What you put on our skin especially the face goes so much deeper than the skin. The wrong ingredients in cosmetic products or even those which are not suited for your skin type could lead to a lot of problems. We asked pharmacist Narqes Raimi, owner of Hannan MediSpa Ampang and also former member of the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) to shed light on how to choose and what to look out for in a cosmetic product during purchase.
1. Understand your skin
Knowing your skin condition is the number one thing to keep in mind when browsing for a cosmetic product. “Get yourself tested for a skin analysis to better know your skin condition,” Narqes says. “Through that, you’ll know whether your skin is acne prone or dehydrated, which part is dry or oily, and even the amount of dirt that’s stuck in your pores,” says Narqes. Once you’ve identified your skin condition, opt for a skin care range that will help you to eliminate it. “The safest way for you to get ‘killer-free’ cosmetics is by purchasing products that are available in the pharmacy as they do background research before selling them ,” says Narqes.
2. Do your homework
Do your homework on the brand of your choice and read up on reviews. “Reviews are the easiest way to know how good a product is, they’re often honest and not tinged with any sale-driven propaganda,” adds Narqes. Go the extra mile and check whether the product you have in mind is registered with Kementrian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) by logging on to www.npra.gov.my to begin your search. “Rule of thumb, once you start noticing negative results –stop using the product immediately!” adds Narqes.
3. Know how it works
You might be one to read labels and identify ingredients before buying a product, but as most cosmetics out there tend to keep harmful ingredients a secret by not declaring them, merely reading them through won’t help. “This is how it works, to have a product registered, the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) doesn’t test the products, they’ll carry out a post market surveillance on the public instead,” says Narqes. “Once there are complains from the public, NPRA will carry out a sampling test and will have the products recalled accordingly.”
4. Ingredients to look out for
Let’s get acquainted with the three common drugs before moving on to the next point; Hydroquinone acts as a bleaching agent and is often used as treatment for hyper-pigmented skin. The result? Fairer and smoother skin within two weeks of application. It’s partner, tretinoin, can be found in acne combatant products for its inflammation reducing properties, with side effects such as skin redness, peeling, and sun sensitivity. Last but not least, mercury -a heavy metal that upon contact, rids the skin of all its natural properties such as oil and moisture. Exposure to products with mercury can damage the kidneys and even the nervous system. “These ingredients are often mixed up together for super fast results, so if one drug is found in a cosmetic product, chances are the other two are in the picture as well,” says Narqes.
5. Products with essential chemicals
Not all chemicals are bad for the skin, according to Narqes. You’ll still be needing certain chemicals in your products for them to work their best. “For instance, you’ll need solvent to change essential oils into creams to make it absorb-able to the skin, and if you have acne prone skin, you need chemicals such as AHA BHA, which helps to exfoliate the skin for skin renewal, anti-bacterial control, and they tend to work twice as hard compared to tea tree oil when combating acne,” says Narqes.
6. Keep it simple
With today’s booming cosmetic market, it’s hard to not be tempted to add serums, oils and even targeted gels to our skin care routine. However, this will only burden the skin with unnecessary ingredients. “Stick to just having a cleanser, toner, moisturizer and sun block in your regime,” says Narqes. “The most important step to your regime is applying sun block to the skin, this will protect your skin from photo aging, pigments and keeps large pores at bay, making sun blocks more important than serums and moisturizers.”