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Beauty Product Labels Make Tempting, But Misleading Promises

CHICAGO (CBS) -- What can you believe when reading the labels on beauty products? So many of them pledge to make women look younger. As CBS 2's Mary Kay Kleist reports, don't be tempted to buy products filled with empty promises.

Anne Cowie has quite an extensive collection of beauty products.

"I'm definitely one to buy anything. Beauty companies can sell me dirt. I'll buy anything!" she said. "I just think, the guarantee that they give."

But claims made on labels might not mean what you think.

Mary Kay asked beauty product user Becky Spence about using something that says it's for sensitive skin.

"It's not gonna irritate it," Spence said.

But what did Loyola University dermatologist Rebecca Tung say?

"Some of them may contain fragrance. Some of them may contain irritating preservatives," she said. Depending on your sensitivity, it might still irritate your skin.

Erin McCullough said, when she sees the word "hypoallergenic" on the label of a beauty product, she believes "it's safe for you to use if you have any sort of skin allergies."

But there are no federal standards for the term hypoallergenic.

What about beauty products billed as "lifting?" Talandra Moore said, "I think it would probably tighten, tone, tuck, pull up something."

Not necessarily. Vitamin A, retinols and vitamin C can help, but Tung said, "You would be hard pressed to find a product if you're looking to raise your cheeks."

Natural is another word you see a lot, but every ingredient isn't necessarily 100% natural.

"I'm very surprised, because again that's what I look for when I'm purchasing these things," said Cowie.

So what should women do?

"Consult with a dermatologist to find out what your skin condition is first, and then we can help guide you on products that might be most helpful for you," said Tung.

So here's the real deal. Tung said, if you see a product labeled "broad spectrum," "water resistant," or "organic" -- if it has the USDA seal on it -- those are claims you can believe.


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