OK guys, this is kind of a scary topic, largely because most people aren’t aware of what I’m about to tell you. “The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, except for color additives, to be approved by FDA before they go on the market” (FDA, 2018). I didn’t just make that up, I literally copy and pasted it directly from the FDA website!
There is actually very little oversight in the skincare product industry. Here’s where it gets a little scarier. Did you know some skincare products actually penetrate the dermis and cause problems for our bodies? These companies don’t even have the legal obligation to disclose the ingredients they are using! They can create a product but they have no obligation to tell you what chemicals they use to create it! It’s technically considered a “trade secret.” The United States has only banned 30 ingredients whereas Europe has banned over 1000 ingredients that have been linked to numerous health problems.
Obviously deciphering product labels isn’t the easiest process. You aren’t going to find the words toxin or harmful chemical on the product label. To help with the product label reading process here is “The Never List” from Beautycounter. It is a list of ingredients to avoid in your skincare products.
It can be overwhelming to study this exhaustive list. There are a lot of words listed here that are hard to pronounce and it looks a little scary! So, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has taken the guess work out of label reading. This non-profit, non-partisan organization is committed to researching numerous ingredients to determine their safety for humans. Search nearly 70,000 products at https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to get a product ingredient rating.
Each product receives a rating:
I lost points on most of these because of fragrance but the sunscreen was especially concerning. I was specifically using it to avoid skin cancer but some of the chemicals in it actually cause other kinds of cancer! WHAT THE WHAT!!! That makes me a little grouchy….
Here’s some better options:
There are tons of safer options out there, it’s just a little more work to find them. Feel free to reach out to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions! It can definitely be super confusing but together we can find safer skincare options!
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Industry – Small Businesses & Homemade Cosmetics: Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/resourcesforyou/industry/ucm388736.htm#1