When you think of living a healthy lifestyle, what is it that you think of? If you’re like most people, its probably exercising and eating right. We don’t often think about changing what we use on our skin, our shampoo or other beauty products as part of living a healthier life. It’s crazy the things that we would never dream of ingesting but will put on our skin or use on our bodies daily. For whatever reason, changing our skincare routines and making more informed choices regarding our skincare products has seen a much slower shift in focus.
To put it bluntly, the ingredients that are found in many of the bath, body and beauty products most people use regularly is scary! Many of them are unregulated and are proven cancer causing chemicals, hormone disruptors, pesticides, reproductive toxins…the list goes on. One in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals including plasticizers used to keep concrete soft, degreasers used to get grime off auto parts and surfactants which are used in paint and ink to keep the surface from hardening. Imagine what these harsh chemicals are doing to your body every time you use them over the duration of a lifetime!
There is said to be a ‘dirty dozen’ list of the most widely used toxic chemicals in the beauty industry, at least one of which can be found in approximately 80% of products. I won’t go into detail on each and every one as this will quickly turn into a science paper but here are a few of the most eye-opening facts I found:
- BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are closely related synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives; they are unrestricted in Canada although classified as a ‘high risk to human health’ based on carcinogenicity (cancer causing)
- Coal tar-derived colours are used extensively in cosmetics & hair dyes; a mixture of chemicals derived from petroleum and recognized as human carcinogens; contain heavy metals which are toxic to the brain (think Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc)
- DEA (diethanolamine) related ingredients are used to make cosmetics creamy or sudsy and are mainly found in soaps, cleansers and shampoos. Exposure has been found to cause liver cancers and precancerous changes in skin and the thyroid
- Phthalates are widely used as fragrance ingredients in cosmetics and have been found to interfere with hormone function (endocrine disruption) and cause reproductive and developmental problems. As fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets, manufacturers are not required to disclose specific fragrance chemicals in their ingredients
- Formaldehyde releasing preservatives are used in a wide range of cosmetics as well as in resins used in wood products, vinyl flooring and other plastics, permanent-press fabric and toilet bowl cleaners; formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen
- Parabens are the most widely used preservative in cosmetics. They interfere with hormone function & mimic estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. Parabens have been detected in human breast cancer tissue and it has been estimated that women are exposed to 50 mg per day of parabens from cosmetics alone
I could continue and go on and on with more big chemical names that are impossible to pronounce but I think you get the picture! Chemicals are increasingly present in everything we put into & ON our bodies. It’s just as important to focus on making healthier choices regarding our beauty and skincare products as it is the food we eat. Our skin is our largest organ and as I’m sure everyone has read regarding skin cancer, we must start taking better care of it. It starts with making educated decisions about what products we use every day. Buying natural products made from ingredients you can pronounce is the healthiest alternative.
There are so many amazing local makers out there focusing on bringing healthy products to the market, its time to start making those changes now. Local, all-natural products are good for your body & mind, your community and the environment. Make the change, you’re worth it 😉
Much love, Christina xo