Green Your Routine: Greening Your Personal Care Products
In our first installment of Green Your Routine, we tackled the hidden toxins in your bathroom cleaning products. This time, lets talk about the various products you are putting on your skin. Did you guys know that your skin is the largest and most absorbent organ in your body? Now, think about all of the products you put on your skin every day. Do you know exactly what that giant organ of yours is absorbing? Probably not. The truth is most drugstore brands are chock full of harmful chemicals. Some chemicals are known to cause allergies, developmental and reproductive issues or even some forms of cancer.
Now you might be wondering how can companies put known carcinogens in cosmetics? How is this allowed? The American Cancer Society had this to say, “Because human studies of the long-term effects of most cosmetics (except, perhaps, hair dyes) don’t exist, there is little evidence to suggest that using cosmetics, or being exposed to the ingredients in cosmetics during normal use of these products, increases cancer risk. Still, because there are no long-term studies, little is known about the health effects of long term exposure to many ingredients in cosmetics. This means that we cannot claim that these products will not cause health problems in some people.”
As far as being able to determine what chemicals are carcinogens, “It takes many years after exposure to the substance for cancer to occur. That means the studies would need to go on for at least 10 or 20 years to see if a certain substance or cosmetic caused cancer.”
Now the question becomes, do you want to take that unknown risk? We’re going to guess, probably not! First, lets start with some helpful tools that can demystify whether your current line up is safe or toxic.
Think Dirty APP– This smartphone app makes finding and evaluating any product easy. Think Dirty empowers and educates the consumer on the cosmetics industry by allowing them to make an informed decision on what products to purchase. This app allows you to scan any product’s barcode and will show you how it ranks according to 3 parameters: Carcinogenicity, Developmental and reproductive toxicity and allergies and immunotoxicity. The grading system is from 0 (clean) to 10 (dirty). Just scan one product you are currently using. It’s very eye opening.
EWG.org– EWG stands for the Environmental Working Group and this site is pretty much the holy grail of chemical transparency. Their consumer guides include cosmetic scores, food scores, seafood scores, sunscreen guides and a myriad of other searchable resources. There is also an app available for smartphones for easy reference while on the go. Their safety grading system is similar to Think Dirty and makes it easy for you to see which products are safe.
TheGoodTrade.com– Awesome site for organic and natural product recommendations.This site covers everything from makeup to skincare. they also have a directory where you can shop for items by brand. So cool!
Now that you have some tools handy, lets dig into you bathroom cabinet. Here are some areas you might want to reevaluate.
Whether it’s air fresheners, dry shampoos or hair sprays, aerosols are horrible for the environment. And you! Aerosols contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde. You know, the stuff used in embalming fluid. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and emit VOC into the air. It’s also extremely harmful to the ozone layer a has a profound effect on global warming progression. Swap out your aerosols for essential oils, clean burning candles or spritz containers for personal care products. Almost every company offers aerosol hairsprays in a spritz version.
Products with Micro beads
Did you know that those little exfoliators in your body wash are most likely made of micro plastics called micro beads? Micro beads can be found in products like body wash, exfoliating face scrubs and even toothpaste! Gross! These little beads are among the leading type of plastic founds in the ocean and in the bellies of fish and sea birds. They are wreaking havoc on the environment, so it’s definitely best to stay away. Opt for brands without exfoliators or those who use alternate sources. walnut or oatmeal shavings have been popular alternatives to micro beads and are bio degradable too! You’ll get a much better treatment without the bio hazard.
It’s call skincare, so why are cosmetic companies loading their skincare products with toxic chemicals? Your guess is as good as ours but that doesn’t mean you have to be a bystander. This is where Think Dirty and the EWG apps can really come in handy. Scan or check the ingredients list on your every day products to see their safety ratings. The general rule of thumb is this. if you can’t pronounce it, don’t use it.
We hope that you we were able to provide you with a good starting point to help you green your personal care products. Do you guys have any natural products that you’s like to suggest? Leave a comment below and tell us about it. Stay tuned for our next installment where we’ll talk about how to entertain your guests the eco-friendly way! See you soon!