Health apps you need to filter skincare noise

Buying a good moisturizer is a quest that involved multiple tabs on Google, crosschecking ingredient lists, potential health implications, product reviews from your favorite influencer, company brand image. However, more often than not, the chemical jargon leaves us feeling more confused than ever. (RIP mental health)

Everyone should use health apps!

Glycolic acid. Titanium dioxide. Niacinamide. These are some common ingredients in skincare products but what do they mean? It feels like we need a degree in chemistry just to understand the ingredients in our everyday beauty products. Why make it so complicated? The cosmetic line makes it compulsory for products to label their ingredients according to the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) system to standardize the naming of ingredients globally. The results? It makes no sense to shoppers.

If we are allergic to eggs, it is easy to avoid all products with eggs on their ingredient label, but for skincare products, it is much more complicated than that. What’s the purpose of having chemical compounds on a tiny ingredient label if we do not understand them?

You have the right to know what’s in YOUR products

Consumers have the right to know and understand individual contents of products they purchase. There is a need for complete ingredient transparency to raise awareness around consumer rights in the blur of marketing hypes and ambiguous labels. This is crucial as consumers need to be able to understand what’s in their products in order to choose the least harmful products.

health is a priority!

How do we decode cosmetic ingredient labels?

Health apps and websites. Fortunately, there are many apps that function as ingredient analyzers to determine the components of your product and a thorough analysis and summary of its ingredients. They do the hard work for you of looking into science journals to come up with a paragraph long summary explaining the functions and features of the ingredient/ product.

Jump to:

1Source
INCIDecoder
Code Check
Think Dirty

1Source

Ingredient analyzers have popped up over the years to accumulate a database of products and ingredients to breakdown the ingredients into lay man friendly, bite sized factoids.

With a database of 500,000 ingredients and consumer product data, 1Source breaks down complicated chemical jargon into page long summaries about main features of ingredients, and backs it up with links from medical and scientific journals for those who intend to have a deeper understanding of the ingredients. Product can’t be found on the database? Just take a picture and upload the product to our website / app in just a few clicks!

Other Features:

Potential Risk Index

Furthermore, 1Source curated its very own potential risk index to determine the harmfulness of a product. An ingredient will be assigned a level 1 rating (green) to level 10 rating if it has been banned or classified as a carcinogen by the IRAC. The rating of green, yellow and red make it easy to determine the safety of the product.

Health ratings

Health Filter

Besides being an ingredient analyzer site, 1Source is the only site in the world that screens products based on personal health conditions. Our app also allows users to quickly scan barcodes of products and alert them if any hazardous chemicals are found. Simply by inputting your own health profile our website, the app can help filter and find products which will not trigger your health conditions and warn you of those that do.


INCIDecoder

This soft purple and white color scheme with simple infographics is cute and easy on the eyes. The website contains basic functions, making it user friendly and easy to navigate. Highlights of its functions include searching for a product or ingredient, showcasing products and cute infographics featuring different chemical compounds.

Product / Ingredient Ratings

INCIDecoder contains rating system from ” no rating” (functional ingredients) to “superstar” ingredients which does good things for the skin and is backed by research. After looking at this rating, INCIDecoder makes it possible to look for products with or without certain ingredients. Product not in the system? Create an account and upload it.


Code Check

Code Check is an app only platform that scans product barcode and rates ingredients based on scientific sources. The app is first ever ingredient analyzer in the industry and aims to help people discover cleaner and healthier product alternatives. Ratings can be adjusted according to preference. However, the rating system is a little impractical and hard to decipher as the overlapping ratings make it hard to understand at one glance.

Courtesy of Code Check

Think Dirty

This app only platform contains over 850,000 cosmetics from Canada and the US. They have a rating called Dirty Meter which comprises of ingredient information, certifications and health impacts.

My Bathroom Rating:

Keeps track of what you already have in your bathroom. Figure out your current bathroom rating, and track your process on “cleaning” it up.

