Navigating product ingredients can be incredibly daunting especially when reading a label can feel like we are translating another language. Below is a list of ingredients and practices to watch out for in your products along with the reason why. They’re like the aspartame and trans-fats of the product world…avoid whenever possible. Read “The Clean Beauty Revolution” for more information on the cosmetics and household product industry so that your self care ritual is always helpful and never harmful.
- PARABENS – Parabens are widely used as preservatives in cosmetics as they extend the shelf life of products but they are known hormone-distruptors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has detected parabens in virtually all Americans. According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, certain parabens (propyl-, butyl-, isopropyl-, and isobutyl-), may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders.
- SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE – Products with “fragrance” on the label can contain hundreds of chemicals that do not have to be listed out as they are considered proprietary. Would you eat food containing hundreds of secret ingredients?
- RETINOIDS – Watch out for Retinyl palmitate or retinol in daytime skin products and particularly sunscreen. According to Nneka Leiba, M.P.H., is EWG’s director of healthy living science “Thirty percent of the sunscreens we see have retinyl palmitate,”. Studies link retinol to photocarcinogenicty (a substance which causes cancer when illuminated).
- UREAS – DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidazolidinyl urea, Ceteareth PEG and polyethylene are preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde in very small amounts and are a primary cause of contact dermatitis.
- VITAMIN A – Listed as retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid and retinol. In daytime products including moisturizer and lip products.
- SULFATES – Sulfates are a lathering agent common in soaps and shampoos that attract oil and water allowing you to easily wash away dirt. They can irritate skin, causing dry itchiness so it’s best to avoid them or use products with minimal amounts.
- ANIMAL TESTING – This is kind of a no-brainer but if you don’t understand it please google product testing on animals. I’m not a vegetarian but it doesn’t sit right for me morally to test products we use for vanity or personal care on animals that suffer and often die because of it. Figuring out whether companies test on animals can be tricky as there aren’t any main governing bodies but Leaping Bunny is a coalition of organizations fighting against animal cruelty and it has some great resources. They also have a certification program for companies helping to identify cruelty-free organizations.
Source : Environmental Working Group (EWG)