With skin being our largest organ, we should be just as concerned about the ingredients contained in our beauty products as we are about the ingredients in the foods we eat.
What most consumers don’t know is that the FDA does not approve cosmetics or skin care products before they go to market. There is virtually no regulation of skin care formulations and the ingredients used, other then the Companies themselves determining what ingredients go into the formulations. Many consumers are surprised to find out that unfriendly ingredients are still being used in their personal care products, and just because a product says it is natural it does not necessarily mean that it is safe or without overly processed ingredients and unfriendly ingredients for the environment.
The US Environmental Protection Agency in their report “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment” stated that the paragons—glycol, methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. All of these ingredients are currently used in many personal care products.
So you ask what are all of these chemicals doing in my skin care products? Well, with modern green technology there really is no need for all of these chemicals. Many chemicals are used in skin care formulations as stabilizers, emulsifier and humectants to ensure the formulation holds together and has good texture and slip. For example, glycols are added to formulations to prevent liquefying at high temperatures. This makes sense, until of course you realize that glycols are anti-freeze. That’s right, anti-freeze, the same stuff we use in our cars to prevent freezing. The skin care industry has been using these chemicals for years. If you recall, natural skin care products were often compared to technically based products, and were considered less effective. This is no longer the case as there has been major advancements in natural emulsifiers and stabilizers. Today natural products can compete head to head with chemically derived products.
With over 10,000 different chemicals used today in our personal care products, one really has to stop and pay attention to the long-term effect these chemicals have on our health. Just because the products are sold on a cosmetic shelf does not mean they are safe or that they do not cause long-term health problems.
The good news for consumers, is that there is an alternative choice, with so many great products now on the market, you no longer need to compromise your health in the pursuit of beauty. It does take some extra effort when selecting your personal care products, for example you need to learn to read your ingredient lists. Some ingredients that are hard to pronounce are actually the INCI name, or could also be the latin name for a botanical.
Some of the most common chemicals that have raised concern are listed below:
-Glycols (Propylene, Butylene, Polyethylene)
-Laurel or Laureth Sulphates
For more information on safe ingredients or to research an ingredient rating The Environmental Working Group is a great resource. https://www.ewg.org