Sharing the importance of choosing clean beauty & personal care products due to the lack of U.S. regulations, plus, a list of 10 toxic ingredients to avoid!
I feel like the idea of “clean beauty” can be so very overwhelming especially for someone who is looking through their skincare or makeup bag & wondering what’s safe, what’s not, & everything in between. My goal with this post today is to hopefully making your switch over to clean a little more manageable. I want to help you along with your own process of deciding what’s best for you, your skin, & your health, in terms of what you’re currently using & what you might be exposing yourself to ingredients wise.
Like anything in life, the more you know, the better you are able to make decisions & the same goes for the beauty industry. It takes time researching good clean beauty brands, reading wordy ingredient lists, & then actually seeing if the product performs to your liking.
At the time this post was originally published (June 2019), I had yet to convert all of my personal care & beauty products over to clean alternatives. It took me a few years to fully convert everything I was using over to a safer alternative, which I have done now, but I’m here to tell you that it’s a process! The first products that I converted over to a cleaner, safer option were my deodorant & skincare. Makeup, for me was last. I also had a misconception about clean makeup specifically, that led me to believe that because it was “clean” it wasn’t going to perform up to my standards. Which I’ve actually found to be untrue!
When people come to me, with the intent of going “clean” with their products, they’re often overwhelmed with the amount of products they currently have, the expense that it would cost to switch EVERYTHING over, & they just don’t know where to begin.
I get it.
I’ve been there & I understand completely. The first thing I always recommend is to start with just one or two products & take it from there! You can start with the product you use the most or the products that cover the most surface area on your body (ex. body lotion, body wash, foundation, etc.). Another rule of thumb is that when you run out of what you’re currently using, instead of buying the same thing, invest in a cleaner version! No matter how many products you switch over, the most important thing is that you’re slowing choosing a safer alternative.
Progression not perfection.
Now you might be thinking…why? Why should you be making clean swaps & ditching your favorite products for something safer? You might be thinking, “what do you mean, of COURSE my product is safe”…”why would it be on shelves if it wasn’t?”
GREAT QUESTION! Let me explain!
Unfortunately the common products (beauty & personal care) found on shelves today contain hundreds of toxic ingredients that have been found to be detrimental to human health. Everything from cancer causing carcinogens, to endocrine disruptors, skin irritants, & allergens, to things that can potentially affect our reproductive systems, respiratory systems, nervous systems, liver, & more, can be found in our products.
This is not something to be taken lightly.
Our bodies are on chemical overload. Women especially! Did you know that the average woman uses about 30 products by mid afternoon! If all of those products are loaded with toxic chemicals, just think about the toxicity she is exposing herself to if she keeps the same routine day after day! Everything we apply topically on our skin, is absorbed within seconds into our bloodstream.
With more than 85,000 chemicals registered for use, the United States has only banned 30 ingredients from personal care items. Canada has banned nearly 600 ingredients, while the European Union has banned or restricted over 1,400 ingredients. The United States is SO far behind when it comes to safety regarding the cosmetic & personal care industry. Did you know there hasn’t been a law passed banning harmful ingredients from personal care products within the United States since 1938?!
It is completely legal & extremely common for companies to knowingly put harmful & toxic chemicals in products found on shelves today. The FDA doesn’t even require brands to list full ingredients, which is a MAJOR problem!
So my advice to you is to not wait around. Do your own research regarding the products you use, promote, & buy. Because ultimately our health is at risk if we don’t make changes. Clean beauty is definitely the way to go.
10 Toxic Ingredients To Avoid
Below, I want to share & briefly talk about 10 toxic ingredients found in cosmetics/personal care items. This information is not meant to scare you, but rather to educate & inform you! Since our country has only banned 30 ingredients, it’s up to us to make more informed choices regarding the products we buy & the brands we support.
1. Parabens (ALL parabens including methyl-, isobutyl-, & propyl-)
Parabens are known endocrine disruptors & are usually added whenever a product has water as an ingredient. They are added to prevent bacteria growth but are extremely hazardous to our health by mimicking estrogen within the body. In a study where breast tumors were the main focus, startling enough, parabens, specifically, methylparaben was found within 99% of the tumors examined.
2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS/SLES)
SLS/SLES is a common ingredient added to many personal care items, especially foaming products. SLS is a potential carcinogen & may disrupt the central nervous system, kidneys, & liver over time.
Phthalates is something that is added to plastic & our exposure to it may be more common than you think! It’s found in personal care items, cars, laundry detergent, nail polish, plastic toys for children, food packaging, medical devices, meat & dairy products, & more! There’s been multiple studies showing that phthalates have a negative impact regarding male hormones & the male reproduction system. Since they too are endocrine disrupters, it’s hard to say women are completely safe, because hormones are hormones, & we have testosterone present as well! Phthalates can also be related to birth defects & reproductive problems in both men & women.
4. Polythylene Glycol (PEG)
Polythylene Glycol or PEG compounds are petroleum based compounds found in cosmetics, usually contaminated with two things known as ethylene oxide & 1,4-dioxane, which are carcinogens, meaning, they promote the formation of cancer. There is a process to strip the PEG of those two specific carcinogens, but there isn’t a way to know if a specific product has or hasn’t been through the process, so it’s best to avoid it all together. PEG can also harm the nervous system.
Formaldehyde, which again, is a carcinogen, is a preservative which helps extend shelf life. But what’s scary is the product label usually won’t come right out & list Formaldehyde as something that’s present, so you really don’t know! According to data from the federal Food and Drug Administration, nearly 1 in 5 cosmetic products contains a substance that generates Formaldehyde.
6. Synthetic or Artificial Fragrance
Transparency regarding what actually makes up synthetic, artificial, or even unscented fragrances is not required by manufacturers. So there’s really no way of knowing what makes up these artificial scents. Synthetic or artificial fragrances can be extremely irritating to the skin & most likely contain carcinogens, allergens, & can be endocrine disruptors as well.
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent added to personal care products to kill bacteria. But what they don’t tell you is Triclosan has the ability to be stored in your fat cells, making it extremely harmful to the human body. It’s a known endocrine disruptor, it can cause gut inflammation, weaken the immune system, & promote uncontrolled cell growth.
I just did a whole post about why I choose mineral sunscreen over a standard chemical sunscreen, because of ingredients like Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone can affect the thyroid & endocrine system by mimicking hormones & can even affect the reproductive system. Although Oxybenzone is an effective sunscreen ingredient due to UV Ray protection, it does WAY more harm than good. Chemical ingredients, such as Oxybenzone must first absorb into your skin, before you achieve any sun protection. Those chemicals then trickle into your bloodstream. So, not so great!
9. BHA & BHT
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) & BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are used in cosmetics as a preservative. In a study done with mice, BHT affected everything from their kidneys & livers, to their blood & lungs. BHT may also be a tumor promoter, which is scary because both BHA & BHT can also be found in food! Both, BHA & BHT are extremely irritant to the skin & are possible carcinogens.
10. Coal Tar
The result of burning coal is called Coal Tar & it’s something that is added into our personal care items & cosmetics. Coal Tar is something to be avoided due to it’s potential effects on the neurological system & its ability to produce tumors.
Have you made any cleaner beauty swaps?