Shopping lists:

Identical to Amazon or other E-commerce websites, save products to a basket to make shopping easier.

Shop now:

Want a particular product? Buy them directly from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Well.ca, Sephora.com and more!

UPC Submission: Can’t find your product on the database, scan the barcode of the product and submit it to the app.

Courtesy of Think Dirty on google app store

A more sustainable world

If consumers were to understand individual components in their products and its toxicity, consumers will start making smart, informed decisions and choose less harmful and toxic products. The whole cycle changes.The supply chain and the environment becomes cleaner. What we need for a more Eco friendly and sustainable world is lesser marketing hypes, smarter consumer choices and a world of ingredient transparency.

20% of Spices in your Cupboard have Toxins

In a recent discovery by the Consumer Council in Hong Kong, 20% of popular retail spices contain carcinogenic aflatoxins. But why is this a concern?

With the pandemic still at large in many countries, we have been cooking at home more often. We tend to think home cooked meals are generally safe because we know what ingredients we are using. But what we do not know is how these raw ingredients are being produced.

The Study

The Consumer Council selected and tested 37 dried spices that were popular items in the kitchen. Many of the spices came from popular chain supermarket stores, making them heavily accessible. Here were the findings:

  • 24% were found to contain aflatoxins (AFs) and/or ochratoxin A (OTA)
  • 1 curry powder sample had exceeded the content regularly limit for the EU and Hong Kong

It was urged by the Consumer Council for producers of the spices to improve the production process to reduce the level of aflatoxins levels.

The samples that contained that contained AFs were 3 white peppers, 2 curry powder and 1 garlic powder. So there is no particular spice that has this problem, it can happen in any kind of dried spice.

What are Aflatoxins?

Aflatoxins are more common than you think. They can occur in foods such as nuts, rice and other dried foods like spices and cocoa beans because of a fungal contamination before and after harvest. It is a natural process but can be avoided.

Aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens and mutagens that has been classified as a Group 1 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

What are the safety hazards of products containing Aflatoxins?

  • Fatal if swallowed (H300)
  • Fatal in contact with skin (H310)
  • Fatal if inhaled (H330)
  • May cause cancer (H350)

1Source Health Tips

There are a few things we can do to improve the safety of our home cooking with dried spices.

  • Take note of the product label. Highlight the shelf life and expiry date.
  • Make sure the product packaging is intact to avoid any contamination.
  • Store in a tightly sealed container after opening and in a cool dry place.
  • Reduce the amount of spices to reduce the amount of intake of toxins.

With more knowledge comes better decision making. Take more time to examine your products to make the more beneficial decision. Just because a product is cheap and in the shelves of a supermarket, does not mean it is free of toxins.

“Low sugar” labels on beverages are lies

As people become more health conscious, many of us opt for healthier options when doing our shopping. We choose “low sugar” and “zero sugar” options to try to cut down our sugar intake, however, studies show that these labels are fallacious claims.

sugar-y drinks

The Consumer Council tested 51 beverages with sweeteners with zero calories, however the results of the research showed that many samples were still rich in sugar despite the addition of sweeteners. The beverages tested included 18 non-alcohol carbonated drinks, 16 sports and energy drinks and 17 other drinks ranging from fruit juices, yoghurt drinks and flavored bottled water. The Council cross checked the sugar contents of the samples against its nutrition labels and tested the amount of sweeteners it contained.

sugar!

Samples do not comply with “low sugar” regulations!

Food and Drugs (Composition and labelling) Regulations states that products with “low sugar” or “zero sugar” should not contain more than 0.5g -5g of free sugar per 100ml. However, The Council’s research shows that up to 36 samples abused this guideline, with sugar ranging to 14g per 100ml, more than double than what was stated in the regulation.

Two drinks easily takes us over the sugar limit!

The recommended daily intake for sugar is 50g, according to the World Health Organization, however, 40% of the samples had nearly half the level of recommended daily sugar intake in just one can.

