Bay Area dermatologist breaks down the biggest buzzwords in skin care

TAMPA, Fla. - When you go shopping for skincare products you'll see a lot of attractive marketing lingo on the packaging.

But what does it all really mean?

Let's say you see the words 'all-natural' or ‘organic.’

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"'All natural' just means that predominantly things that are from nature were used to make the product and manufacture the product. There's not as many synthetic ingredients in the product. There’s no governing party that actually says everything is all-natural or organic," said Dr. Summer Moon of Bay Dermatology.

How about 'hypoallergenic?'

"Most commonly, these are going to be healthy and safe for our sensitive skin individuals, but things like fragrance, Balsam of Peru, [and] formaldehyde - those are our top allergens that can cause skin reactions. There’s no guarantee at all that you won't have a reaction to anything that says hypoallergenic or even fragrance-free", said Dr. Moon.

And speaking of fragrance-free, does that really mean it has no scent?

"Not necessarily. Again, this is kind of marketing strategies, which in theory we want to believe that they're fragrance free," Dr. Moon said. "And what that means is that there's fragrance is not in the primary ingredients used to make the topical."

What about a product that has "helps with premature aging" on the label?

"Everyone wants to kind of fight the premature aging wrinkles, sunspots. And really what we do know is that the only thing that does that is really are sunscreen.  What we recommend is a zinc or titanium-based sunscreens. Zinc and titanium-based sunscreens are the ones that actually block the UV damage," Dr. Moon said. "As far as antioxidants on your skin, which do help again with fine lines and wrinkles and helps with our antioxidants on our skin, it's our vitamin C."

And what if it's maximum strength?

"So it doesn't mean that you can't have a reaction," Dr. Moon said. "In fact, we see reactions quite frequently with things like this, but maximum strength is the maximum amount that you can get over the counter."

And what's the difference between 'moisturizing' and 'hydrating?'

"So hydrators are things like hyaluronic acid. They draw moisture into the skin. So this is part of our morning routine to help our skin feel more plump and more volumized. They draw water into the skin, whereas your moisturizers or your creams or your lotions, those are things that trap and kind of seal the moisture into your skin", said Dr. Moon.

Dr. Moon said some dermatologists offer patch testing to see if patients have allergies to particular ingredients.