Why Skincare Packaging Matters

By Susie

  • In order to protect the effectiveness of your skincare products until the very last drop, you need to carefully inspect the integrity of product packaging
  • Airless pump containers and amber bottles are used for a reason
  • Also, don't forget to think about sustainability too!

Skincare is an investment of time and money and like all investments, you want to protect it. I was surprised to find out that there are a lot of factors that can affect the integrity of my skincare products after I had bought them. I spent so much time researching brands and looking at ingredient lists but didn’t realize when it comes to skincare product integrity, I had to dig into the packaging as well.

Once I was using peel pads in a jar and noticed over time, they became very yellow, almost a rust color. When I asked my dermatologist about it, she said exposure to air causes certain skincare ingredients to break down. Every time I opened the jar and let air in, important ingredients like vitamin C and retinol were deteriorating and becoming less effective.

More recently with the pandemic going on, I’m also more cognizant of germs and spreading them. Every time I opened my jar of moisturizer and dipped my fingers in, I wondered if I was contaminating it. I asked my dermatologist about this as well. She confirmed it’s hard to always have your hands completely clean and any bacteria introduced could further deteriorate the ingredients, along with all the air it’s being exposed to.

Another thing to keep in mind is that in addition to air, heat and light can also compromise the integrity of key skincare ingredients.  So when you’re dealing with less-stable ingredients like Vitamin C and retinol, you want to stay away from see-through and clear packaging and instead opt for packaging that’s opaque or a darker color like amber to minimize exposure to light and heat, which can make products less effective over time.

Who knew there could be so many outside factors impacting your skincare products? Below is a simple list of what to look for to make sure your product is effective not just on the first day you open it, but to the very last drop:

  • Airless-pump containers: these are the kind you press down on to dispense product without having to open the container. They don’t allow air in, so the ingredients aren’t exposed. An added benefit is that you don’t have to dip your fingers into the product which keeps it extra clean and germ free.
  • Amber or opaque glass: the natural light filtering properties of amber protect the product inside from UV rays which can break down the ingredients. If you need more proof, consider the beer you’re drinking and the amber glass bottle it comes in. I always thought it was aesthetic, but actually, the amber glass is what keeps the beer from going sour. Exposure to UV rays damages the acids found in hops in the beer and triggers a chemical process that is nearly identical to the spray of a skunk, hence the name “skunky beer”. If UV rays can turn a beer skunky, imagine what it can do to a skincare bottle!
  • Sustainability: not only is amber glass highly recyclable, it can be used over and over again as it is non-porous and doesn’t absorb chemicals. In addition to primary packaging such as jars and glass bottles, also make sure to check out the boxes your products come in. Looking for brands that use recycled paper and environmental inks is an easy way to incorporate sustainability and environmental awareness even into your daily skincare routine.