U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.
You can avoid harmful chemicals when you use David Suzuki's shopper's guide, and audit your bathroom cupboard using this list of harmful ingredients:
THE DIRTY DOZEN! (take a deep breath, check your labels, and avoid.)
1. BHA and BHT: Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more from David Suzuki »
2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by a five digit numberIn addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosmetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in the 75000 and 77000 series, respectively).
3. DEA-related ingredients: Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicalsMEA and TEA. Read more from David Suzuki »
4. Dibutyl phthalate: Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more from David Suzuki »
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer. Read more from David Suzuki »
6. Parabens: Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions. Read more from David Suzuki»
7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance): Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as "unscented." Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more for David Suzuki »
8. PEG compounds: Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., polyethylene glycol). Read more from David Suzuki»
9. Petrolatum: Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer. Read more from David Suzuki»
10. Siloxanes: Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more from David Suzuki »
11. Sodium laureth sulfate: Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate). Read more from David Suzuki»
12. Triclosan: Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more from David Suzuki»
Taking the time to switch to healthier versions of your favorite products can take time.
And that's a-ok! Switching to a healthier lifestyle, is simply that: a lifestyle. It's not about stressing and switching everything right here and right now. It is something to simply start being aware of how you would like to reshape your thoughts and actions- and when the time is right, you will know it.
Keep in mind that when you are switching products, although Organic Tends To Be More Expensive, You’ll Use Less. Generally, you can use less organic makeup per use than you would with non-organic. We find that we run out of that creamy, cakey non-organic foundation before we run out of a mineral powder. Remember that weird feeling that you skin gets after a few hours of wearing traditional makeup? This just doesn't seem to happen with organic makeup. Organic is simply better quality. So, we wear it longer. The price often evens out in the end.
When shopping organically, still be conscious of reading labels, and making sure that what you are buying is truley what you are looking for. There is a lot of misleading marketing when it comes to "organic" and "all-natural" these days.
Also, simply using shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and even olive oil is an awesome, inexpensive way to moisturize skin better than ever. It really can be that easy!
Cheers to a beautiful, healthy you!