Interested in switching to safer products? In this post, I share ingredients you should avoid in your beauty products and why it’s important for overall health.
I’ll be honest, my journey to switch to safer personal care, beauty and skin care products started long after my health journey began. I’ve dedicated much of my life to fitness and good nutrition, but I’ve only recently learned that what I put in my body is just as important as what I put in my body.
Lack of regulation
Unlike the food industry, the beauty industry is unfortunately extremely 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 to switching to safer products for myself and my family has been slow and steady. I am so grateful to have linked arms Beautycounter a few years ago because it was a huge source of education and resources (not to mention, the community aspect and the prosperity side of my business).
When it comes to regulating personal care products, the European Union is leading the way in banning around 1,400 ingredients. Canada limits about 600… and the United States, almost 30! The FDA doesn’t currently have the authority to regulate what’s in our products, so it’s really up to us as individuals.
Once we learn better, we can do better. by buying products with safer ingredients, we are voting with our dollar.
Ingredients to avoid in your beauty products
Parabens are used in products with a high water content such as shampoos, conditioners, cleansers and moisturisers, Parabens are endocrine disruptors, which means they can affect our delicate balance of hormones. They mimic estrogen in the body and can change the expression of our genes. Read more about parabens here and why they should not be present in cosmetics.
Phthalates are not only linked to cancer, but have also been shown to contribute to a variety of health issues, including behavioral issues, asthma, breast cancer, ADHD, neurological problems, birth defects, and fertility issues. Like many harmful ingredients in cosmetics and skin care, the results can be summed.
This is a trade secret in the industry and the term “fragrance” can be used to hide over 200 chemical ingredients. Companies can easily hide known neurotoxins, carcinogens, allergens, and hormone disruptors by simply calling them “fragrance.”
Formaldehyde is a preservative and a known carcinogen. It is often used as an ingredient in a variety of cosmetic products such as nail polish and eyelash glue. Like many things, it can have different results and responses, but may cause skin irritation, eye irritation and respiratory problems.
Unfortunately, while formaldehyde is a well-known toxic ingredient, many people are unaware that many lesser-known cosmetic ingredients can release formaldehyde. This means you probably won’t see “formaldehyde” listed among the ingredients of a cosmetic product, because it could be registered under a different name.
Bronopol, hydantoin DMDM, quaternium-15, diazolidinylurea, and imidazolidinylurea are “formaldehyde releasers” found in some cosmetics. Similarly, methylene glycol, an ingredient in some hair straightening products, is formed by the reaction of formaldehyde with water. You’ll want to avoid these preservatives whenever possible.
Oxybenzone is not just an ingredient it can be harmful to us, but it is harmful to the earth and our precious ecosystems. Oxybenzone, commonly used in sunscreens, contributes to coral bleaching and damages the DNA of coral reefs. Hawaii was the first prohibit the use of this type of sunscreen.
6. Heavy metals
Makeup often contains heavy metals such as lead, mercury and zinc. They’re used in everything from lipsticks to eyeliners — and it’s what gives them that metallic sheen.
Risks associated with heavy metals include cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental delays, and neurological disorders.
Good news! Beautycounter tests every batch of its color cosmetics 3 times for heavy metals.
Talc, commonly found in setting powders as well as powder-based makeup such as eyeshadows and blushes, can be discarded if it contains asbestos! Safer alternatives include starches derived from corn, corn, arugula, tapioca, oats, or baking soda.
8. Paraffins and oil
These are long-term byproducts of oil refining used to make gasoline and other petroleum products… and yes, they’re probably hiding in your everyday body lotion. Alternative names include petrolatum, paraffin oil or mineral oil – often sneaked into lotions for their moisturizing properties. The main health risks from paraffins and petroleum jelly come from improper refining processes, which can leave behind carcinogenic contaminants.
This is an ingredient commonly found in hair dye. May cause skin irritation, especially in people with sensitive skin. It has also been linked to immune system dysfunction and thyroid dysfunction.
Switch to safer products
Once I learned about some of the top offenders and the ingredients to steer clear of, it made it easier when choosing everything from shampoo and body lotion to toothpaste, deodorant and even my makeup. If I’m ever in a question, I use it Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database and the Healthy Living app to scan products for their safety rating.
This is also the reason I choose Beautycounter again and again; I can trust the products because of the company’s strict inspection, testing and ingredient sourcing procedures and regulations. Beautycounter’s Never List is a growing list of more than 1,800 ingredients they exclude from all of their formulas.
As with all aspects of well-being, I’m not after perfection — but progress. Small changes really add up over time. I don’t think it’s realistic to completely empty your drawers and cupboards to replace everything in one go. Instead, I’ll wait until I run out of something and use that opportunity to replace it with a safer option.
If you are interested in making safer exchanges with your products, you can fill out this quick form and I’ll send you personalized suggestions via email.
Yay for safer!
You may also like: