Have you ever looked on the back of your “all natural” moisturizer, only to turn it back around because you simply can’t read both the “active” or “inactive” ingredients. Despite what the commercial, label, or company may claim, these products are the last thing from beneficial. They may appear to make our skin, hair, or nails healthy, but most leading brands contain literal carcinogens and a slue of untested chemicals. Half of these ingredients have to be handled with extreme caution, as they have been linked to cancer, severe allergies, birth defects, learning disabilities, and infertility.
Think about it, cosmetic manufacturers are allowed to put anything they want into a bottle that is sold on drugstore shelves nation wide. With no regulations or mandatory testing as to how these raw materials effect the human body, the FDA has done quite a good job at distancing itself from having any responsibility in the beauty industry. Because products are rarely banned due to potentially harmful side effects, the average adult is exposed to a variety of 126 chemicals by just using 9 personal care items. However, it is estimated that an even larger number of 15 toxic products are used daily by 1 in every 100 men, and over a quarter of a million women.
The question then that comes to mind, is there really a problem with primping and pampering with these shiny, colorful bottled products? Much to some people’s disappointment, the answer is yes.
As noted above, the government could care less about what the personal care industry puts in their products. Due to the lack of mandatory standards, an assessment studying 7,500 products found that only 28 had ever been completely tested by the self-regulated Cosmetic Industry Panel. Besides this scary low number, the fact that the manufacturers were allowed to simply approve or disprove their own products is not very promising. Just like any big company looking to better their business’ well-being (not the buyers), the beauty industry could care less about taking the extra time and money to ensure a product is completely safe and healthy. Rather, they shrug off any skeptical side effects and allow 1/3 of all products (out of the 7,500 tested) to contain human carcinogens. Not only that, but there it was found that there was carcinogenic coal tar in 71% of the hair dyes tested, that were also 70% tainted with toxins related to serious chronic illnesses, including cancer. What is even more absurd, is the fact that over half of the products studied had violated the recommended safety laws proposed by the self-regulated Cosmetic Ingredients Review Board.
What did the FDA do about this finding? They decided to ban a whopping 9 products out of the 7,500 reviewed. Nine, not ten, nine, a number not even classified as a mathematical double digit, was the number of items removed. The scary thing is, this study was published ten years ago. Though it may sound appalling, the main reason for this is simple. Synthetic (aka foreign and toxic) ingredients are cheap, stable, and allow products to have a considerably longer shelf life than those that are truly “all natural.” Instead of warning users of the potential, long-term side effects, companies simply cover up these toxic cocktails with bright labels, attractive models, images, and alluring scents.
Most all shampoos, skin products, and makeup, have all been proven to commonly (or always) contain toxic coal tar colors, phenylenediamine, benzene, and formaldehyde. DEA (diethanolamine), benzoyl peroxide, petrolatum, siloxens, PEG (polyethylene glycol), propylene glycol, triclosan, sodium lauryl & laurel sulfate, aluminum, lanolin, silicone, phenoxyethanol, phthalates, and parabens, are just literally a few other ingredients quite normal in leading brands of beauty and personal care products. Everything from deodorant, hand soap, acne products, lipstick, baby oils & lotions, toothpaste, mascara, facial moisturizers, and hair spray, are chock full of these dangerous compounds. It is important to note that, avoiding these ingredients does not just apply to women, as many male products have the exact same problem.
Parfum, a toxin found in even “unscented” or “fragrance free” products, is used to trick the brain into not being able to perceive any present odor. In other words, this ingredient overrides our bodies normal processing, simultaneously triggering allergies, migraines, asthma, and hormone disruption, which then sets the stage for a variety of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Another example would be the chemical “phenoxyethenol,” which has been found to be in 756 facial treatments products, 512 moisturizers, 496 so-called anti aging products, 397 cleansers, 341 sunscreens, 225 foundations, 203 body cleansing products, 182 exfoliant scrubs, 211 sun-blocking skincare products, and 178 other types of creams, resulting in a whopping total of 3501 different cosmetics readily available at buyer’s fingertips. Acute problems caused from this harmful ingredient range from red, watering, inflamed, itchy, scaling, and blistering of both the eyes and skin, to more serious issues such as chronic respiratory irritation, liver, nervous system, and kidney toxicity.
Seriously, I could go on all day about the 100’s of harmful toxins found in personal care products that are scattered through everyone’s household. To sum it all down, these ingredients don’t just put you at a risk of developing a health condition, they do.
Every organ in the body works together to support each other and ultimately produce a strong, healthy individual. However, feeding your largest organ foreign invaders day in and out, through toxic personal care items, will only weaken and deteriorate the integrity of your bodily systems. If you are having trouble with a cream that is supposed to “calm” your skin, makeup that is causing you to flush more than it claims to hide redness, or simply a shampoo that is flattening more than anything, it more than likely has a carcinogenic ingredient that your body is not reacting well too. It is safe to say, never underestimate the ingredients that make up these shiny bottles. Instead, ditch the drugstore and seek out products with real (readable) ingredients that are not only approved for your skin, but also for eating (if it was really necessary). There is a serious reason behind the need to call poison control if you swallow too much Crest toothpaste, but there doesn’t have to be!
I understand that finding products not along these lines that actually work are hard to come by, especially when it comes to shampoo and conditioner. Some find that the baking soda and vinegar method is quite beneficial, while others are left with the same greasy hair they started with. Therefore, doing your best to eliminate all “normal” brands such as Pantene and Eucerin, in place for brands truly invested in their buyer’s well-being. A great place to start include, JASONS, Deep Steep, Alba, Original Sprout, and Kiss My Face. For those looking to naturally rid themselves of acne, Real food Liz has a great “skintervention guide” program that reminds us having AMAZING skin is possible without scary drugs. Because the recommended brands above have so many products, I cannot 100% guarantee that they are all completely clean, however, they are definitely better than any drugstore variety. Because of this, pure, 1 ingredient products such as avocado and coconut oil tend to benefit my dry skin the most. Another new, personal favorite of my mother and I is, Fat Face Skincare.
You all know my love for saturated fat, so when I saw that this company used tallow and coconut oil as some of their main ingredients, I knew I had to jump on the band wagon. Yes, they incorporate beef fat, much like real farmers used back in the day for softening their rough and calloused hands. Not only are Fat Face ingredients readable, but they are 100% REAL. Being someone with over-active histamines, finding a cream that I don’t break out from is rare. Even seemingly clean, organic brands, end up making me itch more than I would without them. However, this is not the case with Fat Face, as my skin literally breaths a sign of relief after I use a dab on my hands, face, or legs.
Instead of conveniently buying Dove or Neutrogena (both of which are damaging down to the very cells in our body), it is important to support companies like Fat Face that are created by real people with real stories, looking for REAL solutions, and making great quality products that care for and support the body. As Cassy the founder says, remember, fat is your friend! If you are big into health, diet, and lifestyle, what are you waiting for? Don’t just support the real food movement, go support the real SKINCARE movement!!!
Grain Free Acne Free
Be a Drugstore Dropout
The Problem With Cosmetics
The Dirty Dozen of Skincare
Real Food Liz: Body Care
25 Alternative Cosmetics
Inforgraphic Chart of Product Dangers