Whether fancy and expensive or common and cheap, skin care products are riddled with harmful chemicals and ingredients. In fact, some of the most toxic elements in a woman’s daily life are her personal care products, which contain ingredients linked to:
- Birth Defects
- Learning Disabilities
- Chronic fatigue
- Hormone disruption
A veritable toxic shit storm of harm! Nothing is exempt. They are in lotions, sunscreens, deodorant (yikes!), makeup, lipsticks, soaps, shampoos and nail polish.
Think that it doesn’t matter because it is just on your skin? A whopping 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream. Kids absorb EVEN more than that.
WTF. You think, “That can’t be. Our consumer products are safe. The FDA takes care of all of that. They protect us from harmful ingredients in the products we put IN and ON our bodies.” UMMMM. Not.
YOU have to take control and protect yourself. You must make educated choices about the products you use. Your skin and longevity will thank you.
What to do first …
Educate yourself! Download the Environmental Working Group’s tools and resources and lessen your exposure to toxins. You don’t have to throw everything out and start from scratch, unless you are as crazy about it as we are. Start with your soaps, body lotions and shampoos. Work from there. Once you start understanding the dangers of these ingredients, the shift becomes MUCH easier!
Stay away from:
- Parabens. This widely used preservative is in everything: makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos, lubricants,and facial cleansers. Parabens mimic estrogen in ways associated with increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have actually been found in biopsy samples from breast tumors. Look for “Paraben-free” products.
- Artificial colors. Yes, the same stuff that makes your Skittles bright like rainbows. Made from petroleum, synthetic colors are skin irritants and linked to ADHD in children. (Insert my uncontrollable anger here.) The Europeans consider artificial colors a human carcinogen and actually banned them. What?? We use stuff (smarter) countries don’t allow because it’s dangerous? Don’t forget this is what is in your packaged food and candies. MAKES ME FURIOUS.
- Fragrance. One of my least favorite things. Due to a law created to protect a company’s “secret formula,” the contents of fragrance don’t have to be disclosed. It may contain chemicals that cause allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and possibly effects on the reproductive system. It’s found in really anything with a scent! Just stay clean and let your inner scent shine through. You are MUCH more appealing than “spring meadow rain” anyway!
- Triclosan. It’s supposed to be an antibacterial agent, but it’s also a known endocrine disruptor — especially thyroid and reproductive hormones — and a skin irritant. Tricolson can be found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps and deodorants. Tom’s toothpastes are a great alternative to that nasty conventional stuff.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate/Sodium laureth sulfate. This surfactant can be found in almost all personal care and cleaning products—anything that foams. SLS’s are known to be skin, lung and eye irritants. It combines with other chemicals to form a kind of carcinogen, leading to issues like kidney and respiratory damage. They can be found in shampoo, body wash, cleansers, mascara and acne treatment.
- Phthalates. I can’t even pronounce it, but they are a group of chemicals used in things like nail polish, perfumes, deodorants, lotions and hair spray. Yikes! See ya, Aqua Net. Known to be endocrine disruptors, they have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls and reproductive birth defects in males and females. Unfortunately, it is not often disclosed since it is added into that “secret formula” called fragrance. Yeah … the Secret deodorant should hit the trash. Sorry.
- Formaldehyde. Helps prevent bacteria growth. This chemical was deemed as a human carcinogen and has been linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancers. It is known to cause allergic skin reactions and may be harmful to the immune system. It can be found in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows and nail polish treatments. It is also used to embalm cadavers. Just sayin’!
- Toluene. Derived from petroleum, this nasty devil can affect your respiratory system, cause nausea and irritate your skin. Expecting mothers should avoid exposure to toluene vapors as it may cause developmental damage in the fetus. Toluene has also been linked to immune system toxicity. It can be found in nail polish, nail treatments and hair color/bleaching products.
- Sunscreen chemicals. This is bad sh*t. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors and are easily absorbed into the body. They can cause cellular damage and cancer in the body. Common names are benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate. Find all-natural sunscreens (you will pay high dollar, but you and your kids are worth it!)
The average person slathers on around 125 chemical ingredients found in personal care products every day. YEESH.
Which products will you eliminate first? Download this groovy shopping guide for quick reference for things to avoid.
Once you’ve tossed the Jergens for jojoba, test some of The GEM girls’ favorite lines:
- Odacite (skin care)
- Tarte (makeup)
- Hourglass (makeup)
- Derma E (skin care)
- Tom’s (toothpaste)
Easier still, shop at places that have edited the products for you – conscious companies who are trying to make a difference with quality skin care that is helpful, not harmful!
If you have a favorite, fabulous and SAFE product, please share it with us! We are always looking for the good stuff!