Cheap Cosmetics’s Impact on Skin & Its Organic, Accessible Remedies

Most people have learnt to be thrifty or have savings set aside for rainy days by this age. In an effort to save money, however, it becomes easier to choose cheaper products over one with better quality.

We may tend to try new and cheap skincare products, which may adversely lead to many health and skin problems. Let us understand why these products are harmful, and learn how to save and have great skin at the same time.

Price or safety?

During this phase in your life, you might want to try new skincare products from new or different brands. These may also be trendy skincare and cosmetic products.

But let’s face it, we somehow become negligent over product safety while placing cheap price as a priority. According to a news piece on Channel NewsAsia, these cheap products are usually found online. Most of the popular ones are e-commerce sites such as Qoo10 or online marketplaces, like Carousell. The convenience in purchasing skincare or makeup products online has led to many women being negligent over product safety.

Moreover, some of us may not have high income at this age, resulting in a lower spending power. Cheaper skincare products then become attractive – for example, a $50 toner look-alike for $10!  But, many of these cheaper cosmetics may contain harsh chemical ingredients that damage our skin.

woman checking the product label

Effects on Skin & Remedies

The ingredients that can be found in cheap skincare products carry the risk of inauthenticity. This means that the ingredient list or label may be inaccurate, or of poor quality. There also lies the risk of improper storage of the products, causing them to go bad. When stored improperly, skincare products can harm your skin, as it absorbs these ingredients that have been damaged.

Not only that, but because these products are at low-cost prices, and some of which may be from unknown brands, they may be counterfeits or contain undeclared potent ingredients. These can also cause permanent damage to your skin, such as the following:

  • Dark circles and eye bags
  • Acne
  • Damage to nails and dry cuticles
  • Dry skin
  • Skin allergies

Permanent dark circles and bags under the eyes

Dark circles are generally caused by genetics and your skin tone. For those of you who are fair-skinned, dark circles may appear purplish or bluish in color. This is because the skin under your eyes is thin and translucent, making the underlying veins visible.

under eye bags

Another reason for a darker-colored skin tone under your eye is because of insufficient sleep. It causes venous congestion, which means that fluid builds up under your eyes, leading to blood accumulation in those veins. This darkens the skin tone!

Puffy eyes VS eye bags

Eye bags, on the other hand, are often mistaken for “puffy eyes”. The difference lies in the pooled fat and how the skin stretches. Puffy eyes is generally a temporary swelling, caused by allergies, high salt intake or alcohol. These leave you dehydrated, resulting in your body retaining more water. Coupled with insufficient sleep, dark circles and puffy eyes turn into what people call “eye bags”.

woman applying cream to her eye bags

Using cheap cosmetics containing harsh chemicals under the eyes may cause dark circles. Eye makeup can cause diseases such as dry eye, conjunctivitis, and uveitis. Similarly, cheap mascara may also cause thinning of eyelashes, which may ultimately result in blindness.

Dark circles and bags under the eyes due to cheap cosmetics may occur as a result of an allergic reaction. This is your skin reacting aggressively to the chemicals present in cheap cosmetics. During an allergic reaction, the body releases histamine that causes symptoms of redness, itchiness and puffy eyes. Because of this, blood vessels beneath the eye area dilate, and are more visible. Allergies can cause itchiness, and you may scratch and rub the skin surrounding your eyes. But, don’t! This can worsen the symptoms, and cause swelling and breakage of blood vessels, worsening the dark circles.

Treating dark circles and bags under the eyes

Medical treatments

Sometimes you want a fast and effective way to get rid of the dark eye circles and eye bags. Certain medical treatments that are available to provide a permanent solution are:

  • Chemical peels. These help in reducing pigmentation of the skin.
  • Laser surgery helps in resurfacing your skin and enhancing skin tightening.
  • Medical tattoos are used for injecting pigment into the thinning areas of the skin.
  • Tissue fillers conceal melanin and blood vessels, which cause the discoloration of the skin under your eyes.
  • Fat removal eliminates excess fat and skin; thereby, revealing an even and smoother surface.
  • You can also get surgical implants of synthetic products or fat.
woman undergoing laser surgery for her eye bags

As with every other medical procedures, it’s best to discuss with your doctor about your treatment options. Invasive cosmetic procedures to correct dark circles under the eyes can be painful, expensive and often have a long recovery period.

Home remedies for dark circles and under-eye bags

If you are not up for expensive treatments, good news! You can use things you find in your home as remedies to treat dark circles and bags. Some of the remedies that you can try at home are:

