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How to Guarantee Cosmetic Safety

Cosmetic safety should be one of the concerns that consumers need to prioritize. We use cosmetic products on a daily basis however; do we ever stop and think about the ingredients inside the skin care of shampoo bottles? Do you even know when to dispose our cosmetic products? Below are just some of the tips that might help you answer these questions.

Check the expiration date

Surprising as it may seem, cosmetics made in the US are not strictly required by law to have expiration dates.  These dates just function as a reference or estimate since the cosmetic’s safety may have been compromised long before the actual expiry date.  Premature expiration may occur because of defective packaging or in a lot of cases, proper storage.  Nevertheless, cosmetic companies made it a point to add the manufacturing or expiration in the labels to ensure the safety of their consumers. But what if somebody gifted you with items with unreadable cosmetic safety codes and dates? You can politely ask the sender when she/he purchased the product or you can also go online to check references for the products batch codes if you want to be discrete about. Also before throwing away your products, refer to this conservative guide to ensure cosmetic safety:

Shelf Life


3 months Mascara
6 months Natural cosmetics, cleanser and moisturizers, concealers
One Year Compact powders, lip gloss, lipstick, eye liner, toners

Read and follow product directions

All manufacturers print out directions in their products’ packages that serve as guide for the consumers. They are usually common sense instructions like washing your face thoroughly with soap and water or testing a small of product on your skin before applying the cosmetics.  Simple as they may be, it is important not to take these preparations for granted as they help ward off serious infections and skin irritation. You would also notice manufacturers encouraging you to change their applicators and sponges regularly to get the most of your makeup and prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria. Storing your makeup in a cool, dry place at the right temperature per manufacturer’s instructions also ensures cosmetic safety because it prevents premature expiration and chemical changes of the product.

Check the ingredients and warnings

If you have sensitive skin and you would want to try out certain products, make sure to read the list of ingredients that may cause irritation. Manufacturers often mix strong chemicals in their cosmetics that maybe harmful if applied to a specific skin type. Check for chemicals like tretinoin or alpha hydroxy acid that are commonly used for the treatment and prevention of acne and wrinkles. These chemicals cause peeling, reddening or dryness in the skin so for cosmetic safety, manufacturers warn you to stay away from direct sunlight as it can cause excessive sunburn. Other chemical ingredients can cause swelling and even change your skintone if used long after the recommended dosage. Pregnant women should also watch out for the warning signs. As a cosmetic safety measure, manufacturers explicitly warn pregnant women to refrain from using certain skin and hair products during their pregnancy as the chemicals present can harm the health of the babies. Hair dye manufacturers often tell us to not allow hair dyes to get in contact with the skin or areas around the eyes because they contain hydroquinone that is harmful to the skin.

Beware of harmful ingredients

Though some common chemicals are potentially harmful, they are still continually used by manufacturers in making cosmetic products. The government understands the need for cosmetic safety so they make sure that companies use the following chemicals at safe levels:

Titanium dioxide – these are chemicals present in   mineral powders that are considered carcinogenic when inhaled.
Aluminum – Traces of this element can be found in antiperspirants and can cause the development of breast cancer.
Coal Tar Dyes – These are the petroleum chemicals present in mascaras and that can cause irritation and even blindness.
Formaldehyde– This compound is known to cause cancer and is present in a lot of skin care and nail products.
Hydroquinone– This compound is widely used in whitening products and has a lot of adverse effects on the skin.  It can cause skin cancer, ochronosis and even kidney problems.

Be careful with buying discontinued products

So you have a favorite make up line that you have used for years and then all of a sudden, the manufacturer discontinues its production.  Before scouring the internet for stores that sells these brands, do a little research for the brand may have been banned because they contain harmful ingredients. Also verify with the seller the condition of the discontinued item as it may have already expired.