When's the last time you carefully read the label of an over-the-counter product? It may be more important than most of us realize.

A local plastic surgeon says it's common for many over-the-counter product labels to over-hype the product or display information that isn't entirely accurate.

She says it's all the more reason consumers need to read the product labels carefully.

When 46-year-old Peggy La Rive gets a look at the sun damage to her skin in 3D, she is visibly startled.

I didn't realize I had that much sun damage. Growing up on the Gulf Coast [Galveston], I worshiped the sun and really didn't use sun screen, LaRive said.

Board certified plastic surgeon Jennifer Walden explains to LaRive that the sun damage has led to signs of rosacea, premature aging and the possibility of something more serious down the road.

What could be some sort of carcinoma later or skin cancer. It's just really scary, La Rive said.

Dr. Walden says that aside from wearing protective clothing and trying to avoid the Central Texas sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., purchasing the proper sunscreen and other beauty products is important. She says the key is whether over-the-counter products are giving accurate information on their labels.

Most of what we're talking about with skin care products over-the-counter is just misleading to the consumer, Dr. Walden said.

The doctor says at worst, the misinformation on over-the-counter product labels can be harmful because certain ingredients can cause allergic reactions. She says at the very least, over hyped labeling results in a waste of money for the consumer.

It says deep wrinkle serum, [it[ visibly reduces deep wrinkles, the doctor read off of a label. But a skin care product [over-the-counter] really doesn't penetrate much deeper than the topical superficial layer of the skin, so it really can't reduce deep wrinkles.

Dr. Walden says it doesn't stop there. She points to everything from a lip balm claiming to be 100 percent natural, when it is actually processed in some form.

There's also a product that claims to produce a face lift.

There is no over-the-counter skin care product that can cause a face lift, Dr. Walden said.

As for La Rive, she says it is possible to change life-long habits.

I don't worship the sun anymore. I don't get out there and tan, she said.

She added that she now spends a lot more time reading product labels as well.

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