Why does organic beauty & skincare matteR?
Have you ever stopped to consider what is in the products you use every day? Whether it’s through your skincare or cosmetics, household cleaning or personal care products (ie shampoo and deodorant), we are exposed to hundreds of different chemicals every. single. day.
Many of the products we use and come into contact with each day contain synthetic chemicals that have been linked to, or proven to cause endocrine (hormone) disruption, organ system toxicity, reproductive failure, reproductive organ toxicity, infertility, neurological disorders, environmental toxins, cancer & neurological developmental damage. It’s pretty scary.
At the least, most of these products are leading to poor skin health (many products we use on our skin simply smother it, clogging pores and making any breakouts or problems worse), premature ageing (if the skin is not healthy, it will age at a faster rate), and messing with our hormones.
No-one checks if the product contains enough preservative (or not too much), no-one checks if it contains the correct percentage of ingredients that might be restricted - because it is the sole responsibility of the manufacturer/importer to ensure the product is safe. And if there is an issue? They save the testing until after the product has been released onto the market, and the unfortunate consumer reports the incident to the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission)
Many big-name cosmetic brands still use animal testing for cosmetic ingredients or cosmetic products. Many synthetic colours (more on that below) are also frequently re-tested on animals due to being carcinogens or having carcinogenic concerns. These synthetic colours are even found in products labelled cruelty free or certified vegan. Going 100% natural and organic also means going 100% cruelty free.
EU law bans 1,328 chemicals
From cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects.
In comparison, in the U.S.A, the FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics. Unlike the United States, EU law requires pre-market safety assessments of cosmetics, mandatory registration of cosmetic products, government authorization for the use of nanomaterials and prohibits animal testing for cosmetic purposes. This legislation (or lack thereof), also applies to any ‘green’ cosmetic products. Unfortunately, this leaves ensuring the safety or effectiveness of a product up to the manufacturer - across all markets.
ingredients to avoid
On their own, some synthetic chemicals aren't necessarily toxic or harmful.
Sometimes, it can be the other ingredients paired with them that make them more harmful. Others can have an accumulative effect in the body that may not be harmful in small doses, but over time, combined with the many other products you may be using, the negative effects begin to be felt.
This is a quick-reference guide for some of the worst offenders on the ingredient list that I steer clear of. You can find out more in my ebook, The Healthy Glow.
These usually start with a prefix of butyl, methyl, ethyl, isobutyl, propyl etc. Parabens have been linked to endocrine disruption and allergens in European studies.
Sounds pretty natural, right? Mineral Oil is petroleum by-product, a yucky ingredient that clogs pores and can be contaminated with all kinds of impurities. Also known as paraffin, or paraffin oil. I also avoid anything with a petro prefix as it is a petroleum by-product.
This is a term that prevents companies from having to disclose the ingredients, as fragrance is considered a 'trade secret'.
Code for what can be a chemical cocktail from any of up to 3000 fragrance-approved ingredients. I generally avoid products with this listed on the label (unless specified as a natural source), as companies with a green, natural, non-toxic and/or organic focus are quite willing to be transparent. If the rest of the list looks good, however, it is worth contacting the company for details of the fragrance source (synthetic or natural)
A known human carcinogen, this is usually an ingredient found in nail polish. It is also irritating to the mucous membranes.
FD & C OR D & C COLOURS
Short for food, drug & cosmetics or drug & cosmetic colours, these are listed on the label as FD&C or D&C followed by a number. Many of these synthetic colours are believed to be cancer-causing. I try to avoid anything containing these colours. Due to many of these colours being carcinogens, they undergo frequent animal testing — despite being included in products labelled “cruelty free” and “vegan”.
Whilst this isn't an ingredient, it's something I feel I should add to this list. You can read more about nail polish here.
If you would like more in-depth information regarding these ingredients, get The Healthy Glow, for further ingredients to look out for, resources & more.