When we think of Earth Day our thoughts are usually directed towards an awareness in regards to how we can clean up our air, land and water. But have you ever stopped to think about the products that you are applying to your skin on a daily basis?
What we put on topically can get absorbed through the skin (hormone patches, hormone creams, nicotine patches). Think about what goes on or comes in contact with your skin everyday……shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, hair spray, body lotion, hand lotion, moisturizer, face wash, body wash, hand soap, laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, deodorant/antiperspirant, perfume, shave cream, aftershave, toothpaste, mouthwash (makeup: foundations, concealer, powders, lipstick, gloss, mascara, eye shadow, blush, eyeliner, liquid liner) and more! When it’s broken down to individual products there’s a lot of chemicals we’re exposed to. Some of the common ingredients of concern are sulfates, parabens, triclosan/triclocarban (anti-bacterial soap), petroleum, synthetic coloring, synthetic fragrance and chemicals found in sunscreens (oxybenzone).
Unfortunately the ingredients that go into cosmetics and toiletries are loosely regulated and you really have to be your own detective in regards to finding out what’s okay and what to avoid. The Environmental Working Group and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics have done lots of good detective work and are a good resource for finding products that are less toxic to your body and environment. If you’re a parent, be sure to check out your children’s products too.
Being in the skincare industry, I’ve noticed a lot of professional brands are taking notice and are listening to the demands of the consumer by replacing sulfates and parabens from their formulations. There are many other things they can exclude, but it’s baby steps in the right direction. The demand for cleaner products is a trend that’s not going to go away soon and there are many small professional product companies out there that are on the horizon creating “greener” formulations with great success.
As Earth Day approaches and your looking for ways to improve your environment, take time to check out your cosmetics and toiletries. Clean out drawers and cabinets of old products that are taking up useful space. If you haven’t used that bottle of SPF since last summer, it’s time to toss it even though it’s half full. It’s not worth the chance of getting a sunburn, plus it’s the perfect opportunity to replace it with a physical sunscreen ( zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) as opposed to a chemical sunscreen. It’s also a good idea to toss out any makeup that you haven’t used in a while to avoid any bacterial contamination that can spread into the skin and eyes. Check the condition of your cosmetic brushes and if they’re in good shape, give them a washing with a gentle shampoo. By replacing needed products with less toxic options, over time your environment and your health will have greatly benefited.
Environmental Working Group https://www.ewg.org
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics www.safecosmetics.org