With Earth Day around the corner—April 22—it’s a great time to think about the products we use and how it affects both our health and our planet. Many beauty and health products, like deodorants, toothpastes, and sunscreens sometimes contain ingredients that may do more harm than good. It’s important to not only look at brands, but also the main ingredients that go into the products. Since these products are directly applied to our skin, and the chemicals go directly into our bloodstream, it’s essential to know the science behind the formulations.
1. Deodorants + Antiperspirants
Deodorants also often contain harmful parabens, along with aluminum, which can mess with our hormones. Luckily, there are now other options that don’t include these ingredients. Our underarms are especially prone to absorbing harmful chemicals, so it’s essential to read the labels.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a very common ingredient found in shampoos, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally safe. In fact, it’s often one of the very first ingredients listed, meaning it’s highly concentrated in the product. The chemical, along with harsh fragrances and parabens, can do more harm than good. It can actually contribute to scalp issues and overly oily hair. So, when shopping for shampoos, it’s important to look for plant-based ingredients.
3. Facial cleansers
Sometimes cleansers can backfire and cause irritation, dryness, and acne, due to their ingredients. Even worse, it can contribute to groundwater pollution and can go undetected in filters for drinking water. Face washes that are especially foamy are likely to contain sodium lauryl sulfate, just like in foamy shampoos. It can overly strip the oil from your skin, disrupting with your natural oil production. Many cleansers also include too many harsh fragrances. And while it’s nice to smell fresh after washing, these fragrances can often increase your chances of skin irritation.
4. Skin creams
There are hundreds of skin creams out there, all with different chemical makeups. Unfortunately, the FDA has found that many creams contain toxic chemicals like mercury and other heavy metals. So far, no American-made creams have been found to contain mercury, but other creams imported from China, India, and Mexico are guilty of including mercury. We’re always curious about beauty products from other countries, but this is one chemical to be especially cautious of using.
Many toothpastes are full of chemicals that truly aren’t necessary for healthy teeth. Parabens are man-made chemical preservatives and cost-effective for manufacturers, but also have been shown to lead to serious health problems, most notably on the endocrine system.
Sunscreens are essential to healthy, glowing skin and preventing early aging and skin cancer. However, many sunscreens contain ingredients like oxybenzone and camphor, which are thought to have negative effects on our hormones. Oxybenzone has also been associated with allergies, the ability to attack DNA cells, and even the risk of Melanoma. It also stays in the body longer than many other chemicals, meaning it can continue working against our body long after application. Mineral formulations, rather than chemical formulations, should be your preferred choice.
For a long time, lipstick ingredients have been examined and thought to be potentially harmful. The FDA has actually tested lipsticks and found that 100% of lipsticks contain high amounts of lead. Lead on our lips doesn’t seem appealing, and it can actually have dangerous health effects. The good news is that there are more and more DYI lip balms and glosses that contain simple, natural ingredients. Check out our cranberry coconut oil lip balm that’s not only made from only five natural ingredients, it also looks great on anyone.
8. Nail polishes
Nail polishes are notorious for including formaldehyde, along with other dangerous chemicals that aren’t necessary for pretty nails. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency actually classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen that can possibly increase your chances of developing certain cancers. Breathing in this chemical is proven toxic, and as we girls who love our polish know, painting our nails can smell harsh—a sign that it may not be so good for our health.1