Today I am talking about healthy beauty products. It is the first post in a series I am calling Beyond The Scale. Because being healthy is so much more than getting in a healthy weight range!
And maybe it’s slightly due to the fact that the scale has been a big fat JERK to me lately…ha!
I believe that our health is the most precious gift we have. Health is what I call a force multiplier. This is just a fancy-pants way of saying that being in good health makes every other part of our lives more enjoyable.
On the flip side, bad health can make even the simplest tasks seem very difficult and/or painful.
Health is worth even more than riches, in my humble opinion. Just ask any wealthy person confined to a hospital bed. I guarantee they would trade some (if not all) of that wealth for their health!
This is why I believe that taking that extra bit of intention and proactiveness when it comes to your health is so important!
Beauty Product Safety: Who’s Looking Out For Us?
One of the things I have been making an effort to do is to clean up the products I use.
I want you to think for a second. How many products have you applied to your skin in the last 24 hours? Moisturizer, eye cream, deodorant, body wash, shave gel, primer, foundation, eye shadow, blush, eyeliners, lip products, lotions, hand cream, foot cream, etc.
According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the federal Food and Drug Administration, “…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” (FDA 2012) The FDA does no systematic reviews of safety, instead authorizing the cosmetics industry to self-police ingredient safety through its Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel.
This raises all kinds of red flags to me! So let me make sure I’ve got this right: the people selling me the products are the ones responsible for policing its safety!? Not cool.
And I am sorry to tell you that it gets worse. Also, according to the Environmental Working Group, an independent group dedicated to safe product information and research:
“Personal care products are manufactured with 10,500 unique chemical ingredients, some of which are known or suspected carcinogens, toxic to the reproductive system or known to disrupt the endocrine system. Though some companies make products that are safe to eat, others choose to use dangerous ingredients like coal tar and formaldehyde, both human carcinogens, and lead acetate, a developmental toxin.”
My point in raising this issue is not to throw you into a panic. It is simply to raise some awareness. And to let you know that as far as the safety of our beauty products go, it is a proverbial fox-guarding-the-henhouse-type-situation.
How to Know if Your Products Are Safe
Overhauling your personal and beauty products is not easy. Speaking from experience, I still have a long way to go. Many of the products I have used for years are on the naughty list.
But I’ve got good news! There is a free resource to help guide you: The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. This has been a HUGE help to me.
I will say that not every product that I have searched for has been listed here. But I will say most major brands are in here.
Also they give some general tips for ingredients to avoid. This is helpful particularly if the brand you are wanting information on is not in the database.
Once you find a product, EWG has a profile with each ingredient broken down, including what potential problems each ingredient may cause (cancer, reproductive issues, allergies, etc.)
The database reviews products on safety alone. It is up to you to try them and see if you like their effectiveness or not. That requires work. But I believe it is worth the time, effort and attention.
So questions for you:
- Have you ever tried to clean up your beauty products?
- Do you know of any other resources besides EWG that would help?
- Do you have any favorite brands?
Leave me a comment, and let me know what you think!