How To Read Your Skincare Label?

skincare label

Have you ever thought about what you are putting on your body when using products on your skin and hair? Whenever we buy any product, it is imperative to know what it contains. Some skincare or haircare products provide optimum benefits only if they have specific ingredients in the right quantity.

Before deciding to purchase any makeup or skincare products, it is essential to realize that the goods on the market vary from one another depending on things like:

  1. Type of Skin: Oily, normal and combination skin.
  2. Skin Issues: The skin condition(s) we are currently dealing with, such as acne, pigmentation, open pores, dark spots, etc.
  3. Age: The age bracket to which we belong.

You can choose the appropriate product for your skin type and concern by using the brief instructions on the product labels. They also list the warning labels, usage guidelines, and components. Let's examine the information provided on the labels and how to read them properly:


Examining the product’s ingredients should be the most important thing to do while buying any skincare product. The most important components are listed on the front label, while other ingredients are listed on the back.  Mostly, ingredients are listed in the order of their quantities from ascending to descending order. Any element that has is less than 1% of the total mixture is listed in the last while the ones with the highest concentration are listed at the top of the list. So, take care of your skincare products and study the labels carefully. The packaging label provides the most relevant information about the product in minimum words.

On the label, several special words might be quite helpful in knowing the product's composition:

  1. Alcohol-free

When a product reads Alcohol-free, it solely means that it does not have Ethyl alcohol. Fatty alcohols like Stearyl, Cetearyl, Lanolin alcohol, or Cetyl are non-irritating, hence can be used in skincare products. Isopropyl alcohol is a substance that makes skin extremely dry; therefore, it is hardly ever used in cosmetic products.

  1. Non-Comedogenic

It means that the product does not have ingredients that can clog pores and result in acne breakout. Therefore, people with oily, acne-prone skin should buy skincare products with non-comedogenic designation.

  1. Hypoallergic

It means that the product has low chances of generating allergic reactions when compared with similar items. There is no set standard on the matter, however, the irritation can still be determined for sensitive skin types.

  1. Organic

A number of items are available in the market under “Organic” marketing strategy. But they are not as they use synthetic compounds from petroleum jelly and label them “organic”. The real organic products have carbon and the certified organic product logo on the packaging. A product is labelled as organic only if it includes more than 95% organic ingredients.

Warning signs

Reading warning signs is the second most important thing to do while buying a product. Every product specify where and how to apply them or which places should be avoided. Some products include warning labels that advise consumers to keep their hands away from delicate skin types and sensitive places like the corners of their mouths, the creases of their noses, and the areas around their eyes. To prevent any skin irritation or consequences, it's crucial to know this information. 

Manufacturing and expiry dates

All of us have probably seen this when purchasing things. This broadly illustrates the time when any product is regarded as excellent under typical storage and use circumstances. Like cosmetic products that do not contain medical grade ingredients are typically thought to have an expiration date of about 3 years from manufacturing. In contrast, products that do contain a medical grade ingredient and should be used under a dermatologist's prescription only typically have an expiration date of 2 years from manufacturing. Never use products after expiration dates because they may harm skin health or trigger allergies. 

Color of the product

Color plays an important role in skincare products. Products that have components susceptible to oxidation when exposed to sunlight are sold in opaque bottles. Some brands also mention product’s colors on the bottle so that the customer can ensure the product is safe to use and has not oxidized when they open the container. Products that have turned brown or yellow should not be used since they have oxidized and can harm skin’s health. 


It is advised to store items at a specific temperature specified on the bottle based on the active ingredient included in them to maintain the "actives" in them. Always keep an eye out for it and abide by it to keep the product's effectiveness for a more extended period. Certain products shouldn't be kept in the bathroom since they may become damaged in a humid atmosphere. 

Serums or Cream or Lotions

Everything here revolves around the product's consistency. Serums are more powerful, silky, and light. Since their active ingredients are concentrated, they have a low molecular weight and can easily penetrate the skin's surface. Creams have a thicker consistency and keep the skin hydrated for longer. Lotions have oil in the water base, have good spread ability, and are simple to apply to broader body areas. For more hairy body surfaces like the scalp, lotions are useful. Hence, one can opt for the product depending on skin type and what body area they are to be applied on. Ointments are water in oil; therefore, they are greasy and oily and spread easily. They should not be used on underarms, and genitals as these are closed areas and sweating on these areas can cause irritation.

Pregnancy and Lactation warning

Numerous medications are dangerous during pregnancy and lactation. Before utilizing any skincare product, it is advised to visit a dermatologist if one is trying to get pregnant. 

Product Dosage

One must be aware of whether a product needs to be applied during the day or at night before using it. Certain items should only be used at night because they are not photo-stable and can also result in photoallergy. 

Cancer-causing ingredients

Using some substances on the skin for an extended period of time can result in skin cancer. Therefore, don't use any particular ingredient for longer than is necessary. These chemicals include lead, phthalate, and parabens, to name a few.

Read more - Skincare Routine for Healthy, Glowing Skin