The beauty industry has been growing and growing and growing. From bright bold lips to a blinding highlight it seems almost everyone has hopped on the train to glamor city. But what those beauty products are actually doing to your skin and health is everything but beautiful. Mainstream beauty products can be filled with toxins and chemicals that destroy our environment and beauty both internally and externally. Before you rub on the newest popular serum or apply that drugstore foundation make sure you are informed about what it is you are actually doing to your body.
What The Beauty Industry Is Not Telling You
The FDA does not regulate beauty ingredients. In the US cosmetics brands are allowed to use nearly any ingredient and chemical in their product without government approval with the exception of color additives and any ingredient classified as a drug. Only 10% of personal care products have been tested for human safety. This means personal care companies can essentially put any chemical or ingredient in their products they want.
While there are two very conflicting opinions on how quickly or how much of what we put on our skin absorbs into our bloodstream, it is agreed that what we put on our skin does make it to our bloodstream at one point or another. Therefore all those unregulated toxic chemicals are making their way into our bodies. Some argue that certain ingredients are not harmful in small doses, and while this may be true you have to remember that people tend to layer on and use beauty products daily turning those small doses into large doses.
Since the government is not regulating our products it’s up to you as the consumer to do your own research to best determine the safety of what you are putting on your body.
Mainstream Beauty Products Contain Harmful Chemicals
Most mainstream beauty products that you find at your local drugstore or beauty store shelves are filled with harmful chemicals. These chemicals not only damage your skin and affect your health but they also cause damage to the environment.
Some common toxic ingredients you should look out for are:
Found in: Lipstick, toothpaste, makeup etc.
Impact: Can cause brain damage, seizures, GI issues, reproductive issues and kidney dysfunction.
Found in: Almost any beauty product that has water (aqua), such as skincare products, makeup, shampoo, and conditioners.
Impact: Parabens mimic hormones and disrupt them, potentially causing cancer.
Found in: Nail polish, air fresheners, perfumes, body sprays, detergents, and soaps.
Impact: Have been shown to disrupt hormones and decrease sperm count.
Chemicals that disrupt the hormones are most dangerous in small doses as they mimic the way the body naturally interacts with hormones. This is a huge issue to be aware of when we are undergoing certain periods of development like pregnancy, infancy, and puberty because we are more susceptible to hormone disruption.
Found in: Almost everything. Companies are not required to list the ingredients that make up the fragrance in their products.
Impact: It’s an allergen to some and can cause skin irritation.
Found in: Almost everything. Remember when we talked about layering products? When certain chemical ingredients are mixed together they can form nitrosamines.
Impact: It is linked to cancer. 1 out of 10 cosmetics still contain combinations of ingredients that create nitrosamines.
Found in: Shampoos, haircare products, liquid soaps, and nail polish.
Impact: Prolong exposure may be contributing factor in the development of cancer.
Not all mainstream products contain harmful ingredients, but its very important to be aware of those that do. One of the easiest ways to test mainstream products for toxic chemicals is through the mobile app called Think Dirty. This app allows you to type in the name or scan the barcode of a product and it will pull up its color-coded toxicity rating. Green represents low toxicity, yellow is medium toxicity and red is high toxicity. The app also lists out each ingredient and explains what effect they can have on the body.
Another helpful resource is EWG’s Skin Deep Database. This is a website that works in the same way as the Think Dirty app but you just type in the product name to get the rating. EWG also lets you search ingredients by themselves which is very helpful when a product is not in either database.
Little to no nutrient-rich ingredients that benefit your skin are in mainstream cosmetics. Instead of boosting health or hair, skin, and nails they use chemicals to temporally mask any issues. Skincare with chemicals appear to show immediate results but organic products work toward long-term results. Organic products contain nutritional ingredients like vitamin C, E, A and many other beneficial ingredients that protect, heal and nourish the skin.
If I have convinced you and you are making the switch to non-toxic beauty it’s important to remember that just because a product says organic or natural it does not necessarily mean that it is. Those terms are not regulated so make sure to look for the USDA certified organic symbol or search the ingredient list to be sure they are safe.
Switching to a non-toxic beauty routine does not mean you have to give up the glamorous look all us beauty enthusiasts are after. There are so many great ‘clean’ products on the market that are just as glam as those in the department stores but with significantly fewer side effects.