be careful. It is widely used even in some products marketed as “unscented”
  • PEG compounds – in conditioners, moisturizers, deodorants
  • Petrolatum – in oil-based products such as hair products, lip balm, lipstick, lotions and creams
  • Sulfates (SLES and SLS)
  • Triclosan – found in antibacterial and antifungal products

2. Avoid ingredients you can’t pronounce. Stick to the basics and go with words you can understand. When in doubt, it is best to just keep it simple.

3. Look for Latin. According to international standards, plant ingredients should go by their Latin/scientific names on their beauty labels. This is the key to make sure that your ingredients are grown and not synthetically-produced.

4. Know your information. Do not get easily fooled by false marketing claims that a certain product is “earth-friendly,” “cruelty-free,” “gentle,” “mild,” “natural,” and the likes. It is still best to go ahead and check the back to see the ingredients.

5. Pay attention to warnings. A product warning will tell you how to use a product safely and correctly. Strictly follow a product’s directions and warnings.

6. Use the product the right way. Use only the amount indicated on the label. More is not necessary better and may even do you more harm than good.

7. Make sure that everyone is safe. Store your products out of reach from your children and pets. Your children should understand that your personal care and household products are not toys. Also make sure that your bottles and jars are tightly closed to avoid spills and accidents.

8. Always keep your products in their original containers. If you throw away a product’s original container, you throw away essential information in case of an emergency. Most products have the information you need to help with treatment in case accidents happen.

9. Make sure the products you use are environment-friendly. Harmful chemicals and toxins do not only go through your skin, when they are used, they are also released in the environment. Doing so puts the natural habitats of animals, plants and other species at risk.

If you want to avoid these harmful chemicals from entering your system, choose all-natural and organic products which are not only gentle to your skin and body, but also environment-friendly.


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