Whether it’s because “green” is in or because summer is coming to an end, lately I have been asked by almost everyone I know about the safety of the skincare products they have been using. Deodorants, sunscreens, makeup, and lotions have been the topic of discussion in my social circle, and I have been doing my best to provide helpful answers to all those questions. See, the skincare industry is full of products laden with toxic chemicals, which we (often) unknowingly slather all over ourselves to “protect” us from the sun or wrinkles or whatever. Did you know that tens of thousands of chemicals are used in these products and that most of them are not tested for safety?
Most people don’t and I surely didn’t.
After all, if a product is for sale in the store someone, somewhere, must have made sure it was safe, right? I mean, that’s what the FDA is for! Wrong. No safety testing is required before products are brought to market. Sure, some companies test their stuff on animals and humans, but there are no required safety tests in place prior to a new product being placed on store shelves. The FDA has only tested about 11 percent of the ingredients found in personal care products. As long as the ingredient(s) was approved at some point for some purpose by the FDA, those products containing those ingredients can be sold. If that sounds like a recipe for disaster, it is.
The majority of skin care products contain carcinogens, pesticides, fungicides, and surfactants, many of which have been linked to cancers, learning disorders, genetic changes, cardiovascular disease, reproductive system disruptions, and assorted other ailments. Even the products with the word “natural” on the cover are usually anything but. They are tubes of untested chemicals which are then rubbed into our skin and absorbed into our body. But that’s not all…
All those chemicals we absorb eventually end up leaving our bodies, too. Once we have passed them out through our waste system, the chemicals end up polluting groundwater aquifers, sewage treatment plants, and local wildlife. Chemicals do not “go away” as there is no “away;” instead they sit around, continuing to do damage to environment even after they have left our body.
Thankfully, you can make small changes that make a big difference.
While I am not normally one to encourage the tossing of any product that still has some life left, I recommend you stop using toxic skincare products immediately even if you have some left. Yes, it will still be let loose in the environment but at least you won’t absorb any of it first. Then, it’s time to get educated about the products you purchase and use every day on your body. This is where the “Avoid Toxic Skincare Products In Minutes Flat” title of this article comes in.
Head on over to EWG’s Skin Deep website. EWG stands for Environmental Working Group, and it is a non-profit group dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. It is also a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which encourages companies to produce safer skincare products. Their Skin Deep database provides safety ratings for a wide range of products and ingredients commonly found on store shelves and takes a look at how each can effect our bodies and health. A score between 0 and 10 is given to each, with information provided about cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, allergies, neurotoxicity, and many other health problems caused by different chemicals. All you have to do is enter a product you are interested in or check out the listings by category and you can find a safe, non-toxic product that does both yourself and the world around you some good.
So, have you looked at the toxicity of your skincare products? Has this prompted a change? What kind of products do you use?