The organic revolution is in full swing, with consumers opting for less of the chemicals and more of the natural. If you’re cautious with the food you eat due to the dangerous toxins reportedly found on many manufactured food, the next logical step is being more careful with the products you use, especially skin care and make-up items. Unsurprisingly, many of the well-known beauty products are also found to have dangerous ingredients. Transitioning to a non-toxic skin care routine can quickly be done with a few steps.
Words: Julia Esguerra
Understand Why This Matters
It’s easy to point to the green revolution to argue your transition. However, this change concerns more than a trend. The skin is the largest organ, spanning 18 square feet on an average human. Aside from the sense of touch, it also serves as a protective barrier and helps maintain stable body temperature.
But just because it’s your natural barrier, doesn’t mean that you can be lenient with it: 60% of what you put on the skin will be absorbed by the body and enter your bloodstream. Sensitive areas, like face and armpits, can even absorb more as compared to other areas. With this in mind, slathering yourself with toxin-ridden products on the daily sounds like a terrible idea.
If you do choose to go toxin-free, you and your skin will get to enjoy these benefits:
Earth-friendly: Some chemicals can have a negative environmental impact as its manufacturing can also put the chemicals into the air or water.
Less to no irritation: Many people are allergic to chemicals, like artificial colours, synthetic fragrance, and fillers, resulting in irritation and breakouts.
Gentle with no strange side effects: Many natural products work better because they don’t contain unnecessary ingredients. Conventional products that seem to work better with the first try may cause damage over time.
Look Out for the ‘Toxins’
It’s hard to know what’s safe and what’s not just by simply reading the label. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate many dangerous chemicals well, either. Plus, the use of the word ‘natural’ can be misleading, and the FDA isn’t strict about brands labelling their products as such, even when it’s not proven yet.
Also, not everything made in a lab is toxic, and not all-natural ingredients are safe (like arsenic). With that said, here are a few usual suspects you should be wary of:
Parabens, such as methyl-, propyl-, butyl- and ethyl- are used as preservatives and are known as endocrine disrupters that mimic the body’s hormones, thus affecting the natural ones. Long-term exposure may lead to infertility.
Synthetic fragrance is linked to hormone disruption.
Synthetic colours (CI) are often carcinogenic, although there are safe, mineral-based alternatives.
Heavy metals, like lead, mercury, aluminium, and cadmium accumulate in the body.
Quaternium-15, found in shampoo and body washes, releases carcinogenic formaldehyde.
Phthalates are endocrine disruptors that may lead to increased risk of breast cancer and congenital reproductive disabilities.
Do Your Homework and Find the Right Non-Toxic Products
As mentioned, the FDA has little control over certain harmful ingredients, saying, “With the exception of colour additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from the FDA.”
This goes without saying that you need to care about what you use because regulating bodies surely do not. Do scan labels and look out for red flags. If you see any of the aforementioned ingredients, find a better alternative. Watch out for greenwashing claims and marketing tactics, too. If a product is labeled as organic, organic ingredients should be on the list.
Fortunately, there are now more options for safe to use, but effective skin and hypoallergenic makeup products. Here are some recommendations:
Cleanser: Beautycounter Nourishing Cream Cleanser
Moisturiser: Beautycounter Nourishing Day Cream
Makeup Remover: Burt’s Bees Face Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extract
Deodorant: Arbonne Pure Mint Deodorant
Body Lotion: Eminence Coconut Firming Skin Moisturiser
Toothpaste: Nature’s Gate Natural Toothpaste
Body Wash: Everyday Shea Body Butter Wash
Foundation: Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation
Lip Balm: Farmacy Honey Butter Lip Balm
Another thing to take note of is misinformation. Not a lot of scientific evidence is readily available about natural skincare products. So, before you take anything you read online to heart, consult with your dermatologist first.