Why should you care?
So what are the top ingredients you should avoid when shopping for cosmetics and body care products? The following list indicates the most common chemicals found in conventional products:
- BHA and BHT : possible human carcinogen, interferes with hormone function, linked to skin reactions.
- Coal tar dyes: possible human carcinogen, may contain traces of heavy metals.
- DEA-related ingredients : possible human carcinogen, may trigger skin and eye reactions.
- Dibutyl phthalate : endocrine disruptor, linked to liver and kidney failure as well as reproductive and developmental problems.
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives : known human carcinogen, may trigger allergic reactions, linked to skin and eye irritation.
- Parabens : endocrine disruptor, linked to breast cancer and excess estrogen levels in the body.
- Parfum ( fragrance) : irritant, may trigger allergies, asthma, and migraines, possible carcinogen, linked to neurotoxicity.
- PEG compounds : possible human carcinogen, can trigger skin reactions, linked to systemic toxicity in the body.
- Petrolatum : possible human carcinogen, can cause skin irritation and allergies.
- Siloxanes : endocrine disruptor, linked to reproductive toxicity, may decrease immune function.
- Sodium laureth sulfate : possible human carcinogen, irritant to the eyes and skin.
- Triclosan : endocrine disruptor, irritant to the skin and eyes.
What can you do?
The best thing you can start to do is to begin replacing your conventional bathroom products with cleaner versions. We do realize, however, that it is a big world out there and it can be challenging to navigate through all the noise. You can use the Environmental Working Group Database to rate your current products and evaluate where they stand on the “clean” scale. They also have an android app that you can use while shopping for alternative products, which makes shopping so much easier.
Clean beauty brands are taking the lead these days as our society is becoming increasingly aware of toxin-filled products. This makes it so much easier to go shopping when you are able to trust a brand with your health. You will find your own favourites as you begin to navigate the options available, but until then, let us share some of our go-to's with you:
By making your own soaps, serums and lotions, you can avoid unwanted preservatives and chemicals and keep your ingredients super simple and clean. Essential oils are a fantastic way to do this, as well as common household items like baking soda, raw honey, and charcoal.
Don't be fooled by brands claiming their products are natural, be sure to actually verify this by always reading the ingredient list. Don't forget to download EWG's Healthy Living app to your phone when going shopping, so you can quickly scan and look up products to help make the right decisions. Now that you know what to look out for and how to find better alternatives, you will be able to easily identify which products are healthy and which are not.
Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.