Hope you’re all doing well!
If you’ve ever read the list of ingredients on most of your personal care products (such as make-up, skincare, hair care products, or personal hygiene products) you will likely see a long list of chemicals.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) the average American women uses around 12 personal care products a day which exposes her to around 168 chemicals. Also, the average American man uses 6 personal care products a day which exposes him to around 85 chemicals a day.
Out of all of these chemicals, some of them are likely safe for long term use, however, consumers are reporting adverse reactions to certain products which shows that some of these chemicals may indeed have harmful effects on our health. These negative effects can be as minor as irritation or allergic reaction to more severe long term effects such as asthma or even cancer.
The large number of chemicals in a product makes it difficult for consumers and researchers to pinpoint exactly which chemical is causing the harmful effects.
Some chemicals that are thought to be harmful are parabens and phthalates. It is believed that parabens and phthalates effect the hormonal system of both men and women. They are also believed to effect immune function, metabolism, and thyroid function.
A huge point of concern is that here in the U.S. when consumers do complain about the health effects of a product to the company that made it, the company is not required to share this information with the FDA. Furthermore, companies are not required to list all of the ingredients.
For example, phthalates are often used to create the fragrance of the product but companies simply list fragrance without listing the ingredients that are used to create the fragrance.
In the United States, only 11 cosmetic chemicals have been banned by the government, however, in the European Union 1,328 cosmetic chemicals have been banned.
Although this information may seem discouraging the good news is that there some things that you can do to make sure you are using products with safe ingredients.
Read the Ingredients:
Okay, so I know that earlier in this post I mentioned that in the U.S. companies are not required to list all the ingredients. But in general, they do list the majority of the ingredients somewhere on the packaging of the product.
Just read through the list of ingredients and if you don’t recognize most of the ingredients you might want to think twice before you purchase the product.
If you want to be extra safe, visit the EWG’s Skin Deep database (ewg.org/skindeep) to type the name of the product into the EWG search engine to learn more about the safety of the product. The EWG Skin Deep database has rating and safety information for over 74,000 personal care products.
“Natural” May Not Really Be Natural:
After reading this post you might be inspired to only purchase products that are natural. Unfortunately, “natural” is not an FDA approved term so if a product claims that it is natural there is no guarantee that it won’t cause harm and there is no guarantee that the product contains all natural ingredients.
A safer bet is to look for products that have the USDA organic label. But if you have sensitive skin do a patch test of the product because some organic products contain common allergens.
Stop Using Premoistened Wipes:
Premoistened wipes (such as make-up removers wipes) contain a preservative chemical (methylisothiazolinome) which has been labeled as being completely unsafe by the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Public Safety.
Its a good idea to go through all of your personal care products and see if you can stop using certain products. Sometimes without even realizing it, we use two or more products with the same purpose or benefit. By getting rid of a few products we can reduce the number of chemicals we are being exposed to.
Is the Scent Really Important?
On certain products, if the scent is not important, consider choosing a fragrance free product. By doing so, you can limit your exposure to parabens and phthalates.
Buy From Safe Sources:
Trust me, I am all for looking for deals and trying to find the cheapest option. However, when it comes to personal care items, there is nothing wrong with finding a deal but make sure that if you’re shopping online, you only buy from authorized sellers on large websites such as Amazon or eBay. Research has shown that certain products sold online by unauthorized sellers have dangerous ingredients such as lead.
If you are interested in finding out about product recalls and warnings that have been issued by the FDA you may want to consider signing up for the FDA’s Cosmetics News email updates. Click here to sign up for updates.
Make Your Voice Heard:
If you do ever experience any adverse effects from a product make sure to report it to both the manufacturer of the product and the FDA . To report to the FDA, you can call them by phone (800)-332-1088) or you can report online by visiting http://www.fda.gov/safety/mediawatch and click on “Report a Problem”.
I hope that you find these tips to be helpful!