Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of your body? Knowing that, do you feel any differently about the products you use every day?
The thing about skin is that its covered in tiny pores, and those pores are openings to the inside of your body and bloodstream. Everything that enters those doorways has a direct effect on your health and wellbeing. This is why it is important to buy and use products with non-toxic ingredients.
We are constantly exposed to products that we think are safe, but the reality is that most of these products are extremely NOT safe. Ever since 1938 – when the FDA granted self-regulation to the cosmetics industry – products can be marketed without government approval of ingredients, regardless of what tests show. “Most of the 25,000 chemicals used have not been tested for long-term toxic effects. In a typical day, you might be exposed to over 200 different chemicals, many of which are suspected of causing cancer or juggling hormones.” EPA tests conclude that ingredients in shampoos, dyes, and other personal care products “may be playing havoc with hormones that control reproduction and development.”
“The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients; the US has only banned 11 to date.” A great line of skincare products I highly recommend is Beautycounter, because they have banned using over 1,500 ingredients in all of their products, which range from skincare, makeup, and even a line safe for children.
Companies like Beautycounter that are creating their own safety standards are becoming a trend. It has a lot to do with people being more informed, and companies truly caring about the public’s health.
“Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including, but not limited to asthma, learning disabilities, cancer and infertility) are on the rise, and due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it's in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.” Talk about scary, right?! We put our trust in brands that say these products with make you look and feel beautiful, but last time I checked, getting sick from these same products wasn’t considered beautiful.
I personally suffer from hormonal imbalances, and you never know where this stems from, but you can take preventative measures that will alleviate and sometimes heal the side effects. The results I’ve personally seen from using non-toxic products, has been less breakouts, and no more dry patchy skin. I used to get huge rashes on my body when I had an allergic reaction to different beauty products, which I now realize came from the harsh chemicals found in these mainstream brands. I now see the importance and benefits of using all-natural products. The other mainstream ones just scare me now.
At this point you’re probably wondering, what can I do to avoid harmful beauty and household products?
1. You can use EWG’s Skin Cosmetics Database to look up any products you use and see how it rates on their scale of safety. Products are rated as being low, moderate, or highly hazardous. This will give you some piece of mind whether you should throw your products away, or if they are safe enough to put on your skin or be exposed to.
2. Read labels! Avoid buying any cosmetics with these ingredients in them:
- Synthetic fragrances which often contain phthalates, these are endocrine disruptors and mimic hormones.
- Parabens which also have hormone disrupting side-effects
- Ureas, these are preservatives linked to causing dermatitis
- 1,4-dioxane- to avoid it, skip any product with the following ingredients: myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth (or any other -eth), PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol.
- Petroleum-based ingredients such as petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin (derived from nonrenewable sources) form a barrier when applied to the skin that does not allow it to breath and can clog pores.
- MEA/DEA/TEA ammonia compounds and they can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of the hair and skin
- Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl and sodium laureth, are harsh detergents that make cleansers, soaps, and shampoos lather. These can cause eye irritation and skin rashes.
- Chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate, have been shown to disrupt endocrine activity. (Beautycounter’s sunscreen is a favorite of mine, because its safe for children and adults to use.)
- Synthetic colors are made from coal tar. They contain heavy metal salts that may deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number.
Other Common Toxic Ingredients To Avoid:
- Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA)
3. Buy products from companies and brands that emphasize that their products are free of harsh chemicals and they use non-toxic ingredients. Start buying beauty products that are natural and safe, and slowly get rid of the old ones. Begin a new lifestyle that’s safer for you and your family.