Interested in switching to safer products? In this post, I’m sharing ingredients to avoid in your beauty products and why it matters for overall health.
I’ll be honest, my journey to switching to safer personal care and beauty products began long after my health journey started. I’ve dedicated much of my life to fitness and eating well, but it wasn’t until more recently that I learned what I put ON my body matters just as much as what I put IN my body.
Lack of Regulation
Unlike the food industry, the beauty industry is unfortunately highly unregulated. The last major law regulating this multi-billion dollar industry was passed in 1938 – that’s over 80 years ago! Since then, thousands of chemicals have been introduced and companies can get away with sneaking toxic and potentially harmful ingredients into their products. Asbestos in makeup!? Scary!
My journey of switching to safer products for myself and my family and been slow and steady. I am so grateful I linked arms with Beautycounter a few years ago because it’s been an immense source of education and resources (not to mention, the community aspect and prosperous leg of my business).
As for regulating personal care products, the European Union is leading the way banning around 1,400 ingredients; Canada restricts around 600… and the United States, a measly 30! The FDA currently does not have authority to regulate what’s in our products, so it is really up to us individuals.
Once we know better, we can do better; by purchasing products with safer ingredients, we are voting with our dollar.
Ingredients To Avoid In Your Beauty Products
Parabens are used in products with high water content, like shampoos, conditioners, cleansers, and moisturizers, Parabens are an endocrine disruptor, which means that they can affect the delicate balance of our hormones. They mimic estrogen in the body and can alter the expression of our genes. Read more about parabens here and why they shouldn’t be in cosmetics.
These are linked to a variety of health issues, including behavioral issues, asthma, breast cancer, ADHD, neurological, behavioral and fertility issues. Like many harmful ingredients in cosmetics and skincare, the effects can add up.
This is a trade secret in the industry and the term “fragrance” can be used to hide upwards of 200 chemical ingredients. Companies can easily hide known neurotoxins, carcinogens, allergens, and hormone disruptors by simply calling them “fragrance.”
This is a preservative that is a known carcinogen. Like many things, it can have varying effects and responses, but can cause skin irritation, eye irritation, and respiratory issues.
Oxybenzone isn’t just an ingredient that can be harmful to us, but is harmful to the earth and our precious ecosystems. Commonly used in sunscreen, oxybenzone contributes to coral bleaching and damages the DNA of coral reefs. Hawaii was the first the ban the use of this type of sunscreen.
6. Heavy Metals
Makeup often contains heavy metals like lead, mercury and zinc. They’re used in everything from lipsticks to eyeliners—and they’re what gives them that metallic sheen.
The risks associated with heavy metals include cancer, endocrine disorders, developmental delays and neurological disorders.
Good news! Beautycounter tests each batch of their color cosmetics 3x for heavy metals.
Talc, usually found in dusting powders as well as powder-based makeup like eyeshadows and blushes can be conceding if it contains asbestos! Safer alternatives include starch derived from corn, maize, arrowroot, tapioca, oats or baking soda.
8. Paraffins and Petrolatum
These are long-lasting byproducts of oil refining used to make gasoline and other petroleum products… and yes, they are likely hiding in your daily body lotion. Alternative names include petroleum jelly, paraffin oil, or mineral oil – they are often snuck into lotion because of their moisturizing properties. The main health risks of paraffins and petrolatum come from improper refining processes, which can leave behind cancer-causing contaminants.
Switch To Safer
Once I learned about some of the top offenders and ingredients to steer away from, it made it easier when picking out anything from shampoo and body lotion to toothpaste, deodorant and even my makeup. If I’m ever in question, I use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database and Healthy Living App to scan products for their safety ranking.
It’s also why I choose Beautycounter time and time again; I can trust the products because of the company’s rigorous screening processes, testing, and ingredient sourcing and regulation. Beautycounter’s Never List is a growing list of over 1,800 ingredients that they exclude from all of their formulations.
Like with all aspects of wellbeing, I don’t strive for perfection — but progress. The small changes really do add up over time. I don’t think it’s realistic to completely empty out your drawers and cabinets to replace everything in one fell swoop. Instead, I’ll wait until I run out of something and use that opportunity to replace it with a safer option.
If you’re interested in making safer swaps with your prducts, you can fill out this quick form and I’ll email you personalized recommendations.
Cheers to safer!
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