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?
I prefer to find one or two brands and then just stick with them, always. I pick brands that don’t have a ton of chemicals, that don’t irritate my skin, that work effectively and that are reasonably priced.
I do the same. One brand I really like is called 100% Pure. They sell all natural vegan stuff that does wonders for my skin.
100% Pure is pretty good, and my GF buys it, but there have been some issues with staph since they have 0 preservatives, along with some issues regarding Japanese Honeysuckle. http://safemama.com/lovely/2010/04/23/lovelymama-is-disappointed-in-100-pure/
Thanks for the heads up David. I will check that out.
I use Lush cosmetics. They score fairly on the Skin Deep website, they’re expensive, but in my opinion the product quality is very high. I try and avoid products with lots of fragrance and the like. I often get that sort of thing as a gift, and I usually end up re-gifting it in order to avoid exposure.
A friend of mine uses the coconut shampoo bar from Lush. I haven’t tried it but she swears by it. I think I might need to try it. It sure would be easy to travel with since it isn’t a liquid.
There have been some ethical issues with LUSH and some ties to oil-sands development around the world. Just an FYI http://ecosalon.com/behind-the-label-lush-fresh-handmade-cosmetics/
A friend lent me a book talking about better options and all the toxins out there. So, I’m slowly shifting towards better stuff – starting with things like lipstick and mascara!
You have to start somewhere. Even changing one or two things can reduce your exposure which is great.
Kudos to you, that’s awesome progress!
I have no doubt in my mind that a lot of the skincare products on the market have some horrible chemical products in them. I will need to ask my wife how her products rank.
My typical rule is that if you can buy it at the grocery store, it probably isn’t good for you. I find you have to buy specialty if you really want to keep yourself safe.
While I did not know about a lot of what you included, it does not surprise me. I think we can be lulled into just accepting that what we are using is ok, when it actually is not. I’ll have to ask my wife about where the products we use rank.
Many people aren’t aware of what they are using so taking time to look and read is the first step. People usually get lured by deals and coupons and don’t think about the other costs.
I’ve been using Good Guide for a while (goodguide.com) It’s really awesome, if you haven’t seen it yet check it out! Basically, you can find all kinds of information about all sorts of product including health factors, environmental impact and more. I use it every time I go buying makeup or any sort of toiletry product.
Thanks for sharing. I haven’t heard of this and am going to have to check this out.
Good Guide can be helpful, but they have supported the use of Clorox products in the past. I’m not sure why, but it brings into question the rest of their judgement on other products.
Being a dude, I really don’t use lotions or anything crazy, but I think my wife would be intersted to read this. I had no idea that so many products didnt’ have to be FDA approved! Sort of scary actually. ANd cancer takes a long time to get going, so it’s hard to tell what chemicals now will cause problems later!
It is scary. There are a lot things out there that haven’t gone through any type of testing or approvals. This should be illegal if you ask me.