News from CRIS: Exploring Product Ingredients - Lotion

April 20, 2021

What do I need to know before we dig in?

Remember, ingredients are listed from largest quantity to smallest quantity on a label. Different ingredients require different quantities and different doses to work as intended. 

You can learn more about cosmetic product labeling in a prior blog post.
We know that certain ingredients are common to specific products. So, you will notice commonalities and differences in listed ingredients as we explore the ingredient information.
The ingredient differences in similar products don’t necessarily make one product better than another product. Formulations balancing the ingredients are critical to the end product. It’s also quite subjective, what one person may find to work effectively, another person may not have the same success.

Lotions typically contain eight types of ingredients:

  • Emollients: help maintain soft, smooth skin.
  • Emulsifiers: help ingredients that naturally repel one another (e.g., oil and water) stay together and maintain their consistency.
  • Fragrances: provide the pleasant smell common in many products.
  • Humectants: help attract and retain moisture to the surface of the skin (1).
  • Occlusives: help slow moisture evaporation from our skin’s surface (typically oil-based).
  • pH Adjusters: help regulate the pH of a product keeping it safe to use on the skin.
  • Preservatives: help prevent unwanted bacteria and fungi from growing in the product (1).
  • Solvents: help ingredients dissolve and combine with one another. 

There are hundreds of ingredients that fall into the above categories and cosmetic manufacturers will pull ingredients from these (and other) categories to formulate their products.
Please note, we did not manufacture the products we’re exploring in this post. The ingredients and the ingredients’ purposes may be more nuanced and may include other properties not listed. Also, ingredients can have more than one function so some ingredients may be found in more than one category.


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