Meghan has a graduate degree in Engineering and Management from MIT, and previously worked in design roles at Patagonia, The MIT Design Lab, and Formlabs.
In the complicated world of skincare, there are many different labels and standards that you might find on your products. Below is a quick guide to some different skincare labels and categories, how we use them at Atolla, and why they matter.
It's important to note that while these labels give good context, choosing products based on what ingredients are included and why is more impactful than what's not included. The exception here is allergies and any specific ingredients that can be irritating for your skin.
The formula does not include ingredients that you specified as allergies in your assessment.
Why it matters: Food allergies can show up as skin allergies so, for example, if someone can't eat almonds, it's often advised they also avoid it in their skincare products. We formulate around the allergies that you input in your skin assessment.
A product without BSE/TSE means that the ingredient's source is free from diseases that may originate from animals such as sheep or cows.
Why it matters: Our formulations are vegan, which means there are no animal derivatives. However, this is an important label for skincare ingredients that are derived internationally, including ingredients like collagen from animal sources.
Manufactured or developed by methods that do not involve experimentation on animals.
Why it matters: Cosmetic products and ingredients have historically been tested on animals, which is unnecessary with today's technology. Most animal testing happens at the ingredient level (not the formula level), which is why it's important to source ingredients that are cruelty-free.
No added fragrance
No fragrance or scent is added to the product to change its natural smell.
Why it matters: While fragrance isn’t bad, some people with sensitive skin or allergies have a hard time with fragrance and ingredients like essential oils. Our philosophy is to only include the functional ingredients someone needs in their formula to keep it simple, so we don't add extra additions like fragrance. Your product might still have a smell, derived from the ingredient's natural aroma.
A product without GMOs means that the ingredient is not genetically modified and does not contain any human-engineered genes.
Why it matters: The FDA has concluded that there is no evidence that non-GMO ingredients in skincare are safer than GMOs. However, non-GMO is important for the sustainable farming of plant-based ingredients and ensuring each ingredient is rich in nutrients.
A product that was farmed without pesticides means that the manufacturer has certification to say that their process of ingredient production or sourcing does not use them.
Why it matters: Many of our botanical ingredients are either pesticide-free or use organic pesticides because it is a lower-impact method of farming.
A class of preservatives called parabens, often used in combination with other preservatives to protect against micro-organisms.
Why it matters: Preservatives are essential for keeping water-based formulations free from bacteria. While the CIR has declared parabens are safe to use at regulated concentrations, we use different methods for ensuring the stability of our products. Because our products are meant to be replaced as they’re fine-tuned for you every month, we are able to use less intense and dilutive preservatives.
A group of chemicals called phthalates, typically used industrially as solvents and softeners in consumer products.
Why it matters: Phthalates are often included in synthetic fragrances, which we don't use in any Atolla products.
The ingredients were grown and farmed with standards that minimize the impact on the surrounding environment and carefully considers the entire supply chain from end-to-end.
Why it matters: Growing ingredients and creating skincare products has an impact on the environment, so we aim to make that impact as minimal as possible.
A class of cleansing agents called sulfates, including SLS.
Why it matters: Sulfates are often included to help formulas bubble or foam. While they are safe to use, we prefer to formulate without them.
The ingredient is from a plant-based source and free from any animal byproducts.
Why it matters: We believe in using only plant-based or lab-derived ingredients in order to reduce the environmental footprint of creating our skincare products.