Did you know clean beauty is part of a healthy lifestyle? Using clean beauty products is a positive way to support your health and wellness.
The central mission of Ashley Logan Wellness is to help women feel better. I seek to inspire, educate, guide and help you on your health journey. To cultivate balance of mind, body and soul. I want to equip you with tools, tips, information and practices that best serve you. Beauty is no different than fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, career or relationships. It is linked to our wellness. The products we put on our skin directly affect our health.
Many additives in conventional beauty products disrupt hormone levels and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive issues. And, the regular use of chemical-laden products over time also damages the skin’s microflora which can lead to premature aging.
Our skin is the largest organ in the human body. What is slathered on it is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, for better or worse. Unfortunately, the beauty industry is self-governed and only held to its own internal standards. It’s important to do your homework. Read labels, check where products are manufactured and trust your gut. If you sense a product isn’t good for your health, then it most likely is not, by all means keep looking.
Here are 10 ingredients identified by globalhealing.com that should be avoided when buying skin care products. These ingredients are lab-manufactured and have been shown to be endocrine disrupters.
BHA & BHT
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are antioxidant preservatives added to beauty products. BHA is considered a likely carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). It is added to cosmetic products that contain fats and oils, especially lipstick and eyeshadow. Some companies are proactively removing BHA and BHT from their products.
Coal Tar and Coal Tar-Derived Colors
Coal tar is a made from burning bituminous coal and contains hundreds of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). It’s used in anti-dandruff shampoos, as well as in creams treating skin conditions like psoriasis. Studies found coal tar led to skin, lung and liver cancers as well as DNA mutations. Many hair dyes contain coal tar dyes, usually called D&C or FD&C followed by the color and a number, e.g., D&C Red 33). Avoid them.
Formaldehyde & Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Formaldehyde and its cousin formalin are found in nail polish, nail polish remover, eyelash glue, hair gel, soap and other products. There are also many formaldehyde-releasing preservatives – including DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate – in products, including baby shampoos.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) Compounds
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is used in cosmetics to create a cream base, and are used to thicken, soften or moisturize. PEG compounds are petroleum-based and include propylene glycol, polyethylene glycols, and polyoxyethylene. There’s some evidence that PEG compounds are harmful to DNA.
Hydroquinone is used to lighten skin pigmentation. Animal studies have found enough exposure can lead to tumor development, DNA mutations, and reduced fertility in males.
Sunscreens contain oxybenzone to absorb UV light. While the American Academy of Dermatology says oxybenzone is safe, the Environmental Working Group, an environmental nonprofit that publishes the Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, warns of moderate to high concern due to its endocrine-disrupting properties. Synonyms for oxybenzone include benzophenone and phenyl-methanone.
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal substance in many hand soaps and hand sanitizers, as well as deodorants, skin cleansers, and toothpaste. At very low doses, triclosan is an endocrine disruptor which can affect your thyroid and reproductive hormones.
Research indicates that parabens are endocrine disrupting chemicals that mimic estrogen and can lead to hormone imbalances in the body. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, the worst offenders are isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.
Fragrances are added to lotion, body wash, soap, and many beauty products. However, cosmetic companies don’t have to legally disclose which chemicals are in their fragrance because they are considered trade secrets. Fragrances and perfumes emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals, some of which have been linked to cancer.
A common ingredient in fragrances, phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that mimic human estrogen and cause hormone balance issues for both women and men. Several studies have found phthalates to be obesogens, chemicals that alter metabolism and result in weight gain. Phthalates have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
When choosing clean beauty products it is important to buy from a reputable brand that manufactures their products with the highest of standards. Not all clean beauty products are created equal and labelling can be misleading. A great place to start is your local Whole Foods Market or the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, where products are sourced to exclude many of the above additives.
Start small. Identify 1 or 2 products to swap out for clean alternatives. Start with the products you use over the majority of your body, like body wash, body oil or lotion. For example, start with your body wash, then swap out your body lotion and/or oil to organic versions. Next try swapping out your facial wash, then lip balm. Experiment with different brands, products and scents. Take advantage of free samples!
I suggest the 80/20 lens of change. Aim to swap out 80% of your products to clean brands over time and keep the most treasured conventional ones for the remaining 20%. For me, it is my mascara and tinted sunscreen. For you, it may be your eyeliner and favorite lip stick. This is not an all or nothing approach. This is not a call to dump out all your current products. This is a call for a slow, steady progression, a gradual transition to clean beauty products where you see fit.
You deserve to look and feel your best. And, clean beauty products will support your health and wellness goals.
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Ashley Logan is a Certified Integrative Health Coach, writer and workshop facilitator who helps women create actionable strategies that support physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness for optimal health.
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