Years ago, I used to love to read fashion and beauty magazines for beauty and skin care tips.
I would devour information on the benefits of numerous hair and skin care products, and
naively believe the amazing claims and promises and run out to buy them at my
local drugstore or at my favorite department store’s beauty counter.
Our bathroom cabinets, linen closets and bedroom dressers were jammed with dozens of
bottles, tubes and jars of old–used and unused–cosmetics and personal care products.
And I was always trying new ones, which were crammed into whatever empty space I
Once I got my new miracle wrinkle cream or thicker, shinier hair shampoo home, I couldn’t
wait to start using it.
I would slather on the magic cream and eagerly await the advertised transformation!
Of course, I rarely witnessed the promised results.
But that didn’t stop me.
I just went out and tried some other brand.
In those days, I never read ingredient labels and I was totally unaware of the potential health
hazards associated with some of the ingredients in my sweet-smelling lotions and potions.
Then I began to read about some of the health and environmental problems associated with
certain chemicals in the personal care products I used and I started doing more research.
Fortunately, I discovered the Environmental Working Group and their comprehensive Skin Deep
Database, and I am so glad I did.
They are an indispensable resource–and one that everyone should refer to before buying personal
Knowledge is power–if we use it!
Cosmetics are the main cause of fragrance allergies, deodorants account for 25 percent and scented
lotions account for 24.4 percent.
If you suffer from allergies or skin irritation, cutting out allergen-containing personal care products
Fragrance is noted as a common allergen in several products listed in the database, so opting for
fragrance-free lotions and washes can reduce irritation for those with sensitive skin.
The Skin Deep Database breaks down each ingredient and the harmful effects they can have, including
cancer risk, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and allergens.
If the shampoo, lotion, deodorant or daily moisturizer you slather on your face doesn’t cause any
irritation, it may not occur to you to consult the Skin Deep Database, but some products can damage
the environment, not just your health.
Some ingredients, such as palm oil, are touted as great for the skin, but cause environmental problems.
The increased demand for palm oil has caused deforestation in countries including Indonesia and Malaysia.
If you must have it, look for companies that produce palm oil sustainably, or for a similar alternative,
such as coconut oil.
Concerned about avoiding products that are tested on animals?
The Skin Deep Database also indicates if products are tested on animals.
Even if the company doesn’t test on animals, the ingredients themselves could be.
What NOT to Buy at the Drugstore!
Become a label detective!
The infographic below illustrates six of the key toxic ingredients to avoid when shopping
for personal care products.
Check the label and put that product back on the shelf if you see any of these ingredients.
Opt for fragrance-free products with fewer ingredients to avoid harsh chemicals or make
in your kitchen.
How do you decide what personal care products to buy or to avoid?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
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