This post is part of my Why Series here on the blog. I often write about fair trade, eco-friendly, socially conscious living, but I am not always able to fully address in each of my blog posts WHY I choose to live this way. This series goes into greater detail about my why!
Over the past couple of years, I have transitioned my shower and skincare routine to include more and more “clean” beauty products. This means that I am choosing products that are made from natural, non-toxic ingredients rather than harmful chemicals. Here is why I have decided to make clean beauty a priority:
1. Most conventional beauty products contain harmful, toxic ingredients.
Many of us assume that if a product is available on a shelf at the drug store, it must be safe for humans to use. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The FDA does not require that ingredients used in personal care products be tested for safety. Indeed, only about 85% of the ingredients used on beauty products have been tested. Yikes!
Unfortunately, most conventional beauty products are laden with yucky ingredients. Research shows that 1 in 8 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, hormone disrupters, and reproductive toxins. Some of the common bad actors include:
- Diethanolamine (DEA) – carcinogen, skin irritant.
- Ethylenedimine and Tetraacetic Acid (EDTA) – reproductive toxin, skin irritant.
- Formaldehyde – carcinogen, allergen.
- Lead acetate – neurotoxin.
- Parabens – hormone disruptors.
- Phthalates – reproductive toxins.
- Propylene Glycol – skin irritant, cell growth inhibitor.
- Retinyl palmitate/retinoic acid – carcinogen.
- Siloxanes – hormone disruptor, reproductive toxin.
- Sulfates – skin irritant, often contaminated with carcinogens from the manufacturing process.
- Toluene – neurotoxin, organ toxin, reproductive toxin, skin irritant.
- Triclosan – thyroid and hormone disrupter, reproductive toxin. Triclosan has been banned in the U.S. in soap but is still allowed in other products.
2. Your skin absorbs what you put on it.
It’s fine to put a reproductive toxin on your skin since your skin isn’t part of your reproductive system, right? Wrong! Your skin is actually permeable and absorbs substances located on the skin surface into the body in a process known as dermal absorption. Thus, chemicals that are on your skin enter your bloodstream and circulate to your entire body. This is what makes “dirty” beauty products such a problem–those nasty ingredients are being absorbed by your skin into your body, where they can wreak havoc on your health. Frankly, I don’t want to be absorbing any of the nasty ingredients described above.
3. My skin likes me better when I stick to clean beauty!
It should come as no surprise that skin generally reacts more favorably to ingredients that are healthy and non-irritating. One of the major reasons I use clean beauty products is because my skin loves them! In particular, the skin on my face has become brighter and less prone to acne since I made the switch to clean products.
4. Clean beauty is better for the environment.
Chemicals that aren’t good for us generally aren’t good for our environment and other animal species, either. When we shower or bathe, the chemicals we use on our skin and hair flow down the drain into our waste water system and enter the water supply. When we pass dirty ingredients on to our water supply, they travel further through our ecosystem and contaminate our soil, our air, our food supply, and other animals. This can cause disruptions in our environment and food chain. Take, for example, microbeads, which are tiny plastic beads that are often used in exfoliating body washes, facial scrubs, and toothpaste. They are small enough to slip through filters in our waste water system, entering our water ways and contaminating our food supply when fish and other marine life consume them. This is just one example of many that illustrates how beauty product ingredients can be toxic to our environment.
To wrap things up: I could not continue to use conventional, “dirty” beauty products once I learned the ugly truth about the ingredients. I have gradually made the switch to clean beauty because I care about my own health and the health of the environment and others.
Be sure to check out my clean beauty posts here on the blog to learn about the non-toxic products I love (and the ones I don’t love!).