Here are 6 Tips to Decode Skincare Ingredients For Acne Treatment Like a Chemist

Becoming a pro at rigorously inspecting the ingredient labels on skin care products, especially for acne can be a tricky business. Many of the beauty ingredients don’t sound or look like English. Sometimes, a scary-sounding ingredient may actually be a beneficial mineral or vitamin which someone can easily overlook if not careful. And sometimes, an ingredient that’s written in an enticing different language may be the one which is potentially toxic. Therefore, careful examination of such ingredients need to be done first-hand, else it would be hard to tell the innocuous ingredients from the harmful ones.


Below are some handy tips to help you read skincare ingredients for acne treatment like a chemist when shopping.

  1. Know the basics. All ingredients are listed or arranged in descending order at all times, starting with the largest amount in the formula (usually water). Also worth knowing, if a product praises a particular ingredient, but it’s etched near the end of the list, more likely that component isn’t present in good amounts.
  1. Be aware of the concentration. A great number of active ingredients only need to range around 0.5%-1% to work effectively. And because only a small ratio or amount is required, these ingredients are found at the end of the list. Product’s dyes and fragrances also exist in tiny amounts, so you’ll find them inscribed at the bottom as well.
  1. Check that all ingredients are authentic. Some novel preservatives can be used as a masking agent to trick consumers. Dubious brands can label a chemical as a “fragrance” under the ingredient list, which can lure customers into purchasing the product as “preservative” free. Be careful.
  1. Check if the acne-treating product is FDA Approved. The FDA regulates all acne treatments and classifies them as over-the-counter drugs. Make sure the “acne” or “blemish” formula you’re about to buy has an FDA drug panel stuck on the box.
  1. Go low on the oil craze. Now that skin care oils are a hot craze in the skincare mainstream, it’s worth knowing many oils oxidize quickly at different levels. This varies with the type of oil though, which means it’s easy for someone to buy an expensive acne treatment that might not do the trick. Make sure you buy “cold-pressed” products or a regular acne scar treatment instead, as they last much longer and might yield better results.
  1. Finally, clarify the expiry date (this is important!). Every time you see a product label with a letter “M” initial in it, don’t wonder what its purpose. The letter simply refers to the number of months that particular product is supposed to last after opening. Letter “Y” initial is used where a certain product is expected to last for some years instead of months.


As you continue learning more about your skin, you’ll find yourself becoming ingredient conscious every day. Understanding the specific substances that make up a product is very essential, particularly when shopping a skin care product for acne treatment. At least this will make you more familiar with a variety of essential ingredients that you’ll always make sure are present in your acne treatment formula. You’ll also be aware of specific harmful ingredients to stay away from as well. All the same, follow the cool tips shared in this guide to start deciphering your skincare ingredients labels like a pro, every time you’re shopping.

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