A Guide to Good Practices for Cosmetics

We must stop using cosmetic products once they've expired, and specialists recommend not changing containers or mixing them. These recommendations for good practices when using cosmetics are a great help when caring for our skin.
A Guide to Good Practices for Cosmetics

Last update: 09 May, 2021

Sometimes, we just have no idea on how to follow good practices for cosmetics. The AEMPS -Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products- has published a document called “Guide of Good Practices for Cosmetics“.

The aim of this document is to avoid problems related to the use of these products, due to the fact that certain bad uses and practices of cosmetic products have been identified. These bad habits may even pose a risk to public health.

The Spanish Cosmetovigilance System, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of all cosmetic products on the market, has detected that many of the problems relating to cosmetics come from misuse by consumers. And, although they’re not that many, you can avoid them by following the recommendations that we’ll explain throughout the article.

Let’s see what these recommendations are!

1. Always read the label

A good practice for cosmetics is to always read the labeling of the product you’re going to use. Likewise, you should also ask a specialist about the instructions for use and pay special attention to all the warnings and precautions that are indicated on it.

This way, we’ll be informed of the components that the product has and we’ll avoid, for example, adverse reactions to certain substances we know we’re allergic to.

2. Use the product for the purpose for which it was manufactured

The second point of the Guide of Good Practices for Cosmetics is quite clear. Cosmetics shouldn’t be used for a purpose for which it isn’t intended by the manufacturer. For example, we shouldn’t use a hand cream to try to moisturize our face as the skin on each area is different.

3. Respect expiry dates and the time limit after opening

You should never use cosmetic products once they’ve expired, or after the maximum date that a product can withstand after having been opened. The reason for this is that the molecules can change their chemical structure after a certain period of time. For example, the humidity of the environment or light are conditions that cause them to react chemically and become different molecules.

Thus, if we use a product outside the recommended dates, the composition may have changed. If this is the case, either we’ll fail to obtain the desired effects or undesired and harmful effects will occur.

A woman cleaning her face with a sponge.

4. Store products properly

Similar to the previous point, we have to store cosmetic products properly – avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures and direct sunlight- as well as keeping cosmetic containers clean and tightly closed. In addition, if you don’t do this properly, it may modify the composition of the product and produce the same effects that would occur in expired products.

5. Wash your hands before using the cosmetic product

This habit is essential to avoid infections and unwanted reactions in the area where we use the product. Our hands are full of microorganisms and dirt.

If we don’t keep proper hygiene, we’ll transport all these substances to the area where we apply the product. The consequences can be a skin infection or an allergic reaction such as dermatitis.

6. Don’t share products that may be in contact with fluids

Some cosmetic products, such as eye pencils or lipsticks, are in contact with our body fluids. By sharing them, we would be in contact with other people’s fluids. Shared fluids make disease transmission likely.

7. Don’t mix products or add additional substances to the initial product

Many people modify the initial composition of cosmetic products because they think they can obtain a stronger or more beneficial effect. Although it may seem like a good idea, this habit is wrong and can cause unwanted effects on the consumer.

Cosmetic cream in a jar.

Cosmetic product containers are manufactured in a specific way to guarantee good conservation of the product. Transferring a product to another container won’t guarantee this conservation, which may cause a modification of its content.

9. Discard products that aren’t reusable

There are some products that aren’t reusable. If the manufacture of the container specifies at the outset that it can’t be reused, then it should be discarded once the contents have been used.

10. Throw away products that look bad

When we’re going to use a cosmetic product that has some alteration in its color, smell or consistency, we should throw it away and not use it. It may be damaged and may irritate the area where we’re going to apply it.

Conclusion on good practices for cosmetics

In conclusion, we must follow this Guide of Good Practices for Cosmetics published by the AEMPS. If we put it into practice, we’ll save ourselves a lot of unpleasantness and worries related to unwanted effects triggered by this type of product.

Although it may seem to us that cosmetics are harmless, we must understand that their composition is chemical and they’re subject to care very similar to that used in medicines.

We should be careful when using them and, in addition to acquiring them in places certified for their sale, we should store them correctly.

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  • INVIMA. (2009). ABC Buenas Prácticas Clínicas. Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social, República de Colombia.
  • Departamento Nacional de Planeación (DNP). (2004). Cosméticos y aseo. Cadenas Productivas Estructura, Comercio Internacional y Protección.