Written by Sarah Huerter
Did you know that the shampoo, deodorant, and makeup you apply directly on the surface of your skin is more than likely loaded with toxic chemicals affecting your skin and general health? You might be thinking, “Surely there’s regulations in place to protect us, especially newborns, children and the pregnant.” You would think... but the sad truth is that’s not the case. In the United States, the FDA does NOT guarantee the safety of cosmetic products. In fact, the industry is basically self-regulated, meaning the FDA doesn’t have to approve any product before it enters the market. Companies are responsible for the safety of ingredients, however, testing or registering is not a federal requirement. Not to mention only around 10 chemicals have been banned in the U.S., while thousands have been banned in the European Union… Yikes!
How bad can chemicals in cosmetics really be? We’re simply applying them on the surface of our skin, we’re not actually ingesting them…our skin is our largest organ, and a large percentage of these products get absorbed INTO our bodies. That in turn wreaks havoc on our endocrine system, causing imbalanced hormones, and opens us up to a whole host of symptoms and dis-ease.
So, here’s the thing…corporations have figured out the psychology of human minds by delivering clever marketing, advertising, and packaging to pull on our emotions. They paint the picture that they can give us something that we desperately want and need, in exchange for our hard earned money. In our case with the beauty and cosmetic industry, they sell us on becoming more beautiful... and we’ve been told being more beautiful equates to more happiness, and that ultimately means the best life experience and outcome. What we’ve so heartbreakingly forgotten is that beauty, happiness, and the best life experience simply cannot be bought. The mentality that these things exist outside of us is a great lie and a never-ending search for something that’s unattainable. It’s a fleeting and false satisfaction, keeping us always yearning for more. It’s only when we turn inward and develop real gratitude and love for ourselves, exactly as we are, that we radiate natural beauty, joy and can have the highest quality of life.
Inner beauty shines first. With that awareness established, having fun dressing up and getting myself looking nice feels like a treat…and opportunity to bring my best foot forward and look myself in the mirror with pride and reverence. Clean and natural cosmetic products not only exist, but also spark joy in me every time I interact with them. Luckily, more and more small businesses are popping up and fulfilling the need for safe ingredient products. The point of this blog is to educate and inform you to read ingredient labels. A tactic companies use called “greenwashing” is when they appear to be clean. They might use earth tones or say things like “organic” “eco-friendly” or “vegan friendly” which have very little meaning, and questionable ingredients could be hiding on the label.
Toxic chemicals and preservatives to look out for:
Parabens are some of the most common preservatives. These can be found in products you may use daily, from household cleaning products to cosmetics. The American Chemical Society estimates that parabens are present in about 85% of personal care products. They should be avoided at all costs, they are associated with ill health, hormonal imbalance, and certain types of cancer. Stick with “paraben-free” please. May appear as Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl - all parabens.
The word “fragrance” is used as a euphemism for unsafe ingredients. Companies are allowed to hide their proprietary blends behind “fragrance”, so when you see that in the ingredient label it could quite literally be anything. Look for fragrance free products or shop scents with natural essential oils.
Sulfates are detergents used to boost foam and found in 90% of skincare products, commonly in cleansing products like shampoos, antibacterial soaps, face washes, cleansers and even toothpaste. These are harsh chemicals that can cause skin and eye irritation, hair loss, allergic reactions, linked to disrupting the endocrine system and carcinogens.
Phthalates are essentially used to produce a pleasant smell (perhaps to cover up all the other chemical output), similarly like the job of fragrance. It could exist in products like perfume, lotion, hair spray, deodorant, sunscreen, dyes, cleansers, nail polish, body washes and it’s suspected to contain carcinogens, mess with hormones, and even reproductive toxicity. Please steer clear. May also appear as dibutyl phthalate, DHP, DEHP, or DBP5.
For the sake of your health and skin, pay closer attention to what you are consuming and start treating your skin to healthy and natural ingredients instead. Swap out those red flag ingredients for our top choice, tallow. The more educated we become the more empowered we become, and the less we fund our own sickness…internally and externally. There are plenty of clean beauty products out there…the time to commit is now. The purpose is to empower you, as the consumer, to be conscious, deliberate, and aware of the products you interact with... Love them, trust them, and really know what’s in them.