Ingredients in Body Care
Toothpaste. Soap. Lotion. Shampoo. Conditioner. Deodorant. Perfume or cologne. Make up. Sunscreen. The list is long, and more often than not, we don’t stop to think about their ingredients and the effects those ingredients have on our body—because it’s a routine that we just do.
Your skin is your largest organ, and it allows everything you put on it to make its way INTO your body transdermally (through the skin). This means that all those ingredients have the opportunity to enter your bloodstream and start a party conga-line through your whole body, sometimes passing through urine and breast milk, and sometimes taking root and changing your physiology.
Fact: Skin care affects your body in a number of ways, some even harmful.
Toxic Ingredients to Avoid
Take parabens, for example. You’ll find this ingredient in many hair and skin care products—but it is known to mimic estrogen; once you’ve applied it to your skin and it travels into the bloodstream, your body can think there is a high amount of true estrogen and potentially react in a variety of ways, including weight gain, loss of muscle mass, hair loss, early onset of puberty, and reproductive difficulty to name a few possible symptoms.
Another example: Oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate have been shown to bioaccumulate in the human body. In fact, oxybenzone was detected in five out of six samples of mother’s milk.
Unfortunately, those are just a few examples. An average of seven new industrial chemicals get approved by the FDA daily, and it’s estimated that 80% of these are approved in three weeks or less with little or no safety testing. It is no secret that there are a number of FDA approved ingredients that are linked to cancer, hormone imbalances, cellular damage and more.
They can disrupt the body’s natural functions. That’s not cool in my books!
Understanding Body Care and Cosmetic Labels
What’s more, the cosmetic industry is required to use the FDA’s ingredient name convention guidelines, but that is often not regulated so reading and understanding ingredients is even harder. Many ingredients are spelled and labeled differently in different products. In other cases, chemicals that go into making a “fragrance” are considered “trade secrets” and don’t have to be listed on the label at all. In one study by the EWG, phthalates (a known toxin) were found in 75% of all products, but were not listed on the label because it was an ingredient used in the making of the “fragrance.”
Admittedly, choosing EcoConsciously body and sun care products is hard when you’re faced with hidden chemicals and approved ingredients that have not been tested for safety—or worse—are known to have negative effects on the body. Yet those are two of the biggest reasons I can think of to be even more determined to make conscious decisions about what I put on my body. If we can spend almost ten minutes trying to decide what Netflix series to binge out on next, I’m pretty sure we can all can take some time to figure out what ingredients are used in the skin care products we choose to use on a daily basis, and learn how that skin care affects your body.