Issue of laws and legalities

  • According to the Sweeteners in Food Regulations in Hong Kong, food manufacturers and food importers can only use or sell food products using 10 permitted sweeteners, however there is no regulation on the amount of different sweeteners used.
  • Some sweeteners detected in some samples did not match with nutrition labels.
  • Some samples lacked identification of sweeteners as required by the law.

Health risks:

Sweeteners are a “sugar substitute 100x sweeter than sucrose” that is neither digested nor absorbed by the body, according to Hong Kong Consumer Council. 4 types of sweeteners were tested in this study, including acesulfame potassium/ACE-K, aspartame, sucralose and steviol glycosides. Although it has no calories and does not affect blood glucose levels, research shows that it still poses its own health risks.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer conducted a study of over 400, 000 individuals and found that people who consumed sweetened beverages more frequently faced a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Those with a regular consumption of at least 2 cans of soft drinks with sweeteners per day had a 26% higher mortality rate than those who drink less than one can per month.

Advise:

  • Contrary to popular belief, artificially sweetened beverages don’t help your weight loss journey. Studies revealed that they increase sweet cravings and make people desire sweeter foods.
  • Sports and energy drinks have connotations to health and fitness brand. However, this study found that many sports and energy drinks contained sweeteners irrespective of natural sugar contents. Consider diluting energy drinks with water and refrain from drinking excessively.
  • Beware of caffeine and other stimulants in your drinks!

1Source Rates Common Body Lotion Products

Summer is officially over in the northern hemisphere. As we near cooler days and shorter evenings, we start stocking up moisturizers and body lotions to protect our skin against harsh weather. However, with so many products lining supermarket shelves, how to choose the most suitable products?

20201010 at a popular chain store in HK

We got you! Our team recently compiled a list of common body lotion products found in local drug stores and supermarkets in Hong Kong. From budget prices to high end brands, 1Source has analyzed the product contents through its system and came up with a Potential Risk Index and short description for each product.

Body Lotions we analyzed:

Popular products in Hong KongPotential Risk Index®
Cerave Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream10
Chloe Love Story Body Lotion10
Collagen by Watsons Shea Butter Softening Body Lotion10
Nivea Body Moisturising Mousse10
Philosophy Living Grace Firming Body Emulsion10
The Body Shop Vegan British Rose Body Yoghurt10
Aesop Protective Body Lotion SPF506
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Stress Relief Lotion 6
Johnsons Body Care Lotion6
Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair6
QV Skin Lotion Repair Skin6
Cerave Moisturising Lotion For Dry to Very Dry Skin5
Locccitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream5
Nivea Intensive moisture Body Milk 48H5
Crabtree Evelyn Gardeners Body Lotion New4
Derma 365 Gentle Lotion4
Kundal Body Lotion4
Cetaphil Pro Ad Derma Skin Restoring Moisturizer3
Physiogel Daily Moisture Therapy Body Lotion3

QV Skin Lotion Repair Skin

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Comments:

  • Contains methylparaben , which is proven to be carcinogenic when bound to human estrogen receptor

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Stress Relief Lotion (Lavender, Chamomile, Ylang- Ylang)

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Stress Relief Lotion, With Lavender, Chamomile + Ylang-Ylang 艾惟諾 天然薰衣草舒緩保濕乳

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Comments:

  • Contains benzyl alcohol which is found to be strongly linkedin to the incidence of brain damage among infants

Kundal Honey & Macadamia Body Lotion, Baby Powder

Kundal Honey & Macadamia Body Lotion, Baby Powder 蜂蜜堅果保濕潤膚乳 爽身粉香

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 4

Derma365 Gentle Lotion, Suitable For Eczema, Dry And Itchy Skin

Derma365 Gentle Lotion, Suitable For Eczema, Dry And Itchy Skin

Potential Health Index:

potential risk index 4

Comments:


