Skin deep: Delivering beauty in a bottle

Do you know what ingredients go into your concealer or hand cream?

Laaleen Khan November 19, 2011


Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to one’s skin. Consumers are often duped into using products that may cause long-term damage to their health. If a ‘miraculous’ skin cream comes in a shoddy container with a dubious name like ‘Lady Pretty Fair’, it’s likely that the ingredients ought not to be trusted.

On the flip side, many fancy containers or products that claim to be ‘herbal’ do not guarantee safe results either. In other words, study the ingredients — and their safe dosage — before exposing your skin to them.

With imported brands and home-grown products featuring ingredients like licorice, beeswax, caffeine and sheep fat, Pakistan’s growing skincare industry claims to treat everyday skin ailments.


1. Titanium dioxide (L’Oreal’s White Perfect product line; Garnier’s Light product line;) is an ingredient found in sunscreens that acts as a barrier from UV rays.

2. Kojic acid (Derma Clin Forte Cream, Vince Extra Strength Lightening Cream) is derived from fermented rice and lightens the skin. However, its overuse and exposure to sunlight often leads to skin irritation.

3. Licorice (Himalaya Clear Complexion Whitening Day Cream, Luscious Foundation Stick, Fair & Lovely Herbal Natural Fairness Cream, The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Whitening Night Treatment) is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that also inhibits pigmentation.

4. Sandalwood (Saeed Ghani Sandal Whitening Cream) is a calming, indigenous essential oil considered to be beneficial for the skin.


1. Retinol, or Vitamin A (L’Oreal Revitalift with Stimulift technology contains Pro-Retinol A; Pond’s Age Miracle has Retinol boosters;), is a highly effective complexion enhancer. Overuse and exposure to sunlight may increase a risk of reproductive damage.

2. Q10 (Nivea Anti-Wrinkle Q10 Plus, Eucerin Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Creme) has co-enzyme properties that firm the skin.

3. Pomegranate (The Body Shop Natrulift Firming Serum contains pomegranate seed oil) is an antoxidant that works to regenerate skin cells.

4. Glycerine (Oriflame Diamond Cellular Anti-Ageing Cream, Olay Regenerist, L’Oreal Skin Expertise RevitaLift Night Lotion) is a natural skin softener found in animal and plant fats.


1. Neem oil (Himalaya Neem Face Pack, Saeed Ghani Neem Oil) is an indigenous Ayurvedic ingredient with healing properties for the skin. It can, however, cause reproductive problems when used in excess.

2. Tea Tree oil (GNC’s pure Tea Tree Oil; The Body Shop’s Tea Tree product line) is a natural antifungal agent that heals dry scalp conditions as well as skin afflicted with acne, insect bites and rash.


1. Beeswax or Cera Alba, is an efficient emulsifier and a component of the highly effective Saeed Ghani’s Heel Krack Cream and The Body Shop’s Afrique Honey & Beeswax Hand and Foot Butter.

2. Lanolin is derived from fatty sheepskin secretions found in wool and an ingredient of basic facial and body moisturisers like Oil of Olay, E45 and Nivea, as well as in the pricey Creme de la Mer. Its concentrated form heals chapped or broken skin.


1. Amla or Indian Gooseberry (Saeed Ghani Tarchup Herbal Tonic combines Amla Oil with Neem leaves and other ingredients), is rich in Vitamin C and thought to stimulate hair follicles.

2. Cactus oil (Dabur Vatika Cactus Enriched Hair Oil also contains Garlic and Garger/Rocket Oil) helps to nourish the scalp and improve brittle hair textures. Solutions:

1. Caffeine (Garnier Caffeine Eye Roll-On, The Body Shop Natrulift Eye Roll-On) claims to improve under-eye circles.

2. Cooling eye gel (Olay Age Defying Revitalising Eye Gel, The Body Shop Elderflower Cooling Eye Gel) works to freshen tired eyes.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2011.


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