Fact: Many cosmetic substances are also used in industrial manufacturing processes to clean industrial equipment, stabilize pesticides and grease gears. I’m sure we can all agree that an ingredient that effectively scours a garage floor may not be the best choice for a facial cleanser.
The cosmetic industry uses thousands of synthetic chemicals in it’s products, in everything from lipstick and lotion to shampoo and shaving cream. It’s hard to wrap your head around, I know. To help you out, here are some common ingredients found in lots of seemingly harmless, every day, beauty products.
A group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in cosmetics like nail polish and in synthetic fragrance.
Used in antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes to limit the growth of bacteria and mold. The chemical, which is classified as a pesticide, can affect the body’s hormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development. Widespread use of triclosan may also contribute to bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents.
A group of compounds widely used as an antifungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants. They are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors.
Many contain chemicals that exert significant estrogenic activity, as measured by the increase in proliferation rates of human breast cancer cells in vitro. Studies show these chemicals are accumulating in both wildlife and humans.
—This info provided by the breastcancerfund.org
Please don’t feel defeated. Education and knowledge are crucial for understanding the effects of many modern day lifestyle practices, such as your beauty routine. Don’t worry – there’s lots of alternatives out there, plus super cool DIY recipes for homemade lotions, toothpaste and deodorant.
Gillian Deacon, breast cancer survivor and author of, There’s Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Our Everyday Body Care and How to Avoid Them, answers some safe alternative questions for us:
Q. Which mascara is eco-friendly?
Gillian: I love Lavera mascara for everyday. For a more va-va-voom evening look, I use Gabriel. They are both made with plant-based ingredients. I have more suggestions and details in the “Eyes” chapter of my book.
Q. Is there safe nail polish out there?
Gillian: I love No Miss nail polish. There is also Priti, as well as a few other safe options for nail colour.
When I treat myself to a pedicure, I bring my own polish!
Q. What about hair dyes?
Gillian: It takes harsh and unfortunately toxic chemicals to change the colour of human hair. The exception to that rule is henna. Coverage won’t last as long as permanent dye but it’s a much safer, all natural option.
I hope this helps open your eyes to more healthful alternatives out there. Please share your favourite natural and DIY (Do It Yourself) beauty products.