Our skin is our largest organ and much of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. So much like the food we eat, our personal care products affect our overall health and well-being. There are many ingredients such as parabens, PEGs, lead, and BPA that have been in the news and have been found to have significant negative impact on our health. The impact of pesticides and chemicals used in growing our food has gained national attention, and through advocacy efforts of many, we are now able to find safer alternatives in organically grown food.
The next movement of knowledge and research focuses on Environmental Health. This is the area where we consider our indoor environments and the synthetic chemicals we come into contact with every day. Synthetic chemicals have no regulation by the FDA and are typically not tested for safety before launched into the market. To date, the EU law bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. In comparison, the U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics.
An example of a synthetic chemical would be an endocrine disruptor. The endocrine system involves hormones, which are signaling molecules that the body uses to maintain body temperature, metabolism salt, sugar, and sex. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are synthetic chemicals that scramble the endocrine signals and contribute to disease and disability.
Around the eyes, we are concerned with chemicals that cause irritation, inflammation, and damage to the oil-secreting glands in the eyelids (meibomian glands). Chemicals that release formaldehyde cause sensitivity reactions, and are commonly found in mascaras. This can lead to irritation, burning, and damage to the meibomian glands.
Retinols around the eye also may damage the meibomian glands and cause dryness, irritation, or redness of the delicate skin surrounding the eye. Parabens found in many makeup products, lotions, shampoos, shaving creams, and tanning products are easily absorbed through the skin and transmitted to the bloodstream. They prohibit the meibomian glands on the eyelid from secreting and are known endocrine disruptors. These are just a few of the many examples of synthetic chemicals that affect our eyes and tear film
Choose Cleaner and Safer: Fortunately, just like in the food industry, there are now safer alternatives for our personal care products that are also high performing. While there are more brands emerging on the market, I have aligned with Beautycounter for several reasons: