Asian woman in bathrobe and towel applying cream on face

Reading the ingredients list is not just for skincare nerds and product junkies. Even casual enthusiasts and curious newbies benefit from this habit. After all, a hot new hero ingredient is always making the rounds on social media. A new brand or product is always being deemed “holy grail.” Checking the label is simply the responsible thing to do for your skin and your wallet. Here’s why.

You May Have Allergies

Skin sensitivities can develop in adulthood. Products your skin may have tolerated in your 20s won’t necessarily be the best for your skin a decade later. Certain popular ingredients supposedly safe to use for “all skin types” can still in some people. You’ll never know until it hits you — checking the ingredients list from then on is on you.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) enumerates common allergens as parabens, imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, phenoxyethanol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and formaldehyde. It recommends choosing products with the fewest ingredients to lower the risk of an allergic reaction.

If you have sensitive skin, try using Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant Aerosol and Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Lotion. These are both mild formulations suitable for newborn skin and are both pH-neutral.

Some Ingredients May Clash

If you like multi-step routines that involve two serums, moisturizers, and essence, you may need to be more mindful of what’s in them. Check the ingredients list for items that may clash. They may either end up canceling each other out or irritating your skin.

An example of a combination that doesn’t work is and since both increase cell turnover and renewal. Together, they can over-exfoliate your skin, resulting in irritation. Another example is retinol with . While they won’t necessarily clash, using them together will keep them from working well because they require different pH levels to work.

You should also avoid using a with vitamin C. According to the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, soap has a high pH that decreases the skin’s ability to absorb vitamin C, which thrives in a low pH environment. If you’re unsure about mixing and matching, use products within the same brand and line since they are meant to work well together.

Claims Can Be Misleading

The AAD also notes that claims and labels such as “hypoallergenic,” “non-irritating,” and “dermatologist-tested” don’t guarantee that they won’t irritate your skin. Similar to how the terms “organic” and “natural” are not regulated, there are no rules on the usage of these terms on labels. Regarding the claim “hypoallergenic,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states: “The term can mean whatever the company wants it to mean.”

“Vegan” is also unregulated, but it is pretty straightforward since it only covers the ingredients list of a product. If a product is vegan, it does not contain animal ingredients. “Cruelty-free,” on the other hand, means testing didn't involve animals. To be sure, consumers can check with Vegan Action or PETA or go to . Companies may test but aren't required. The only way to be sure is by checking the ingredients list for irritants and allergens or buying only from brands you trust.

If you’re looking for a revitalizing shampoo that is easy on the hair, try Dove Botanical Silicone Free Shampoo for Damaged Hair Restore. It is formulated with a gentle, silicone-free formula.

It’s Good to Know What’s in There

Even without allergies, it’s still good to know what’s inside skincare products before buying them. Familiarizing yourself with the science of skin care can help make sense of the ingredients list, but the guidelines above can get you off to a good start.