How to Understand Skincare Product Labels

In this modern era, marketing has made it confusing for the average consumer to understand what chemicals are present in skin care products. The responsibility of determining what is safe does not belong to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) or the product manufacturer. It is strictly up to the consumer to determine which ingredients are acceptable. Manufacturer packaging contains claims that sound safe, but we need to understand what those claims really mean to make an informed decision.
Here is a breakdown of popular claims and what they really mean:
1. Non-comedogenic – Ingredients have been tested and do not appear to clog pores. This does not mean that the product cannot cause sensitivity.
2. Hypoallergenic – Ingredients have a lower chance of causing an allergic reaction than other products. It is important to note that people react to products differently. Best practice is to review the ingredients and determine if you have had a reaction to any of them in the past.  As with all new products, perform a patch test and watch for reactions for at least 24 hours.
3. Alcohol-free – Products do not contain ethyl alcohol (SD alcohol), which is harsh and drying to the skin. Fatty alcohols can be beneficial to the skin, and these may still be present in alcohol-free products.
4. Dermatologist-recommended – A meaningless claim that can be made even if the dermatologist has used the product on a single patient. Do not be fooled into believing all dermatologists endorse this product on all patients.
5. Natural – There is no standard to dictate exactly what “natural” means or what percent of the ingredients must come from natural sources.
6. Organic – Ingredients have been grown organically, without the use of pesticides or chemical processing. It is important to know that there are several organizations that certify organic products, and each has its own standards.
7. Skin organics – This is a newer term that means absolutely nothing.  
These basic guidelines should help you navigate the marketing dilemma.  After all, knowledge gives you the power to make proper decisions without being fooled by advertisers.  

Organic vs. Natural vs. Plant-Based Skin Care

There is so much terminology out there when it comes to ingredients.  It is easier to understand once you know what these terms really mean.  Let’s start with the term “organic.”
Organic products can be classified with three distinctions.

  1. 100% Organic means that the product contains only organically-produced ingredients. They are produced without synthetic preservatives, radiation, pesticides or petrochemicals. The USDA seal may appear on the package.
  2. Organic products must contain a minimum of 95 percent organically-produced ingredients. The USDA seal may appear on this type of product.
  3. Made with Organic Ingredients means that the product contains at least 70 percent organically-produced ingredients. The USDA seal cannot be used on these products.

The term “Natural” is not a regulated labeling term.
Often this term is used for marketing purposes.  If you examine the list of ingredients, you will often find some unacceptable ingredients.  The federal law does not mandate that companies list the dozens of ingredients found in “Fragrance.”  You will often see this listed at the end of the list of ingredients on various products.
Fragrances often contain Phthalates. What are Phthalates? Google it and here’s the description you get: “Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.”
I’m guessing you’re not really excited about putting anything with Phthalates on your skin after reading that.
Phthalates have been associated with numerous health problems.  The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a valuable resource to rate the ingredients found in beauty products.  The hazard scores are listed on a scale from 0 to 10 based on toxicity.
Plant-based is also not a regulated term. However, I believe it is the term that is most accurate.   
Plant-based is a term frequently used to describe a food diet based on plants including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits.  A similar definition can be extended to plant-based products since they will contain elements generated from vegetables, plants and fruits.
By understanding the classifications, the consumer is better educated to make decisions based on ingredients and price points.  For some consumers, the price point of USDA organic products may be cost prohibitive.  However, plant-based products may be a suitable alternative for those who do not want to place hazardous chemical on their skin and available at a more reasonable price point.
Looking for plant-based skin care products? Check out my Avanti Rx line. 

Avanti Rx featured on Beauty Style Watch

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (June 3, 2014) – The cutting-edge skin care line, Avanti Rx is now being featured on Beauty Style Watch (BSW), a renowned, online destination for beauty, fashion, and celebrity news.
Dr. Kalpana DePasquale, the founder of Avanti Medical Spa and Avanti Rx recently created the men’s and women’s products and was selected by the site to appear in the beauty blog. BSW’s loyal and engaged community of savvy shoppers averages over 500,000 unique viewers a month with more than 5,000,000 hits monthly. Included under the BSW headline, Magic Hour: Get this Look, the customized, natural skin care treatments focus on specific aesthetic and medical concerns and match proprietary ingredients as key to the formulation. Visit the website at
“We are thrilled and flattered that Te-See and Beth Bender, founders of BSW have selected our products for their web based magazine,” said Dr. DePasquale. “Since botanical and organic ingredients are in demand now more than ever, Avanti Rx incorporates natural products that heal skin from the inside out while renewing a youthful appearance,” she said.
“The Bender sisters recognize the importance of a natural look as they are the ‘go-to girls’ for all that is new, hot, and must-have. Their tips, tricks, reviews, beauty and fashion expertise attracts a diversity of readers who shop their site everyday for updates.”
Dr. DePasquale’s physician grade products are gentle, yet formulated with greater potency formulations and cannot be purchased over the counter.
Avanti Rx supports treatments and procedures at medical spas where facial aesthetics and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures are available. The luxurious skin care features anti-oxidants, vitamins, plant extracts and natural essences, designed to nourish and solve skin issues with customized treatment plans and special product collections.
Product discounts and promotions are available online at