  • Put a cold compress: Applying a cold compress to your eyes helps in reducing the swelling shrinking the dilated blood vessels. This helps in reducing the puffiness and eliminating the dark circles under the eyes. You can wrap a couple of ice cubes in a washcloth and place it on your under eye area. You may also dip a washcloth in cold water and place it over your under eye area for 15-20 minutes.
  • Get an extra amount of sleep: Sleeping for some extra time can help in reducing the appearance of bags and dark circles under the eyes. Aim to sleep for at least seven to eight hours at night.
  • Elevate your head while sleeping: Keep some pillows and elevate your head while sleeping. This helps in preventing the fluid from getting accumulated under the eyes as that can make their appearance swollen and puffy.
  • Apply cold tea bags: Antioxidants and caffeine are present in tea which can help shrink the blood vessels, stimulate the circulation of blood and reduce retention of fluid beneath the skin. Soak two green or black tea bags in boiling hot water for four to five minutes. Keep them in the refrigerator for about 16-20 minutes. Place the chilled tea bags on your closed eyes for about 11-20 minutes. Remove and wash your eyes with clean and cool water.
  • Conceal using makeup: Though cosmetics and makeup can’t treat dark circles and bags under the eyes, they may help to conceal them. You can use concealers to cover dark circles and blend them with the normal color of your skin. However, since your dark circles are caused due to cheap cosmetics, you should take proper care while using makeup products to conceal them. Always use high-quality products that are hypoallergenic and if your symptoms worsen due to using any of them, immediately stop their use.
Using a cold spoon can relief under eye bags, and reduce puffiness

Clogging of skin pores and acne

Acne is a result of clogged hair follicles on the skin. They may be clogged by dead skin cells or oil produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands. These then cause whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples.

Cheap powders and foundations may clog your skin pores and produce lesions of acne such as pimples or pustules. If you suffer from minor acne, the popular (and effective) at-home treatments are benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. For severe cases, however, your dermatologist may prescribe non-invasive medical procedures to reduce or get rid of the acne. These procedures may include:

  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Lasers; or
  • Chemical peels
Caucasian woman getting face peeling procedure in a beauty clinic, close up.

Other treatments to get rid of acne include facial treatments. Some of these treatments may be available and open to anybody with any type of skin, so be sure to consult with your dermatologist before making an appointment.

Home remedies for acne

At this age, you might be wondering about the costs of the medical and facial treatments you might have to go through to eliminate a few zits. There are, however, many natural ingredients that serve well as acne treatments – keeping acne at bay for a long time! These are:

  1. Ylang-ylang oil
  2. Sweet orange oil
  3. Sunflower oil
  4. Borage seed oil
  5. Rosehip oil
  6. Sweet almond oil
  7. Clary sage oil

We’ve covered the different ways you can use these essential oils to treat acne in our earlier article. Read it here for acne tips, fun DIY freshener recipes and skincare routine ideas!

Damage to your nails

Our nails are made of a specific hardened protein that is also present in our skin and hair, called keratin. They are made up of old skin cells pushed out from the matrix, which is the part of the nail hidden under the cuticle.

Using cheap nail polish may damage your nails, causing them to be fragile and discolored. Healthy nails appear pink, as the blood vessels that lie on the nail bed (underneath the nail plate) are visible. Damaged nails have a distinctive texture, often called “rippled nails”or split or cracked nails. Besides damage to the nail plate, the skin surrounding it can also be damaged from the use of cheap polish.

Nails with nail polish


Home remedies for fragile and discolored nails

First of all, do not continue to use the cheap nail polish that has caused damage to your nails. Wash and clean away the remaining polish using a polish remover. Here are some tips for you to care for damaged nails:

  • Eats foods rich in essential fatty acids such as flaxseed, flaxseed oil and fatty fish. You can also take evening primrose oil as a supplement 1000 mg thrice daily with meals.
  • Moisturize your nails by rubbing petroleum jelly or another thick cream on your nails before going to bed at night.
  • Wear gloves made of vinyl while washing dishes or doing other household work, which needs you to dip your hands for a considerable time in the water.
  • Don’t use fake or artificial nails as these are glued over the top of real nails and the gap in between both the nails can allow the fungus to grow.
  • Mix equal amounts of water and apple cider vinegar. Soak your hands in this solution for 5-8 minutes. Repeat this procedure for some days and your nail will get stronger.
  • Massage your nails using olive oil, coconut oil or vitamin E oil for a couple of minutes. You can also massage the oil on your nails at night and leave it overnight to get the best results.
  • Apply fresh juice of an orange to your nails and leave it for a couple of minutes. Then wash it with lukewarm water.
  • Brew a cup of green tea. Soak your fingers in the tea for about 11-15 minutes. Repeat the procedure at least two times a week for best results.

Dry and premature aging of the skin

Some chemicals used in cheap makeup products tend to dry our skin’s natural oil. This can result in the skin looking dry, dull or flaky! Your skin can start developing premature signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles because of its stripped natural oil.

  • Fine lines and wrinkles: As your skin loses its moisture, elastin, and collagen, it can develop wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Sagging skin: Due to the loss of elastin and collagen, you can also develop sagging skin as one of the symptoms of premature aging of the skin.
beautiful old woman with wrinkle and dry skin

Medical treatments for premature aging of the skin

There are many medical treatments and procedures that can help to reduce your wrinkles and fine lines. These medical treatments, albeit expensive, are effective in ridding signs of premature aging on the skin. Th effects of the treatments are also long-lasting.

