When you’re in the midst of your daily beauty routine, have you wondered what’s in all of the products you’re applying? Often we place our trust in a company and forego a deep dive into label reading, but such oversights can be costly to our health.
A growing amount of evidence shows that the effects of chemicals in our skin care products and cosmetics is much more than skin deep. Ingredients like pthalates, parabens and heavy metals exist in major American companies’ products and have been linked to cancer, skin problems, hormonal imbalances and weight gain. So it’s important that we become informed about what we are putting into and on our bodies on a daily basis.
Consider the following critical information for starters:
- Toxicity: There are only 10 banned ingredients for cosmetics in the U.S., but around 1,400 in the European Union.Wait! What? That’s right. The fact that the USDA isn’t testing for presence of toxic ingredients in our cosmetics is alarming.
- Absorption: 26 seconds is all it takes for anything applied to your skin to enter your bloodstream. Get this: Your skin is the largest organ of your body so what you apply to your skin absorbs faster than if you swallowed it.
- Effects: The ongoing presenceof chemicals in our products is affecting our children now too. A study in 2004, conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), detected more than 287 synthetic chemicals in the cord blood of newborns.The shocking discovery is that more than 180 of those chemicals are carcinogenic, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system and over 200 can cause abnormal development or birth defects.
WHAT TO AVOID
When we consider the potential toxicity, absorption and effects of our daily beauty routine and its long-term impact, we understand the importance of being informed. As consumers we can begin to pay attention, read labels and support non-toxic options with our dollars by switching to more healthy, natural cosmetic alternatives.
We can start our evaluation of those better alternatives by understanding the chemicals we need to look for and avoid. While we could list dozens, we will share one that’s most widespread in its inclusion in skin care and beauty products: formaldehyde. There are 15-20 different names for formaldehyde, making it even more difficult to track when and how it appears in products. Beware: it might be listed under a different ingredient name like Q-15 (Quarternium-15, or ammonium salt). Formaldehyde is found in many common products made by familiar brands including baby shampoos, lotions, sunscreen and all types of cosmetics.
Formaldehyde is a highly toxic chemical that is recognized cancer-causing agent (carcinogen) by the National Cancer Institute. The side effects of exposure to formaldehyde include headaches, nausea, watery, burning eyes, nose and throat, asthma attacks, skin irritation, etc. Long term effects include cancer and heart issues.
THREE STEPS to BANISH TOXINS
Here are three steps to rid your exposure to formaldehyde, carcinogens and harmful chemicals in your everyday products:
- Evaluate your current products by researching and understanding the ingredients on the label. Enter ingredients in an online search, see the Top 10 Toxins to Watch Out For and use the Think Dirty or Skin Deep apps to evaluate products as recommended here. Consider shampoo, styling aids, lotions, foundation, lipstick, eyeliner and nail color. Avoid products that list any form of formaldehyde, have misleading labels or come from questionable sources.
- Remove toxic products from your home and beauty routine and replace them with natural alternatives that are organic, paraben free and toxin free.
- Connect with other health and wellness focused individuals and communities and continue to learn and incorporate quality products into your home and lifestyle.
If you are shocked to find out that there is lead in your lipstick and that your favorite mascara is tested on animals, you’re not alone! You might be wondering where to find brands and products that are non-toxic. Here are three product stores and brands we suggest considering as you make the move towards a more natural beauty routine!
Sei Bella provides the whole beauty routine from skincare and haircare to make-up and nails to help conscience consumers go green and save green. They even have the men in our lives covered. They excel in natural, plant-based products including peptides and patented AHCare, found in their Timeless Age-Defying Serum ($22), exceptional skincare and argan oil to smooth and strengthen hair. We like the affordability of this line and the packaged collections that help you put a look together. empoweringallwellness.com/browse.
Lotus Pure Organics have natural and organic options and they’re best known for their natural lipsticks. They are committed to researching and developing 100% organic and bio-mineral beauty products that are safe, healthy and effective. They create all natural skincare and cosmetics for the face, eyes, lips, and body. They offer eco-friendly products with price ranges from $13 (eyeshadows)-$36 (eye cream). Shop them online at lotuscosmeticsusa.com.
Eco Diva Beauty vegan beauty is a Canadian-based online retailer that offers complimentary North American shipping on purchases over $75, and carries everything from skincare to baby products. What we like about this site is that it has really great search functions that make shopping easy and educational too. ecodivabeauty.com
These are just a few of the shops out there offering alternatives to conventional beauty products. Wherever you live and whatever your motivation and price point, a greener cosmetic bag is just a click away.
Remember, simply reducing your toxic load by using better products can make a profound difference in your health. Now that you’re armed with the information we’ve shared and our three steps to banish toxins from your beauty routine, head directly to your make-up kit and self-care products. Let us know what you find and how it goes – we’d love to hear from you!
— published also on Shannon Miller Lifestyle