Cetaphil PRO AD Derma Body Skin Restoring Moisturizer

Cetaphil PRO AD Derma Body Skin Restoring Moisturizer 舒特膚 倍加護潤膚霜

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 3

Comments: No ingredients rated above 4


Physiogel DAILY MOISTURE THERAPY BODY LOTION

Physiogel DAILY MOISTURE THERAPY BODY LOTION

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 3

Comments: No ingredient above rating 4


Cerave Moisturizing Lotion For Dry To Very Dry Skin

Cerave Moisturising Lotion For Dry To Very Dry Skin

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 5

Comments:

  • Contains phenoxyethanol, a potential irritant to skin and banned in all sunscreen products from January 1 2020 by the Republic of Palau to protect its coral reefs and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Contains methylparaben , which is proven to be carcinogenic when bound to human estrogen receptor

Cerave Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream

Cerave Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:


Nivea Intensive Moisture Body Milk 48H

Nivea Intensive Moisture Body Milk 48H

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 5

Comments:


Nivea Body Moisturising Mousse Fresh Cucumber & Matcha Tea Fragrance 48H

Nivea Body Moisturising Mousse Fresh Cucumber & Matcha Tea Fragrance 48H

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:

  • Contains phenoxyethanol, a potential irritant to skin and banned in all sunscreen products from January 1 2020 by the Republic of Palau to protect its coral reefs and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Contains Butane which is on the Canada Ingredient Hotlist of ingredients prohibited for use in cosmetic products in 2019

Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Body Lotion

Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Body Lotion

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Comments:

  • Contains phenoxyethanol, a potential irritant to skin and banned in all sunscreen products from January 1 2020 by the Republic of Palau to protect its coral reefs and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Contains methylparaben , which is proven to be carcinogenic when bound to human estrogen receptor

Johnson’s Body Care Aroma Milk, Rose & Jasmine

Johnson'S Body Care Aroma Milk, Rose & Jasmine エクストラケア アロマローション

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Chloé Love Story Body Lotion

Chloé Love Story Body Lotion

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:

  • Contains colorant red4, which is prohibited in cosmetic products according to EU CosIng Annex II in 2017 and 2018
  • Contains oxybenzone, functions as physical sunscreen that is banned in 2018 for commercial uses as it is found to be a serious water contaminant to coral reefs under Hawaii Senate Bill 2571
  • Oxybenzone may cause skin irritation and allergic skin reaction
  • Contains Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, which functions as sunscreen and is found to behave as an endocrine disrupter

Aesop Protective Body Lotion SPF50

Aesop Protective Body Lotion SPF50

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Comments:

  • Contains octocrylene, which functions as a chemical filter and is found to be a strong allergen leading to contact dermatitis in children and mostly photoallergic contact dermatitis in adults

Philosophy Living Grace Firming Body Emulsion

Philosophy Living Grace Firming Body Emulsion

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:


Collagen By Watsons Shea Butter Softening Body Lotion

Collagen By Watsons Shea Butter Softening Body Lotion

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:


L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream

L'Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 5

Comments:

Contains phenoxyethanol, a potential irritant to skin and banned in all sunscreen products from January 1 2020 by the Republic of Palau to protect its coral reefs and UNESCO World Heritage Site


Crabtree & Evelyn GARDENERS BODY LOTION (New)

Crabtree & Evelyn GARDENERS BODY LOTION (New)

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 4

Comments:


The Body Shop Vegan British Rose Body Yogurt

The Body Shop Vegan British Rose Body Yogurt

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:

  • Contains colorant Red 4 which is prohibited in cosmetic products according to the EU CosIng Annex II 2017 and 2018

Here is what we learnt about body lotions:

  • A product may be popular or has a good reputation but contain unsafe ingredients within certain products
  • Higher pricing does not guarantee products with safer ingredients
  • Just because a product is common and you see it everywhere does not mean all its ingredients are safe

Just because a brand is popular or has a good reputation doesn’t mean that all its products are completely safe. This is because ingredients within a product varies among different products, hence the importance of using an ingredient analyzer site to scan product ingredients to ensure the safety of you and your family.

