Living in the United States, a developed country, you would never think that that you would have to watch out for buying unsafe products in the store.
Unfortunately the personal care industry the personal care products industry is not well regulated, there’s only one law that was passed in 1938 where a total of 11 ingredients are banned by the FDA from being used and products – compared to the 1,400 by the EU you’ll realize how paltry our regulations are. Since then there have been over 80,000 new ingredients that have been introduced into personal care products. Most of these ingredients are not tested for safety and humans, and quite a few of them are potentially carcinogenic, endocrine disruptor’s, and hormone mimickers – things that you really don’t want to be putting on your body!
You know the things that help keep your shower clean so that the soap doesn’t stick to the side of your tub are also ingredients that you might not actually want to have on your body. We are making trade-offs that we don’t realize, we are potentially sacrificing our health for convenience and beauty.
So how are you supposed to know what to look out for and what you can use? My first resource that I use is from the Environmental Working Group, the EWG. They have a Healthy Living app that you can conveniently download to your phone where you can look up all sorts of products – it has almost everything from the foods that you’re purchasing to shampoo to make up. The EWG provides a rating that gives you an indication of how safe the ingredients in the product are for your use. The safe products are rated a one or two, products rated a three or’s or higher have ingredients that you should start to watch out for. Anything rated about a seven is something that you should probably stay away from.
For every product and ingredient in Skin Deep, there’s a two-part score – a hazard score and a data availability score.
The ingredient hazard score, from 1-10 reflects known and suspected hazards of ingredients.
|Low hazard||Moderate hazard||High hazard|
The frustrating thing is that while there are some brands that claim they are dedicated to providing safe natural products this really doesn’t mean anything since the products are not regulated. You’ll find that within brands there can be a product that’s rated a one and then another that’s rated a seven and they look exactly the same. That’s where Beautycounter comes in, Beautycounter is dedicated to only using safe products. They have banned over 1,500 ingredients that cannot be used in any of their beauty products, are committed to ensuring that all of their products are rated between a one and three on the EWG scale, and are dedicated to continuing to review the ingredients that they use on a quarterly basis! Meaning the brand is never taking for granted that something is safe and is constantly reviewing and reevaluating the ingredients that they use in their products – you can see a full list of Beautycounter’s ingredients EWG ratings here.
Beautycounter has created a resource if they caught their “never list” that has a list of ingredients that you should never have and any of your personal care products for optimal health. All of these ingredients are excluded from any Beautycounter product as well. In addition to the no phytates, no sulfates, no parabens that you may already know to look for I wanted to highlight a few other ingredients that have been popping up in some popular skin care brands that you should look out for. You want to look out for them because they are potentially very harmful to your health. Most major skincare companies use unsafe ingredients, because they deliver results, but may be risking your health in the process.
Here are a few of the nasty chemical ingredients that are unfortunately found in many skincare products. Check yours, and if your current products have them, switch to something safer!
Hydroquinone – banned in Europe and Asia, linked to cancer and in many skincare products
Formaldehyde, Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin (forms of formaldehyde) – used to preserve corpses….in alive people it’s been linked to allergies, chest pains, chronic fatigue, depression, headaches, ditziness, ear infection, asthma, and joint pain
Propylene glycol – an active ingredient in antifreeze (EPA requires that people handling this ingrdient wear always wear gloves) and direct contract causes brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities
Triethanolamine – not banned by the FDA, is known to cause liver and kidney cancer
The first step is to be more informed, the second is to take action with what you buy. Use the EWG and choose safer products for you and your family – by voting with our wallets (what we choose to buy) we can encourage brands to make better products for our health and the health of our families. If you want to learn more about Beautycounter, let me know!