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Dermatologists talk makeup

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Feb 1, 2006
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Dermatologists talk makeup: Cosmeceutical, hypoallergenic and natural ingredients explained

Source: MSN/Sympatico

Find out the difference between natural and nonallergic, whether products are really perfume free and more.

Cosmetics play many roles: they are more than just blush and mascara. They can protect you from the sun, change your appearance, or protect it. That said, do you know what you're buying when you're opting for "cosmeceuticals" or "natural ingredients"? Here are some common terms and myths about cosmetics that you'll want to know before you put them on.

Cosmetic or cosmeceutical?

Skin products are classified as either drugs or cosmetics. A drug can alter the function and structures of the skin while a cosmetic just changes the appearance. The term cosmeceutical describes products that use ingredients that have some biological effect on the skin but are not classified as drugs. It means that these products cannot make claims about improving the skin function, and that they only improve the appearance.

Natural doesn't mean nonallergic

Just because a product contains natural ingredients doesn't mean that it won't be potentially irritating. Products with rosemary, tea tree oil, lavender and chamomile can provoke an allergic reaction in some people. Tip: Before using any new product, it's wise to apply a very small amount first to make sure that it's safe for your skin.

Is a natural ingredient really natural?

The botanical or plant-sounding components that are in products labeled "natural" are usually synthesized in a laboratory rather than extracted from plants. These natural ingredients may still cause allergic reactions.

Does perfume-free always mean no perfume?

No. Perfume-free products can sometimes have perfumes in them to block the chemical smell of a cosmetic but they are labelled as preservatives. The only topical preparation that does not need a preservative is pure petroleum jelly.