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:
First of all, Beautycounter has committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States. The Never List TM is made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, plus additional chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern.
While all of their ingredients are sourced with a higher standard of safety and quality in mind, it is well recognized – and accepted by regulatory authorities around the world – that incidental, trace levels of a chemical may inadvertently be introduced in a cosmetic product due to the complexities of the supply chain and manufacturing process. At Beautycounter, they work incredibly hard to minimize – but unfortunately can’t eliminate – the potential that a product may contain trace levels of a chemical from The Never List™.
Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals – whether its in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.
There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skincare and beauty industry.
What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) does not have the authority to remove harmful ingredients from the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day.
The U.S. has not passed a major federal law governing the cosmetics industry since 1938. Changing the beauty industry means more than simply making safer products. Beautycounter is proud to be the leading company advocating for more health-protective legislation across North America.
Follow information about Beautycounter and how they are furthering the cause, and educating the public on their blog: blog.beautycounter.com
- Moving to more glass packaging: eliminating over one million plastic components
- Partnering with factories closer to home in Mexico to manufacture our glass items rather than in Europe or Asia. This will save over 5,000 miles of travel, reducing fuel and related emissions from transporting across the ocean.
- Enhancing the design allowing us to remove non-essential parts like overcaps, liners, and spatulas, which ultimately eliminates 800,000 plastic parts.
- Removing secondary packaging where possible to reduce waste.