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Is your skincare good for you?

Eating healthy, organic food has become one of the most important ways we take care of bodies. But think of this: Our skin is our largest organ. Shouldn’t we be careful about what we feed it as well?


New skincare lines contact us all the time, hoping to earn a spot on one of our shelves. How do we decide? Well, it certainly isn't easy. We want clean products but we also want them to be effective. We spend a lot of time testing out and researching skincare! One of the biggest things we do is review a product's ingredients.


There are extensive lists of 'dirty' ingredients on the internet. But how accurate are they? Who created the list? For example, some ingredients are only dirty if they are used in a certain molecular state. But most of the ingredient sites and apps out there don't take that and other aspects into account when rating products (likely because a computer algorithm is rating the product, not a human).


Another example, is when the term 'fragrance' is listed as an ingredient. Companies are allowed by law to protect their scent formulations. However, because of this, it opens the door for hiding chemicals that consumers wouldn't want to see in their skincare. Choosing a brand that has a good reputation as a clean skincare brand minimizes this risk.

We've learned its best to review and research individual ingredients, not the skincare product as a whole. So where do we start?

There are some basic 'always bad' ingredients, like xenoestreogens, which can cause hormone dysfunction such as: Thyroid issues & disease Earlier puberty in children Endometriosis Fibrocystic breast tissue Decreased testosterone in men Increase in breast and uterine cancers

The following is a list of ingredients that we don't ever like seeing in skincare. Check it out! If you find any of these in your skincare, let us know! We can help you find a clean alternative.

  1. Xenoestreogens: A particularly harmful type of chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system. These chemicals mimic the effects of the estrogen our body produces naturally and binds to estrogen receptors which can then block hormones from being released properly.

  2. Benzalkonium Chloride: A disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies. Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers.

  3. Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene; Synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.

  4. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): A chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.

  5. Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA): Surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.

  6. Formaldehyde: Used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where hydantoin, diazolidinyl hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2- nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

  7. Hydroquinone: A skin-lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation. Found in: skin-lightening creams.

  8. Methylisothiazolinone/methylchloroi sothiazolinone: Chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers, and causes of contact skin allergies. Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash. Oxybenzone: Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. Found in: sunscreen, moisturizer.

  9. Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others): A class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.

  10. Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.

  11. Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers.

  12. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): Surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

  13. Synthetic flavor or fragrance: An engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics. *A note about fragrance. Many times in clean skincare products the ingredients included as 'fragrance' are not dirty, but because the brand is trying to protect their formulation from being copied, they do not list them out. When we come across this in our research, we reach out to the brand for details to confirm the ingredients are not on the dirty list!

  14. Toluene: A volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can cause birth defects.Found in: nail polish.

  15. Triclosan/Triclocarban: Antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste. Depending processes, contaminated amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4- dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.

  16. Retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate): Data from an FDA study indicate that retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may result in adverse health consequences like lesions and photosensitization.

Sources:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/21201-endocrine-system

https://lauraschoenfeldrd.com/xenoestrogens-in-skincare

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7010093/

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