HEALTH & WELLNESS

Are your Beauty Products Toxic?

by Sofia Beg

Did you know that the average woman uses anywhere from 12 to 18 beauty products in just one day? That is close to 200 chemicals that are being absorbed into the body daily. While it is true that most chemicals in cosmetics do not cause any harm, there are a select few that do. These chemicals include formaldehyde, parabens, and heavy metals. It is still unknown how these harmful chemicals interact with the body once they are absorbed by the skin. But we do know that in even in low doses these chemicals are linked to cancer and reproductive and developmental harm. The United States is behind other countries when it comes to regulating beauty products because the FDA has limited authority in the beauty industry. Testing of ingredients and products are left up to the manufacturers and the FDA basically takes their word for it. There is no approval process before beauty products are sold to us consumers so you never know if the products are truly safe. Scary, right? 

So what are these chemicals?

One of the most common ingredients is “fragrance”. The problem with this ingredient is that manufacturers do not need to disclose what it is composed of. It could be a combination of harmful chemicals but the FDA allows manufacturers to list it under the broad term in order to protect the trade secrets of their products. It is in almost everything but is known to cause cancer, respiratory problems, and can be harmful to the brain. (Here at Luxury by Sofia, we use only natural essential oils to add beautiful, natural, and pleasing scents to our products.)

Other toxic chemicals found were:

Formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. These can be found in hair straighteners, nail hardeners, and preservatives.
Phthalates- Linked to abnormal reproductive development in fetuses
Mercury- Can still be found in mascara (FDA and EU guidelines still allow there to be a tiny bit in mascara)
Parabens- Mimic estrogen and disrupt hormone function
Asbestos- A carcinogen found in powders with talc
Lead- A neurotoxin.
Mercury- Can damage the kidney and nervous system. 

So what can we do?

Start with switching out your products one by one to clean alternatives. A good place to start is with body lotion or body wash. These products are used all over your body which means that more of it is absorbed. If you pick clean alternatives you can lower your toxin load.

One thing you must be aware of is something called “greenwashing”. Since there are no real guidelines and regulations, many brands will label their products as “eco-friendly” or “non-toxic” as a way of fooling consumers into believing it is better. If you are to turn the bottle around and look at the ingredients, you will most likely find some of the same harmful ingredients that are found in conventional products. This is why learning to read labels can be very helpful. If you know what to look for, you can avoid it. Look for beauty products such as makeup, hair products, body wash, soap, and shampoo that have the EWG seal of approval. The EWG has a great database where you can search for products that are non-toxic.

Avoid any products with the word “fragrance” in it and look for organic and clean beauty brands. There are so many clean beauty brands out there now. Luxury by Sofia products are organic, natural, cruelty-free, vegan. They are a wonderful alternative to traditional toxic products and are great for your body and skin. 

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