Many of us think about “greening up” when it comes to our homes, our vehicles and other areas of our lives, but we often forget about one of the most important things: our beauty regime. You might think, “Well, I only use a small amount of beauty products each day,” but the problem is, what we put on our skin accumulates in the body over time. And, unlike foods, things like cosmetics aren’t filtered through the digestive system which means there’s no way for potential toxins to be eliminated.
Plus, there are parabens, a group of compounds used as preservatives in products like lotion, cream and other cosmetics and personal care items, including deodorants. Parabens have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors, which means your traditional beauty products may contain ingredients that have been associated with breast cancer. Researchers have also discovered more than a dozen chemicals in cosmetics linked to potential health issues like hormone disruption in teen girls and even cancer.
There is quite a long list of reasons to forego those chemical-filled products and go green, and these six products can help you do just that.
Switch your usual deodorant to Primal Pit Paste Deodorant
About 95% of Americans use deodorant today in a bid to smell fresher and adhere to social norms, but in the process they often subject themselves to all sorts of unwanted side effects, thanks to the host of chemicals and other ingredients they contain. Just one of the problems with conventional deodorant is the antibacterial agent known as triclosan. It’s commonly found in deodorants as well as some soaps and other personal care products, but it’s been flagged s a risk to the environment, and to humans.
Studies have found that triclosan alters hormone regulation and contributes to the global problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Other research has found a connection between triclosan and weight gain, the inflammatory response, allergies and thyroid dysfunction. Plus, the aluminum compounds commonly found in deodorant to block sweat ducts, have been revealed to mimic estrogen, which can promote the growth of breast cancer cells. Conventional deodorants often contain parabens as well, which as noted previously, have been linked to breast cancer.
So what can you do if you don’t want to sweat profusely and smell bad? Look for a deodorant without these potentially harmful ingredients, like Primal Paste Deodorant. Available on Amazon, it’s an effective organic deodorant made from all natural ingredients and contains no parabens, no aluminum, and no toxic chemicals. Instead, it uses baking soda to neutralize bacteria that causes odor, while organic arrowroot powder helps you to stay dry. While you might think an all natural deodorant would be pricey, this one currently sells for less than $9.
Switch up your moisturizing cream for S.W. Basics Cream
As assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Francesca J. Fusco, M.D. told CNN Health, “Your skin is designed to protect you from countless insults: from air pollution to murky lake water, from dirty gasoline-pump handles to staph. Skin cells provide a physical barrier, sort of like bricks and mortar, to keep the bad stuff out — most of the time. The cells aren’t as tightly packed as real bricks, though, which means things can squeeze by and penetrate.”
While that’s not bad news if you want an anti-aging cream to tackle those crow’s feet, the problem is that potent chemicals can not only cause an allergic reaction, but they may dangerously flood the bloodstream.
Conventional creams often contain alkyloamides used as emulsifiers, emollients, and thickening agents, like DEA, TEA or MEA. They’re made by using fatty acids as the starting materials, and while they aren’t considered toxic themselves, they can become contaminated with nitrosamines which are considered cancer causing. They may also contain ceteareths which are potentially contaminated with compounds linked to cancer and other serious health concerns, along with a host of other potentially harmful chemicals.
S.W. Basics Cream offers the opportunity to green up your typical beauty cream. It contains 60% organic shea butter, which is pretty much unheard of – most manufacturers will tout a 10% shea butter content. It’s not only Fair Trade, which means that farmers and other workers involved have been paid a fair price and labored in safe conditions, and working families are able to keep their gets in school while the money earned is cycled back into the local economy, but it contains just three ingredients: the shea butter mentioned as well as organic olive oil and organic coconut oil. It contains no animal products, so it’s vegan-friendly too. While it is a bit pricey, a little tends to go a long way, so overall, it’s a great value.
Switch out toxic lipstick for Mineral Fusions Lead-Free Natural Lipstick
When researchers from University of California, Berkeley tested 32 lipsticks and lip glosses commonly found in drugstores and department stores in price ranges from $5 to $24, they discovered concerning levels of nine heavy metals, including lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five others.
While lipstick is obviously not meant to be consumed, it’s often ingested over the course of the day simply because it’s used on the lips, which means the toxic impact is much greater as compared to cosmetics absorbed by the skin. The Berkeley scientists determined that the average lipstick-wearing woman ingests about 24 milligrams of product a day and women that frequently apply it could be consuming as much as 87 milligrams every day.
Lead study investigator S. Katharine Hammond noted that “just finding these metals isn’t the issue; it’s the levels that matter. Some of the toxic metals are occurring at levels that could possibly have an effect in the long term.”
While the researchers found lead in 24 products, the concentration was reported to be “generally lower than the acceptable daily intake level.” Still, they note that there are concerns over young children being exposed as they sometimes play with makeup, and no level of lead exposure is safe for them.
