Dra Emma during a hair restoration procedure.

Reading the Ingredient Labels with Dra. Emma

When we talk about healthy, glowing skin, many people turn to either skincare products or dermatology services, trusting them to deliver their promised results. However, in the case of skincare products, not all are created equal. What works for one person may not work for another. This is where reading the ingredient label becomes important. Knowing and understanding what's inside your skincare products can have significant implications for your skin's health and overall well-being.

To discuss more about skincare, we had a one-on-one interview with Dra. Emma Aguado of Medical Skin Clinic, Batangas City and Batangas Healthcare Specialists Medical Center. Dra. Emma, a natural skincare advocate, has been practicing clinical dermatology, with special interests in dermoscopy and hair restoration for the past 31 years. She has seen cases from the common complaints, like acne and eczema, to the most complicated ones, which involves deeper soft tissues.

"Skin conditions can vary," Dra. Emma explained. "There are skin disorders that respond well to standard treatments, and there are those that remain chronic."

In her practice, Dra. Emma has mastered the art of lifestyle interventions. In addition to traditional treatments, many skin conditions, such as acne and psoriasis, can benefit from proper lifestyle. These include doing regular exercises such as running and yoga, having a good night sleep, and having proper nutrition by cutting down refined sugar and eating greens which contain antioxidants.

But of course, having an effective skincare routine is a good way to further manage your skin health, which is why Dra. Emma is an avid believer that reading the ingredients of anything you put on your skin is really beneficial. With that, here are several compelling reasons why you should always read the ingredient label before making a purchase.

Dra Emma

Tips in Reading the Label

1. Avoiding harmful chemicals

One of the most immediate and pressing reasons to read skincare labels is to identify potential allergens and other harmful chemicals. Skincare products often contain a variety of ingredients, some of which can trigger allergic reactions. 

“If you want to feel good in your skin, build confidence, and have a good quality of life, choose skincare products that are free from chemicals like sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances,” she advised.

Fragrances, preservatives like parabens, and certain types of alcohol can cause skin irritation, redness, or even severe allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Parabens, for instance, are used as preservatives but have been linked to hormonal imbalances and an increased risk of breast cancer. Phthalates, often found in products with synthetic fragrances, are suspected endocrine disruptors. Want to know which ingredients are bad for your skin? Here’s the Heck No Checklist by Pure Culture and save your skin from 30 nasty ingredients.

2. Ensuring ingredient efficacy

Active ingredients in skincare are one of the determinants of its effectiveness to your skin, but its efficacy might be affected by several factors. For example, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant known for its skin-brightening and anti-aging properties. However, its efficacy can vary depending on its form (ascorbic acid vs. its derivatives), concentration, and the product's packaging (as vitamin C is highly unstable and can degrade when exposed to light and air). 

Thankfully, Pure Culture products that contain sensitive active ingredients like vitamin C are stored in amber packaging. We all know that dark glass transmits less light, making it almost impossible for light to affect the contents of the skincare products.

3. Matching ingredients to skin type

Every person's skin is unique, and what works for someone else might not work for you. By understanding the ingredients in your skincare products, you can better match them to your skin type and concerns. Normally, each hero ingredient on your skincare products, like niacinamide and shea butter, are focused to treat different skin concerns. 

If you have dry skin, your typical concern is checking out for ingredients that can store moisture for a long time and hydrate your skin—so shea butter and hyaluronic acid are best for you. If you have oily skin, your main concern is controlling your sebum and ensuring that your skin wouldn’t get acne and pimples—so niacinamide and microsilver are your best bet. Reading the ingredient label allows you to choose products tailored to your specific needs, enhancing their effectiveness.

4. Transparency in skincare products

The skincare market is flooded with products making bold claims, from erasing wrinkles to curing acne as fast as a week. However, not all products live up to their promises. By reading the ingredient label, you can see past the marketing hype and evaluate the product based on its content. This helps you to make informed decisions about what you're applying to your skin.

Furthermore, many people are becoming more conscious of the environmental and ethical aspects of their purchases. Reading the ingredient label can help you identify products that align with your values. For example, if you prefer cruelty-free or vegan products, you can look for ingredients and certifications that indicate no animal testing. Similarly, if you're concerned about its environmental impact, you might choose products free of microplastics or those that are committed to supporting environmental organizations, such as CleanHub and Save Philippine Seas.

5. A good way to personalize your routine

Finally, reading ingredient labels allows for better customization of your skincare routine. Knowing what's in your products means you can avoid potential ingredient conflicts. For instance, using products with retinoids and benzoyl peroxide simultaneously can lead to excessive dryness and irritation, especially if you have eczema and other similar conditions. Furthermore, layering products with similar active ingredients can lead to over-exfoliation or other issues. You don’t want to overdo it. By understanding the ingredients, you can strategically layer your products for maximum benefit without risking adverse reactions.

Pure Culture and its Ingredients

Dra. Emma, including her patients, is becoming a fan of Pure Culture because of our ingredients. Here are some of their testimonials:

“Suitable for all skin types, Pure Culture Wild Algae Super Skin Tonic helps to minimize pores, control oil, and reduce the appearance of blemishes. Helping you build confidence to face the day.” — user of Wild Algae Super Skin Tonic

“I’m a proud user of Gold Satin Crème by Pure Culture. I love how it makes my skin look smooth and well-hydrated.” — user of Bulgarian Rose Glam Gold Satin Crème

“After a nice swim, hydrate your skin with Pure Culture.” — user of True Radiance True Radiance All-Over Matte Oil

Pure Culture is good for maintenance, and Dra. Emma’s patients use our products to regulate their skin needs.

We know that our consumers are skintellectuals: those who read the ingredient labels on skincare products. By taking the time to understand what's in your products, you empower yourself to make informed decisions that can lead to healthier, happier skin.

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