Monthly Archives: February 2014

Safety of skin care packaging, expiration dates, can seriously impact Sensitive Skin

Skin care product packaging is supposed to provide consumers with important user information, protect the ingredients, and be easy to use. This is really important for all skin care product users….BUT ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE WITH SENSITIVE SKIN.

The short answer:
1. use products that are in opaque airless pumps
2. use up all the product within 1 year after first application
3. if the product changes colour or smells differently from when you first got it, throw it out!

The long answer:
Protecting the ingredients is critical. All natural/organic (aka plant-based) ingredients will oxidize when exposed to air, bacteria can be introduced to the product by human contact, heat and sunlight will help break down any natural or organic ingredient. If you are leaving the product on your skin, you want to be sure they are as ‘fresh’ as possible, the action ingredients are not diminished, and there is little chance for irritation (bad product ingredients are definitely going to irritate the skin). The best ways to protect product ingredients is by way of an opaque container with an airless pump. That means that light won’t affect the ingredients, and no air gets into the container after you have taken some product out. This is critical for products that you leave on the skin (like moisturizers and serums). Although ideal for all products, it is not as critical for wash-off products like cleansers and exfoliators.

Airless pump containers are more expensive for manufacturers to use – so are less likely to be available for the cheaper drug store products….but for sensitive skin people, these airless pump containers are essential.

The worst type of containers are wide-mouthed jars and see-through glass or plastic containers. The ingredients in such containers will be affected by light and air. Sure the company can counter these impacts by adding more ‘preservative’ ingredients to protect the others from the light and air…but do you really want more ingredients in your product? Especially when such preservatives generally have a greater potential to be irritants on the skin….maybe that’s why you find your skin ‘reacts’ to so many different products?

The crazy thing is that so many natural/organic products are packaged in open mouthed jars! Why? It seems absolutely insane as far as I’m concerned…

Would you not be prepared to put up with a little inconvenience of not ‘seeing’ how much product is left, in order to have safer products to apply to your skin? You can always get a ‘sense’ of how much is left because the container will feel quite ‘light-weight’.

Bad product smells differently from when you first got it, and may also have changed colour. Vitamin C and Vitamin A will definitely change colour when they oxidize… DO NOT USE PRODUCT THAT HAS CHANGED COLOUR OR SMELL!

The user information provides the directions for using the product, any warnings, company contact information, and list of ingredients. Ideally all this information should be on the container, because most people throw out the cardboard box. Many companies don’t provide a full ingredient list on their website so when you dispose of the box and information sheet you have no source of reference should something go wrong. How do you know if you are using it correctly? It’s better to buy products that have all ingredients and directions printed directly on the product container.

The ingredients also tell you what kinds of preservatives are being used in the product. The more preservatives the more potential for the product to irritate the skin. There should be NO PARABENS, very few or zero essential oils, zero alcohol (denatured/isopropyl/ethanol/yellow corn alcohol etc). For more information on preservatives see the video at the SkinCareTV channel.

The packaging may also provide information on expiration date – though this is not a requirement by the FDA. The general rule of thumb is that the product is good for 1 year after YOU open the container and start using it. This is the European standard for presenting expiration information and is usually a small graphic of a jar with the lid half off and the number 12 to denote 12 months. This is a critical element for you to remember when using products in wide-mouthed jars and regular tubes and bottles. For airless pumps, this ‘use-by-date’ is longer than a year, but no organization has tested it and is prepared to commit to a definite period of time. Some manufacturers will provide an expiration date that is usually 2 years from the date of manufacture. 

Because there is no regulatory standard, and manufacturers may apply different standards to different products, it is easier for you to just buy as many of your products in airless pumps as possible, and to use them up within a year of first using it.

