Be The Conversation
“Safe” skincare can mean a lot of things. A study last year found that the average woman owns about 40 different makeup products. And that’s not including other personal care products used everyday such as skincare, shampoo and conditioner, lotions, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, hair styling products, etc. All those personal care products can add up to A LOT of chemicals that we are putting on our bodies! In fact, our bodies absorb nearly 130 different chemicals regularly through cosmetics, hair care, skin care and other beauty products. Shocked? Here are some more fun facts about beauty products and safe skincare.
- An average woman will ingest about 4 pounds of lipstick over her lifetime.
- The US government has publically assessed for safety only 11% of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products.
- The European Union has banned more than 1,110 ingredients for use in cosmetics.
- In contrast, the United States has only banned 10 ingredients for use in cosmetics.
- 20% of personal care products contain at least one chemical that is linked to cancer.
- Americans spend $160 billion annually on skin care, hair care, makeup, cosmetic surgery, fragrances, health clubs and diet products.
Clearly there is some reason for concern and room for improvement here in the United States. So, what can you do about it? Start the conversation about safe skincare.
Know Which Claims Are Regulated
Many, MANY of the claims on products are not regulated, investigated or substantiated by a governing body. “Hypoallergenic,” “dermatologist tested,” “for sensitive skin” – even “natural” and “organic” – are regulated loosely, or not regulated at all. Loopholes and gaps in laws can allow suspicious chemicals into your personal care products. So, check the ingredient list always. And look for companies who back up their claims with independent studies.
Read The Ingredient List
Yes, we all know that reading labels can be a pain! But this is the number one best way to identify safe skincare. Did you know that many skincare brands contain petroleum derivatives? Like from crude oil?! Also, commonly used preservatives are known to cause cancer, suppress the central nervous system and create allergic reactions.
Check your labels and avoid the following ingredients:
- Parabens (a.k.a. methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben)
- Patroleum Derivatives (a.k.a. mineral oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly), Propylene Glycol, PEG (Polyethylene Glycol), Polysorbates and DEA/MEA/TEA)
A good rule of thumb is if it doesn’t sound like something you’d put in your mouth, it’s probably not something you want to put on your skin.
Avoid Unnecessary Fragrances
Synthetic fragrances make up the majority of fragrance in skincare products. And here’s the kicker – companies don’t have to disclose what ingredients make up their synthetic fragrance because that is considered proprietary information. So, those synthetic compounds can be derived from such lovely places as crude oil (petroleum) as well as coal tar! Additionally, many synthetic fragrance derivatives have been linked to cancer, birth defects and central nervous system disorders. Instead look for products that use natural essential oils to lightly scent their skincare.
Find Out About Company Values
Skincare companies are more than just their products. There are overarching philosophies and values that go into creating a good brand. Check company websites to see how their values stack up against others. Click here to see our ethics policy.
The truth is that no one really knows how all these different chemicals can react with our bodies and affect our health over long periods of time. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), almost 90% of the 10,500 cosmetic and skincare ingredients known to the FDA have not been properly evaluated for safety. So, ultimately it’s up to you to protect your health and start the conversation about safe skincare.