6 Natural Dry and Sensitive Skin Remedies

Natural is becoming the more sought after method of treatment due to the many hazardous ingredients that are in shelved products. The ingredient label doesn’t tell you much about what is inside a product. There is no clear indication of what ingredients are safe and which ones are hazardous.

What natural remedies are out there that can help with our skincare routine? Here are 6 to get you started!

1. Coconut Oil

Natural Dry and Sensitive Skin Remedies – Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, or copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Coconut oil is 99% fat, composed mainly of saturated fats. It has various applications.

A natural remedy that is recommended by the National Eczema Association as it can help prevent infection. It is highly recommended for those with patches of inflamed skin that are prone to cracking and oozing. The antibacterial abilities of coconut oil can reduce staph bacteria on the skin.

Coconut can be used as a natural moisturizer. It is made by extracting from the coconut meat. Choosing the right product is vital, as virgin or cold-pressed coconut oils are the ones without chemicals.

2. Chamomile

Natural Dry and Sensitive Skin Remedies – Chamomile

Something I used as a child and saw great improvements to my Eczema. Highly known for its antioxidant properties, Chamomile is a medicinally recognized plant that promotes skin health by tightening the skin and improving complexion.

2014 study showed that Chamomile lotion can be equally effective as hydrocortisone, making it a natural alternative to the cream.

Chamomile cream/lotion can be bought over-the-counter, so no prescription is needed. Chamomile tea can be used to massaged into the skin as an alternative.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Apple cider vinegar has many uses, but did you know it can be used as an exfoliant? It can help to remove dead skin and stimulate healthy skin growth. It is well known for its antiseptic and antibiotic properties.

Apple cider vinegar has the vitamins and nutrients needed to regenerate skin cells. When applying, dilute a small amount with water. Apply to your skin and leave it for a few minutes before washing the mixture off with water.

Along with oatmeal, it can be used to exfoliate your skin and soothe Eczema symptoms in baths. Be sure to use the right amount of dilution to prevent irritation. Consult a doctor or dermatologist for more feedback.

4. Turmeric

Natural Dry and Sensitive Skin Remedies – Turmeric

Turmeric is a herb well known for its anti-inflammatory properties that contains curcumin. Curcumin is a rich in antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties compound.

Turmeric cream can help speed up wound healing and reduce scarring for Cesarean wounds according to a 2015 study.

Top tip, you can actually mix honey and turmeric together for a more effective paste to treat Eczema scars. Apply the paste and let it sit on your skin for 10-20 minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm water.

5. Sunflower Oil

Natural Dry and Sensitive Skin Remedies – Sunflower Oil

Another oil on the list! This time it is sunflower oil, made by extracting the oils from sunflower seeds. Sunflower oil has proven benefits to the skin that makes it enticing to use.

Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil pressed from the seeds of sunflower (Helianthus annuus). Sunflower oil is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient.

Sunflower oil can hydrate skin, preventing inflammation and itching. It protects the skin’s out layer, which keeps the bacteria out. This is proven by research, making it a must to try out in terms of natural remedies.

6. Colloidal Oatmeal

Natural Dry and Sensitive Skin Remedies – Colloidal Oatmeal

Colloidal Oatmeal is a popular treatment to help calm and soften inflamed skin. Colloidal oatmeal is oatmeal grains that have been ground into an extremely fine powder which is then suspended in a bulking liquid.

The properties of the colloidal oatmeal mixture are often derived from the suspension liquid. It can be used as a moisturizer and helps to soothe itchy, scratchy skin or eczema-esque symptoms. It should not be ingested. 

The most popular methods of using colloidal oatmeal in a lukewarm bath and to use it as a paste and apply it to your skin. It should be noted that you must check whether you have an allergic reaction to oats or not first before trying this remedy out.