One unfortunate reality of the beauty industry is that there is very little regulation over what can and cannot be used in skincare and makeup products.
The FDA has only banned approximately 30 ingredients while the European Union has banned over 1000 ingredients. This places a large responsibility on the consumer to make sure the products they are putting on their skin are safe and not full of chemicals. Everything you put on your skin is absorbed through your bloodstream so it’s vital that you avoid harmful ingredients whenever possible. It can become overwhelming trying to deal with all of the potentially harmful products that can be in shampoos, soaps, lotions, make up, etc. The average amount of products that women use daily is about 16 so there are many opportunities for exposure to the bad stuff.
There are a ton of ingredients to watch out for with different names and forms but there are a few general categories to be more aware of and to start avoiding.
Parabens are a common ingredient that you probably hear about frequently. Parabens are used mostly as a preservative that can cause issues with estrogen levels and are associated with different forms of cancers.
Synthetic colors are another harmful ingredient that might be a carcinogen and can cause many different issues.
Fragrance is another thing to be on the lookout for because it’s such a vague term that doesn’t have to be listed in detail and it’s found in just about everything.
In a perfect world you would obviously be able to eliminate all of these toxic ingredients but since that’s not quite realistic without going crazy, you can focus your attention to things that will have the largest impact. For example, products that you rub all over your body and don’t immediately wash off will be absorbed into your bloodstream all day long. Try to be extra diligent with lotions or anything you soak in for a prolonged period of time. You can be more relaxed on products that only come in contact with your skin in a small area or that aren’t used very frequently. 3
Making small changes and trying to simplify the number of products you are using on a daily basis is a great first step as you learn to identify harmful ingredients and how to eliminate them.