What cosmetics contain, guide to reading the INCI

What cosmetics contain, guide to reading the INCI

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Which criterion do we adopt when we choose a cosmetic? First of all we should know the components, we cannot trust word of mouth, advertising or the retailer; the importance of choosing the dermocosmetic product must pass from an assessment of its ingredients and compatibility with our skin ... and with the environment!

Cosmetics, as well as detergents, fabrics, diapers, are products that are in contact with the skin, for this reason it is essential to read up and then be able to opt for natural products that do not contain pollutants and toxic residues.

What should I look for on the label of a cosmetic?
It is essential to check that, on each product we purchase, there is all the information on the product: origin (country of origin), date of minimum shelf life, anointing of the product, precautions for use as well as a number corresponding to the manufacturing batch. You may be interested in "How to read the label of a cosmetic"

With this in mind, it is good to check the list of ingredients: we must always know what that product contains, which we will probably apply generously to our skin! INCI is the technical name of this list.

Why is it essential to read the ingredients?
Checking the composition of that specific cosmetic product ingredients protects us from possible negative effects due to the presence of specific substances or potentially harmful preparations: among these there are petroleum derivatives, paraffin or silicones.

Reading and deciphering of the INCI
With the EEC Directive of 93, implemented in Italy in 97, the indication of all the components of a finished product was made mandatory by all EU producing countries, but also importers of cosmetics, for greater transparency and consumer protection.

The various and numerous components of the product are reported in an international language, called INCI (acronym which stands for International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredients).
This nomenclature presents some terms in Latin, many terms in English, various technical terminologies of chemical type, numbers and other symbols. A fairly diversified and inhomogeneous list of terms that confuses us in understanding what we use.

A few examples:

  • The plant derivatives are reported with the botanical name in Latin of the plant from which they were extracted.
  • Many chemical ingredients are referred to by the English name
  • Dyes with a code that refers to a list of well-cataloged chemicals identified each with a different number.

How cosmetics are made
It is quite evident that it is not at all easy to decipher that strange language on the back of all the packaging of beauty products on the market!

How cosmetics are made. Practical guide to reading the INCI"By Giulia Penazzi (Edra Editions) aims to provide the very basis necessary to read an INCI label, so as to recognize the product we are about to purchase and its functionality. The first time you browse it can almost scare and appear too technical and specific text due to the long list of ingredients and formulas reported but once you start reading you will be immediately impressed by the clarity with which the author makes chemistry concepts accessible. acronyms and terms that otherwise remain mysterious.

Greater knowledge and attention to the label would help make more informed choices, prevent any inconvenience and give us the feeling that we have spent our money well!

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