Imagine someone handing you two bottles of lotion, and then saying: “Bottle A might contain poison, but don’t worry – it hasn’t been scientifically proven! Bottle B doesn’t have those questionable ingredients, it’s the same price, and you can’t tell a difference in the products.” Which bottle would you select? It’s a no-brainer.
This is essentially what’s happening all over the world with vast numbers of beauty and personal care products. The only difference? No one is stating the disclaimer. As a result, the general public has no idea what’s in most of their products, so they continue using them without a second thought.
Several months ago, I saw this statistic:
Yes, you read that right.
Now, some may argue that the EU regulates too many things and it’s not the government’s job to regulate the cosmetic or beauty industries. However, I want to invite you to not just brush this off. Dig a little deeper, and don’t take my word for it. If the government doesn’t regulate it, that means it’s your personal responsibility to ensure you’re using products that aren’t harmful to your body. I challenge you to take the time to actually look at what’s in some of the products you’re using every day, and google the ingredients you’ve never heard of.
Here are some surprising statistics about what might be lurking in your products:
FORMALDEHYDE: Up to 20% of cosmetic products registered in the FDA’s database contain “formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.” Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. See this article in Women’s Health Magazine for more info.
LEAD: In 2009, the FDA confirmed in a study that up to 60% of lipsticks (including some produced by several well-known corporations) contain lead. See this article from Safe Cosmetics for more info.
TALC: Many cosmetics contain talc (aka talcum powder or magnesium silicate), which has been linked to asbestos and is a possible carcinogen. See this New York Times article for more info.
FRAGRANCES: The single terms “natural fragrance,” “aroma,” or “parfum,” can actually mask thousands of chemicals used to create a certain smell (or flavor when used in food). Because they’re considered trade secrets, they’re not required to be disclosed on ingredient labels, but these chemicals can have a wide range of adverse results on humans – including cancer, skin irritation, hormonal imbalances, etc. See more information here from The Honest Company.
PHTHALATES: This is a whole family of chemicals often found in cosmetics and personal care products, as well as food packaging. Ingredient labels will often list these as their acronyms, such as DBP, BBP, DEHP or DiBP. One type of phthalate, DEHP, has been confirmed to cause cancer in animals and is expected to do the same in people. Others are also possible carcinogens, can irritate the skin and cause developmental issues. See this article on WebMD for more info.
PARABENS: These preservative chemicals (often called methylparabens, propylparabens, ethylparabens, and butylparabens), have possible links to breast cancer and are considered hormone disruptors at best. They can be found in many skin care products, such as lotions, shampoos, and makeup. See this article from Breastcancer.org, and this statement from the FDA for more info.
So…am I claiming that there is conclusive evidence that all your personal care products might be giving you cancer? Nope. I’m just saying that you and the general public ought to know which ingredients are possible causes for concern, so you can make an informed decision.
If you’re like me, you’ll at least look into some alternative products, and if you can find something of equal value without the nasty contents, you’ve literally got nothing to lose. It’s not a matter of them not existing, because there are some amazing companies out there taking huge strides towards clean beauty and toxin free products. People just need to discover them!
If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading! 🙂 This post is already getting long, so I’ll wrap up for now and plan to follow up with a few other posts on Clean Beauty: one with details on some products I used to own, and another with some clean products that I’ve chosen to start using instead!