How many of you have seen the word “all-natural” or “derived from plants” or even “GMO” and “Organic?”
I bet everyone reading this and when purchasing those products didn’t you feel super good about that choice? You were like, “Yes, stepping up my non-toxic game and choosing better ingredients for my body or house.”
Unfortunately, you might’ve fallen into a marketing scam that’s created by corporations only wanting your mula. They jack up the prices a bit, hide ingredients under certain words, maybe take a few bad ones out, and slap a gorgeous green label on it….and they hook us.
This is actually a tactic known as green-washing. I’ve talked about it previously on my blog, and I’ll keep talking about it until I’m blue in the face. So let me be a helpful guide in listing a handful of ingredients you should avoid. Also, I’ll end with a resource that has been crazy helpful to me when figuring out which products are actually clean.
I also want to preface this and say, I am NOT perfect. Do I still have to use clinical strength deodorant sometimes because I really don’t want to be running around my recital, spreading my stench around the dancers and their parents? Yes. Do I occasionally use the cheap vanilla body sprays that I’ve gotten for Christmas every year since I was 15? Yes is the answer. Do I still use makeup I got in an Ipsy bag over 2 years ago? Not often, but yeah.
This is a judgement-free zone. Okay, guys? I just try to do better each day and that’s all anyone can do. Don’t panic after reading this and don’t get so overwhelmed that you say, “F*** it, we’re all dying from cancer anyway!”
I used to say that and yes, cancer is so prevelant, it’s scary. But, a lot more preventable than one might think…Just a little tid bit here, “99% of breast cancer tissue contained parabens” (Dr. Philippa Darbre-University of Reading in the UK). My philosophy is…how about we try to take care of ourselves the best we can during our very short time here on earth? By doing so, we are teaching the next generation good habits as well.
NOW…into the chemicals…Here are 5 chemicals you should be avoiding (and here’s why)
This one actually makes me upset, because 9 times out of 10 I’ll see a potentially non-toxic product usually with the words, “made with essential oils” and I turn that bad boy around…BOOM there is it, “fragrance.” The word fragrance is a flavoring agent that could contain literally 3,000+ stock chemicals ingredients, including hormone disrupters and allergens!! “Fragrance” is protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets meaning that they don’t have to disclose what chemicals actually fall under that word. It’s in almost everything as well, so if you’re battling super dry, irritated skin, flip over your lotion, detergent, body wash bottles and see if that pesky word is there…
2. Parabens (Methyl-, Isobutyl-, Propyl-, and more)
Thank goodness, more and more products are becoming paraben-free. This chemical is more widely known as harmful, which is GREAT! Here’s why it’s being taken out of things…it’s a preservative first and foremost which I try to avoid as much as possible. It’s meant to protect products from mold and bacteria growth, so meant to stop Earth’s natural decaying processes (eye roll). The most concerning issue with parabens is that they’re endocrine (hormone) disruptors, which may change important, natural hormone mechanisms in our bodies. For instance, they may effect reproduction, cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. It’s found in shampoos, face & body washes, foundations, and lotions.
This chemical is actually in the moisturizer I used to use for years. It is also found in most sunscreens and people are spreading it all over the children having no idea why their child is having adverse reactions…oxybenzone is why. It’s a sunscreen agent and UV light absorber linked to irritation, allergies, sensitivity, and possible hormone disruption. This chemical is actually being banned in places around the world, including Hawaii.
4. BHA and BHT
These are synthetic antioxidants used to extend a product’s shelf life. They are likely hormone disruptors which as you read above…NOT good! They are also likely carcinogens and may cause liver damage. They are found often in lipsticks, moisturizers, and diaper creams.
5. Get ready for this one….Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone
These guys are chemical preservatives that are some of the most common irritants and causes of contact skin allergies. Even lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest Methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic (poisonous to the nervous system). I wont name names here, but these preservatives are found in products from a heavily promoted Skincare brand. This brand claims to be “non-toxic.” If you would like to know which one, please feel free to ask me! They’re also found in shampoos, conditioners, and body washes.
So…now that I’ve freaked you out…what do you do to avoid said chemicals. Well, you’re not always going to be able to, but start by switching out one product at a time. For me, it was my cleansers and laudry detergents then soon after it was all my skincare.
I also want to highly recommend you use EWG Skin Deep (Environmental Working Group) as a resource. I have the app, but you can search on their website too. They rate products on a toxicity scale of 1-10 (10 being the most toxic). EWG has a strict criteria for transparency and health. I try to stick with products that are EWG verified or within the 1-3 range. Here’s an example of a product I looked up using the App (first picture) and the website (second picture) that has the highest rating of 10. Unfortunately, this brand is really popular. I personally used to use it for years. Not all of their products are rated highly, but there are A LOT, so this is why the EWG comes in handy!!
As you can see, this product contains 3 of the 5 chemicals that we should try to avoid. Key word here….”try.”
I hope this was helpful for you and didn’t put you in a panic, because that is not the intention. I believe in knowledge, education, and hard conversations. I want so badly to believe that the CDC, FDA, and all government regulated agencies have our best interest, but I’m just not so sure. Let’s dig a little deeper. I challenge you to research, research, research so you have confidence in the products you put on yourself and your families.
As a safer beauty advocate for Beautycounter, I would love to personally help you switch to cleaner beauty. It’s a GREAT place to start! Always here for questions!