I spend a ton of time (more than I care to admit) thinking about, preparing, chopping, cooking, and packing healthy meals almost everyday. Despite the fact that I use skincare products everyday, I haven’t put nearly as much time or attention into carefully selecting and purchasing these products as I do with food.
I’ll stand at Wegmans and read 4 nutrition labels for a pasta sauce, but I don’t even bother to look at the label of a lotion I’m going to slather all over my skin? Doesn’t really make sense, huh?
I’m embarrassed to admit that I only recently started taking a serious look at what skincare products I’m using, what’s in them, and which ones I can find that are healthier for my body. I have made the conscious decision to put more time and energy into what’s soaking into my largest organ: my skin. As you know, the point of this blog is to help busy professionals (like me!) maintain a healthy lifestyle despite a hectic schedule. So I’ve done the heavy lifting for you guys! You can thank me later…
Did you guys know in 2016 the global skincare market is expected to reach sales of nearly $11 billion?! The Nutrition Business Journal reports that the organic/natural skin care industry is just shy of $4 billion.
This prompted me to start a little series here on the blog. Today’s post is the first in that series: identifying what is in your skincare products. Next up, we’ll focus on a few easy swaps you can make, healthy, environmentally-friendly companies making great beauty products (thank goodness for Acure!), and which products are the most important to swap for a healthier alternative if you’re on a budget. Read on –>
Have you ever read the ingredient list on your skin, hair, nail, and bath products like you would the Nutrition Facts on a food you’re thinking about buying? I used to look at the label for some identifying factors, like “Dermatologist approved” or “oil free”, but that wasn’t putting in nearly the amount of effort I needed to.
If you do look at the labels of your beauty and bath products, what does it say? And what do all of those long, convoluted words mean? Why does the bottle say “All Natural” but you cannot pronounce or identify any of the ingredients?
Today I’m going to focus on the 3 biggest “offenders” found, and permitted, in beauty, bath and hair products that you can identify on your own:
Parabens are preservatives. Look for words ending in -paraben on the label. Although they are FDA approved, many physicians, scientists and skin care professionals are concerned that, due to the chemical structure of parabens, they can fit into estrogen receptors on the cellular level and disrupt the endocrine system. Although this is not evidence of causation, I’ve also read about studies where scientists found parabens in 99% of cancerous breast tissue. Until researchers no more, I’d prefer to steer clear of parabens.
Sulfates are detergents or foaming agents. Look for: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Myreth Sulfate in your products. When SLS is used in shampoos or other products with nitrogen-based ingredients, carcinogenic nitrates may form and enter the blood stream, causing eye irritations, skin rashes, allergic reactions. You may have heard of nitrates before when looking for hot dogs, bacon or lunch meat. On a more superficial note, SLS strips the skin of its moisture, so it doesn’t sound like a great beauty product to be using anyway.
Phthalates are chemical compounds used as a plasticizer – they change the product’s texture and quality. Look for words ending in -phthalate, as well as the terms “butyl ester” and “plasticizer”. Another potential estrogen disruptor, phthalates can cause reproductive problems – especially in men! Also, a University of Rochester Medical Center report like phthalates to obesity after researchers found a positive correlation with belly fat.
Aside from all of these, you also want to try to shy away from products containing a lot of artificial scents, colors and fragrances. Unfortunately, there are plenty more scary-sounding things found in our beauty products. Luckily, there are several companies (thanks Acure and Alaffia) whose products do not contain parabens, sulfates and phthalates.
These products are becoming more accessible everyday! I could write an entire post dedicated to my new-found love for Acure. I am on the fast track to trying out everything they make. (PS. 99% of the products Target carries for Acure are on sale right now!)
Do you guys read the labels of your beauty products? If you read them after reading this post, did you find out that some of your favorite products have one of these chemicals in them? Will you look for a healthier, cost-effective alternative?
Next Up: We will take a look at some healthier, greener swaps and replacements for your favorite beauty products, including my “worst offenders” list!