We all know how important it is to put healthy foods in our bodies, but sometimes we forget about all of the lotions and potions we're putting on our skin every day. Shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, toothpaste, moisturizers, sun-screen, make-up and many other products play a huge role in our every day lives, so it is important to make sure you are getting the least toxic versions possible. However, when we stop and take a moment to think about all of the products that touch our skin day after day after day (especially for us gals) it can seem a little overwhelming to consider researching all of these products for safety and then having to find new, safer products to replace many of them. Let me introduce you to your new best friend, the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.
Here's a startling fact: the vast majority of ingredients in cosmetics and personal-care products are not reviewed for safety by regulatory agencies. And while the ingredients these companies use may not kill you out right (that would be bad for business), many have toxic effects that can build up over time. You may hear people say that the chemicals used in these products are in such small doses that they have no impact on human health. However, this doesn't hold up if you consider two factors: (1) the large number of these products people use and (2) the potential for toxin storage in our fat tissues. First of all, we aren't using just one or two of these products every once in a while. We're using several products every single say. I know I personally use around 15-25 different products from shower to out the door each day, including makeup. That's insane! Now let's consider where these toxins might go once they enter our bodies. Many toxins are stored in our fat cells and can build up over time. When you use something every day for years or even decades, the cumulative effect can be staggering.
Despite all this, you don't need to feel helpless when it comes to your self-care product. This is where the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database comes into play. All you do is enter a product, brand, or ingredient into the search bar and find what you're looking for in the results. Each product and ingredient is given a score for safety on a scale of 1 to 10. Scores from 0-2 indicate a low hazard, 3-6 indicate a moderate hazard, and 7-10 indicate a high hazard. Also, for each product, you can get a breakdown of the score for each ingredient, what effects that ingredient is associated with, and how strong the evidence is to support that rating. This is especially helpful because an ingredient may have a low score, but have little research backing it, meaning new research could later prove that ingredient to be harmful. In addition, you can pick a product category and peruse the rankings starting at scores of 0 (least toxic) if you're looking for something new to replace your old stuff.
Another great option is to make your own. For example I use coconut oil as a makeup remover and facial moisturizer. It works wonders, is totally non-toxic, and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin.
This is all great information, but how can you apply it to your everyday life? Don't worry, it's not as scary as it my seem. My best advice is to replace products as your run out. Getting low on shampoo? Search your current product on the database and find out its score. If you're not happy with the results, look into where you can get something safer. Before you know it, you'll have cleaned up your whole beauty routine. Lastly, don't be psychotic. This isn't about being perfect. Any improvement is better than no improvement.
What are your favorite non-toxic beauty products? What product are you struggling to find a safe replacement for?