In an article by Michelle Calvarese (Phd) in the January 2014 edition of Skin Inc magazine P 48 – 52, the main criteria manufacturers use for product packaging are:
1. Functionality (does the container dispense the product adequately – thick creams will clog in a pump container/ can the ingredients ‘leach’ dangerous or irritating chemicals from the plastic container into the product itself – this is essential for acidic and essential oil type ingredients)
2. Ingredient protection (will light or air degrade the ingredients and make them ineffective or potential skin irritants)
3. Client experience (easy to use, non breakable container, easy to dispense the correct amount to be used per application).

For sensitive skin, the main criteria is #2 – Ingredient protection. Functionality will be critical based on the viscosity of the product (very fluid product may leak, thick product may clog and be hard to get all the product out….so you may waste a fair amount because you cannot get it out of the container). The Sensitive Skin Clinic products are based on the smart packaging decisions.

Expensive skin care products, are they worth it?

I came across an article in New Beauty Magazine Spring-Summer 2013. They claim they are the beauty experts….as judged by an objective panel of experts utilizing standardized beauty measurements????…yeah right… The article was about whether the worlds most expensive beauty products were worth it or not….and they don’t even discuss whether they are worth it or not… they just regurgitate some marketing hype….it is really pathetic! Yes I know I am fighting an uphill battle…unfortunately fact will never replace fiction in the beauty industry!

How about Orogold 24K Gold Nano Night Recovery at $3000?  Neither the marketing hype from the company, nor the judgement from the so-called expert judge from New Beauty even attempts to explain the hype of how gold in a skin cream can make you look younger! Nor do they state how much gold is actually in the product.  Does it just make you ‘glow’ so much that you blind people and thus prevent them from seeing your wrinkles? There is no credible evidence that gold can do anything in the skin (even if it is possible for a mineral to penetrate the skin). I believe that anyone with this kind of money to spend on a topical product will have enough money to spend on Botox/Fillers/Laser Resurfacing/Surgery to make themselves appear younger…but they are so obsessed with looking younger that they will also add a $3000 cream to the mix….. Orogold knows their market very well and are making a fortune in profits from this product…..

I could go on and on with all the products the New Beauty ‘Expert’ Magazine has showcased, but the same applies to each…hype and seduction to the right people will get them to part with lots of money….

Sure, some ingredients are more expensive to create and use in skin care. The stem cell and DNA repairing ingredients in Cell Youth Actif are more expensive to source and stabilize, and cannot be made in large batches and kept for long periods of time. That will add cost to the production process…. However, Cell Youth Actif is effective and is less than $100!!!! The esterized Vitamin C (Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate) in C + Renew Serum is more complex to create than a standard water soluble Vitamin C, but the effectiveness in collagen and elastin development of the high percentage (17.5%) esterized Vitamin C certainly offsets the price of under $60. In the Antioxidant Defense Complex, there are 18 different antioxidants….that’s a lot – yet it is highly effective at under $50. 

Does this mean that the cheapest products are just as good as the expensive ones? NO. The quantity and quality of active ingredients will make a difference to the effectiveness of the product. Large consumer goods companies that make the drugstore type products will formulate with lower quantities and usually have access to cheap manufacturers in China and other parts of the world. Then the age old economic formula of cheap ingredients, low consumer price, and high volume sales means they appear to be the popular choice….. As general purpose moisturizers, they are fine. For skin specific and effective products, they fail. And all their cleansers are cheap detergents…and bad for everybody!

So do you need to spend a lot of money to get effective skin care? The answer is NO! You just have to dig deeper into the marketing hype and seduction and see if there is even a remote element of truth or substance to their claims before you fall into their trap. Once you know how the skin works, you will be more skeptical of most of what the skin care industry tries to sell you. Even so-called medical experts will give you the same hyped up/non-factual marketing information about skin care…to make you feel even more comfortable parting with your money…..

This is why my style of skin care is not very exciting and glitzy….the facts of skin care are not sexy….but if you know how to make your skin strong and balanced, it will work really well, and when combined with a good diet of 5 x fruit and 5 x vegetable servings every day, your skin will look younger and healthier…. And always wear a mineral sunscreen every day!