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What do Skincare Packaging Symbols Really Mean?

October 26, 2018 | Ignite Visibility

What do Skincare Packaging Symbols Really Mean?

It can be hard enough to figure out what’s in a skin care product when the ingredient list is littered with unpronounceable chemical names. But what about when you see all kinds of symbols on the package that just look like a bunch of hieroglyphics? DERMA E solves both problems by only using the highest-quality natural ingredients and putting easy-to-decipher symbols on all of its skin care packaging. Let’s focus on those symbols and learn a little more about them, as well as other common skin care symbols.

This means a product is cruelty-free and has not been tested on animals. You will find this symbol on all DERMA E products—we are proud to say we have never done animal testing on any product in the history of the company.

Products bearing this logo don’t contain any GMOs, more formally known as genetically modified organisms. This means the ingredient has been subject to manipulation in a lab and is not in its natural state. Because studies focused on GMOs have produced controversial findings, DERMA E doesn’t use them. We verify all of our products through third party PCR testing at a Non-GMO Project approved testing laboratory.

Just like the GMO symbol, this one indicates a product is free from soy or soy-based ingredients.


You’re probably familiar with this one, as it shows up on all types of packaging to indicate it is recyclable. Almost all of DERMA E’s packaging is recyclable; the only exceptions are the 100% biodegradable facial wipes and foil packs.

This product doesn’t have any gluten containing ingredients. This is helpful for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, who may experience skin irritation if they use products with gluten on their skin.

This marks DERMA E’s commitment to reducing our environmental footprint—we offset all of our conventional energy use by purchasing wind energy certificates, an investment in renewable energy and our planet’s future.

This symbol originated in Europe and signifies that the company has paid a fee to use the symbol, with the money going towards recycling efforts.


This is the period after opening symbol, or PAO as it’s more commonly known. It will indicate how long the product will be effective after its first use—just look for the number next to the letter M. If the symbol says “9M,” it’s good for nine months after opening.

The V stands for 100% vegan. DERMA E doesn’t use any animal by-products in its skin care, which aligns with its cruelty-free stance towards beauty.

This symbol tells you that there is an insert you should read to get more information on the product, whether it’s a more complete list of ingredients or detailed instructions on its use.

Look for this on sunscreen or other sun care products; it tell you if a product has the minimum recommended protection from the sun’s UVA rays that can cause photoaging damage.

DERMA E features this label on its sunscreens because it uses non-nanoparticle zinc oxide as the active ingredient. There are types of chemical sunscreens that have been found to harm coral reefs and their ecosystem.

Watch out—this product is flammable. You’re more likely to find this on products such as nail polish.

In this case, the e stands for “estimate.” It signifies that the weight or volume of the product when it was packaged matches the measurement on the product label—it ensures you’re not getting less of the product than advertised. The measurement can be in American ounces or European metrics (milliliters or grams).

To use this symbol, a product has to be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that a minimum 95% of the ingredients are organic.




Now that you know how to decode many of the common symbols found on skin care and cosmetics packages, you can make more informed choices as a consumer. At DERMA E, we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to know exactly what is in each skin care product. We list all of our ingredients on the label, and each product proudly bears our seal that proclaims we are a company whose mission is to provide “eco-ethical” skin care that benefits people and the planet. It’s important to know what you are putting on your skin and in your hair, and we give you that knowledge on every package. With that knowledge, you can feel empowered because you are making smart, savvy skin care decisions with a positive impact.

packaging Skin Care symbols


  • I have sensitive skin, light wrinkles and dehydrated skin especially on my chin. What do you recommend?

    Isela Gomez on
  • PLZ I want you product For his experience

    Abdelbassit Fadil on
  • Love Derma•E products !!!!!!

    Sandra Gisela Davis on

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DERMA E didn’t start out in the beauty aisle or the boardroom. Instead, we began in a small health food store in Southern California. Our first product was a jar of Vitamin E 12,000 I.U. Moisturizing Cream. People were amazed at the results it had on their skin and word caught on.

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