Unveiling The Prevalence Of Hazardous Chemicals In Personal Care Products
Your health and personal care products go hand-in-hand. While it is counterintuitive, the unfortunate truth is that numerous personal care products, the very ones you rely on to nurture yourself, actually harbor harmful chemicals.
From soap to cosmetics, personal care products are used daily and applied to various parts of our bodies. It’s vital to realize that those containing chemicals are putting our health at risk. For example, many soaps and shampoos contain sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), which strip your hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Hair sprays commonly contain volatile organic compounds (VOCS), including formaldehyde or toluene, which can cause respiratory conditions and other illnesses. Styling gels and mousses often contain phthalates, which have been associated with hormone disruption and potential adverse effects on reproductive health. Researchers have found high levels of mercury in anti-aging creams. Chemicals in hair dyes and straighteners have been linked to uterine and breast cancer. Even fragrances, which many people think of as harmless, are considered endocrine disruptors and can lead to infertility and hormonal issues.
If you just take a moment to examine the ingredients listed on most conventional personal care products, you will likely discover chemicals you would want to avoid introducing into your body. What you apply on your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream; this highlights the importance of being mindful about the substances you expose yourself to.
Don’t Be Fooled by Labels!
Did you know that personal care products are seriously under regulated? Companies are quick to label their products with green-washing phrases such as “naturally derived”, “nontoxic” and “clean”, making their products seem safe and even healthy. Sadly, these terms are just used for the purpose of marketing, and don’t reflect the quality of ingredients in a product.
Take Steps to Choose Non-Toxic Personal Care Products
It can be overwhelming to overhaul your personal care routine. A good first step is to think about which products you use most frequently (high exposure). Look at the ingredients list and determine if there are any harmful chemicals. These are the products that you will want to switch out for products made with natural ingredients.
If you need some guidance, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) can be a helpful resource for assessing the safety of personal care products. EWG features a database called Skin Deep, which provides information and ratings on a wide range of personal care products, evaluating their potential health hazards based on the ingredients they contain. *Note that you will be able to find most larger brands in the database. The downside of EWG is that it is a challenging process and also high cost, making it near impossible for smaller brands to be listed*. You will see a hazard score assigned to each individual ingredient, which they will combine to calculate an overall product score. In the EWG system, the higher the score, the higher the potential concern for adverse health effects. The good news is that if you are unable to find a specific product in their database, you can type in individual ingredients to learn their scores and any associated health concerns.
Edye likes the EWG as a resource, yet they were challenging to work with when trying to get Edye's Naturals up on the website. EWG rated our products a 1, which is the best score, but we are not on the site due to challenges in providing additional information (which they couldn't guide us on how to obtain). The high cost is also prohibitive for smaller businesses.
Make informed choices and select personal care products that don’t compromise your health. At Edye’s Naturals we are passionate about being transparent about our ingredients. We use a blend of plant-based oils, which are synergistically formulated to repair your skin organically. You can read all about our hand-selected ingredients here.
As you work towards lowering your chemical exposure and are looking for new personal care products, be sure to keep local businesses in mind. Supporting local brands that use natural ingredients helps create a healthier community and promote sustainability.