Some of these treatments include:

  • Microdermabrasion
  • Glycolic acid peel
  • Dermabrasion
  • Deep chemical peels
  • Laser resurfacing
  • Non-ablative laser resurfacing
  • Fractional resurfacing
  • Radiofrequency and heat
  • Elevators and fillers
  • Botox
  • Facelift

As with all other treatments, be sure to consult with your dermatologist to see if your skin is suitable for the treatment.

Home remedies for premature aging of the skin

Medical procedures led by dermatologists like microdermabrasion, or laser resurfacing may be costly. If you’re looking to save on your wrinkle treatments and want to get rid of them naturally, here are some organic ingredients you can incorporate into your skincare routine!

  1. Avocado oil
  2. Rose flower oil
  3. Clary oil
  4. Ylang-ylang oil
  5. Geranium oil
  6. Sandalwood oil
  7. Frankincense oil
  8. Sesame oil

We’ve also covered the different ways you can use these natural oils to reduce the wrinkles and fine lines in our earlier article. Read it here for more skincare tips, DIY anti-aging creams and rejuvenating face mask recipes!

Lipstick may cause lead poisoning

The ingredients present in cheap lipsticks may damage your lips and may even cause lead poisoning. High amounts of lead has been found in a number of lipstick brands over the past decade by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Lead is harmful to our skin as it can cause a range of health effects, ranging from behavioural problems to seizures.

With cheap cosmetics, you can develop dryness of the skin on your lips. Dark spots may also appear on the lips from frequent usage of cheap lipsticks!

Woman applying lipsticks from the market may contain lead

Home remedies to treat dry lips

Similar to the other skin problems above that are caused by cheap skincare products,  there are at-home treatments for you!

  • Dip a cotton swab in apple cider vinegar and apply it to your lips. Leave it for a few minutes. You can apply it two to three times a day.
  • Massage one to two drops of almond oil on your lips. Leave it overnight. Repeat the process every night.
  • Mix one to two drops each of honey and lemon juice. Apply this mixture on your lips. Leave it for 10 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Mix a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice with one teaspoon of sugar. Use this scrub on your lips for three to four minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. Repeat this process two to three times a week.
  • Crush half strawberry and place it on your lips. Leave it for about 10 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. You can repeat this procedure every day.

Skin allergies leading to hyperpigmentation

Some ingredients in cheap skincare products may cause irritation, itching, and redness. This may eventually result in hyperpigmentation of the skin, or discoloration. Aside from that, you may also run the risk of an allergic reaction.

pigmentation on the cheek bone

Treatment of hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is the discoloring of the skin – usually of a darker tone. It can be in different parts of the body, in either small or large areas.

Similar to acne, you can treat hyperpigmentation by using various types of treatment. This includes lightening creams, retinoids, face acids, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, or chemical peels. In addition, be sure to consult with your doctor or dermatologist before making an appointment.

Organic ingredients to treat hyperpigmentation

On the natural side, these essential oils possess many positive properties that have been proven to help the skin. It’s no wonder they are on every list in skincare.

Grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil is a rich source of a potent antioxidant proanthocyanidin. This ingredient helps in improving the skin tone when you use the oil on the skin consistently.

How to use Grapeseed oil?

You can use pure Grapeseed oil and massage a few drops of it on the affected area.

For extra benefits, mix Grapeseed oil with other essential oils. This can range from soothing lavender oil to frankincense oil! This combination of oils give your skin the soft glow and makes it extra supple.

Sandalwood oil

Sandalwood essential oil helps in diminishing discoloration and pigmentation of the skin.

How to use sandalwood oil?

Mix ten drops of sandalwood oil with two tablespoons of Argan oil. Store this mixture in a two-ounce amber colored glass dropper bottle. Apply the oil to the affected areas.

Did you know that sandalwood promotes mental clarity? A compound found in sandalwood called alpha-santalol increases your mind’s ability to focus. This is why it is popular in aromatherapy and meditation!

Rose essential oil

It brightens and rejuvenates discolored and dull skin and evens out hyperpigmentation of the skin.

How to use Rose essential oil?

Mix a couple of drops of Rose oil with Argan oil and use it to massage the affected area.

As a moisturizer, rose essential oil works great when added together with your regular moisturizer. It is rich in antioxidants and minerals, helping your skin get the hydration that it needs.

Lemon essential oil

The lemon essential oil is a rich source of limonene, an ingredient that helps in lightening the skin and reducing hyperpigmentation.

How to apply lemon essential oil?

Mix a couple of drops of lemon essential oil with a carrier oil and massage the oil on the affected area before going to bed at night. Don’t use the oil during day time when you have to go outside in the sun as it increases the sensitivity of the skin to UV rays of the sun.

Cut open Lemon with bottle of Lemon juice and Lemon essential oil



Dr Ritu Goel

Dr. Ritu Goel is a homeopathic physician and a certified nutritionist. She did her graduation in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery from Delhi University, India. She pursued a Post Graduate Diploma in Hospital and Health Care Management from Symbiosis University, Pune, India. She also did a certificate in dietetics and nutrition to enhance her knowledge on various aspects of fitness and nutrition.

She worked for more than 10 years in the healthcare industry in various organizations as a physician and fitness and nutrition expert. She is currently working as a freelance writer mainly providing content on various aspects of health, fitness and nutrition.