The accumulation of heavy metals in the body in general, have the potential to impact the liver, lungs and cardiovascular system, and certain substances have even been linked to cancer, like cadmium and arsenic.
Instead of ingesting these heavy metals, use a lead-free, heavy metal-free non-toxic lipstick like Mineral Fusion. Available on Amazon for under $15, it’s not only free of heavy metals, but it’s paraben free, hypo-allergenic, phthalate free, 100% vegan and contains no artificial colors. It also boasts antioxidants to help protect the lips, including vitamin C and E, while jojoba oil and shea butter hydrate and condition for softer, more supple lips.
Switch up your eye cream for Skin Owl – Organic Eye+
Many women use eye cream in hopes of firming up the skin around the eyes, preventing that fatigued, puffy look, but in the process, they get a host of harsh chemicals, including phthalates. Phthalates, which belong to a family of industrial chemicals used to soften PVC plastic and as solvents in cosmetics and other products have been known to damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, particularly developing testes.
As Health Care Without Harm reports, these chemicals have been linked to birth defects and “do not belong in products marketed to women of childbearing age.” Phthalates, a family of industrial chemicals have been linked to permanent birth defects in the male reproductive system. A 2002 test found phthalates in nearly three-quarters of the 72 products tested, with major loopholes in federal law allowing the cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of phthalates into many personal care products with no required testing, no required monitoring of health effects, and no required labeling.
Skin Owl – Organic Eye+ is an eye cream recommended by the founder of ILIA Beauty, Sasha Plavsic, and comes without sulfates, parabens or phthalates. It includes ingredients like aloe vera and cucumber, well known for its skin softening and soothing attributes as well as reducing puffiness around the eyes to help skin look more youthful, as well as hyaluronic acid, a natural compound found in the skin, used to lock moisture into skin cells, boost collagen and plump up wrinkles and fine lines, while forming a protective barrier against harmful pollutants. It sells on Amazon currently, and a number of user reviews claim that it “works miracles.”
Switch your chemical sunscreen for Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen
Chemical sunscreens contain synthetic ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are absorbed into the skin to filter and absorb UV rays, effectively protecting deeper layers of skin. As it’s absorbed, chemical sunscreen can lead to skin irritation and a host of adverse reactions. Those ingredients can also generate cell-damaging free radicals when exposed to the sun, which leads to premature aging of the skin and multiple other issues. Experts also believe that oxybenzone may disrupt hormones, by either blocking, altering or mimicking them. That can throw off your endocrine system – and, frighteningly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 97 percent of Americans have this very chemical circulating around in our bodies as it accumulates faster than the body can get rid of it.
Octinoxate, another one of the most common ingredients in sunscreens with an SPF, is readily absorbed by the skin and also aids other ingredients to be absorbed more easily. This ingredient is also known to cause hormone disruption, affecting estrogen levels, which is harmful for not only humans, but for wildlife that may come in contact with it after it seeps into the water system. As mentioned, octinoxate may actually be a factor in premature aging, as it produces free radicals known to cause damage to the body’s cells and skin.
Sunscreens often contain parabens too, which as noted, are associated with acute as well as chronic side effects like allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and reproductive toxicity, and they may also be contributing to the rising incidence of breast cancer.
When The Environmental Working Group published its latest guide to sunscreens, they revealed that over 75% of the sunscreens tested contained toxic chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer and other health problems.
Instead of using a toxic sunscreen, consider switching to a product like Suntegrity’s Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen. It’s not only long-wearing and comes tinted in a variety of shades, but it was featured in the “Best Sunscreens” category in the 2012 EWG Sunscreen Guide, and is totally chemical free. 100% vegan, its active ingredient is non-nano size zinc oxide, and it serves as a foundation, moisturizer, and SPF 30 sunscreen.
Switch your skin lightening product for LumiEssence Organic Advanced Skin Brightening/Whitening Repair Treatment
Skin lighteners are used to reduce the appearance of age spots, also known as dark or brown spots, as well as freckles and other darkened areas of the skin. Unfortunately, many conventional products aimed to lighten the skin contain BHA (butylated hydroxianisole) and/or BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). Animals studies have found both BHT and BHA to cause depression of growth rate, metabolic stress, liver damage, fetal abnormalities and baldness. They’re also suspected to be linked to behavioral disturbances and hyperactivity in children.
BHT is also a suspected human carcinogen, according to the National Toxicology Program. In studies, animals who were exposed to the chemical developed liver damage and stomach cancer, as well as problems with reproductive organs and their thyroid.
Instead try LumiEssence Organic Advanced Skin Brightening/Whitening Repair Treatment. It’s totally free of any toxic ingredients, containing botanical extracts to address issues like age spots, freckles, sun spots, hyperpigmentation and even fine lines and wrinkles. Papaya and pineapple extracts, for example, help to exfoliate the skin to reduce the size and color intensity of dark spots while also helping to brighten and even skin tone over time.