My philosphy when it comes to cosmetics and personal care products is that if I can't eat it why would I want it on my skin, in my body or wherever? I should be able to mix it with vodka and invent a new martini! Sound extreme? Not really. When you consider that anything that we put in our mouth, rub on our skin, apply to our eyes & lips or insert into orifices, well....it's a proven fact that it's going to end up in your bloodstream, dermis, stomach, intestines, lymph glands, or other places in our bodies that filter what goes in and out.
Another thing that gets me riled (and wondering if another glass of red wine might help) is "green washing". Those ads and that packaging that simple drips of "natural" and "organic". Seriously! Let's take a look at one product—Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizing Cream Cleanser. According to the company, it’s “the beauty of nature + science,” a gentle, soap-free cleanser with skin conditioners that “lift away dirt, oil, and make-up while moisturizing dry and sensitive skin.” It contains feverfew extract, a natural ingredient related to chamomile that’s “known for its soothing properties.” This feverfew is even organically farmed and along with the rest of the formulation, supposedly helps reduce redness and calm skin.
For people going through cancer treatments, this sounds like the perfect solution to problem skin that’s particularly sensitive. But Aveeno isn’t telling you the whole story.
Turn the product over and you may be surprised to see that most of the ingredients are nothing like the “organically farmed” feverfew. The third ingredient is “isohexadecane”—a synthetic petrochemical—which though generally considered safe, is suspected of being an environmental toxin by Environment Canada.
Two ingredients down you see “Di-PPG 2 myreth-10 adipate.” Does anyone think this looks “natural?” It’s one of those “skin conditioners” the web site mentioned, but it’s synthetically made and goes through the process of “ethoxylation,” which means it has a higher probability of being contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. 1,4-dioxane is a chemical by-product that is a known animal carcinogen and penetrates readily into the skin. Another ingredient in the formulation—PEG-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate—is also subjected to ethoxylation, and carries the same risk of 1,4-dioxane contamination.
Next ingredient is TEA cocoyl glutamate, a mild surfactant that has a risk of being contaminated with nitrosamines—which are banned in the European Union and prohibited from use in Canadian cosmetics because of the strong evidence linking them with cancer. Animal studies also show reproductive problems at very low doses of nitrosamines.
Keep going down the list and you find more synthetic ingredients, more petrochemicals (caprylyl glycol, acrylates/C10 30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, and hexylene glycol), tetrasodium EDTA, a chelating ingredient that has poor biodegradability, and another preservative that could lead to sensitization of the skin (methylisothiazolinone).
“None of these ingredients would pass natural standards,” says Judi Beerling, a technical research manager who works with Organic Monitor.
I don't mean to be a fear monger. I stopped using this shit years ago and I love using products that make my skin smooth, my hair shine, my cheeks glow, put spring in my step.... you get the picture. If it has these things in your product, don't use it. There are plenty of other options that work just as well. Or better. They don't have to cost insane amounts. Definately better when you consider the risks. Another good reason to use The Point Naturals Soaps and Products! (brought to you by Shameless Hussy Productions).
Notice that a lot of these chemicals are harmful to fish and wildlife. Think about it. We wash everyday, often more than once. All the extra products get washed down the drain and move out to septic systems and drain water cachments. Some of these in turn end up in streams and rivers.
The David Suzuki Foundation published an article called The Dirty Dozen (visit http://www.davidsuzuki.org and search for Dirty Dozen backgrounder) which discusses some pretty common ingredients you will find in about 80% of the products you buy.
Another site to check out is www.safecosmetics.org which lists petrochemicals listed in cosmetics, their toxicity ratings and effects.
Check it out:
1. BHA and BHT Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endrocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
2. Coal Tar Dyes p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by a five digit number. In addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosemetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in 75000 and 77000 series, respectively). Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as "CI" followed by five digits. The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. "FD&C Blue No. 1" or "Blue 1"). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
3. DEA-Related Ingredients Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to foam nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. HArmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicals MEA and TEA.
4. Dibutyl Phthalate Used as a plasticizer in some nail products. Suspected endrocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
5. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolindinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a varoety of cosmetics. Slowly releases small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
6. Parabens Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endrocrine disruptors and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
7. Parfum (a.k.a Fragrance) Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics - even in some products marketed as "unscented". Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.
8. PEG Compounds Used in many cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Alos for related chemical ropylene glycol and other ingredients with letters 'eth" (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
9. Petrolatum Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic armotic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
10. Siloxanes Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Used in a vaariety of cosemtics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endrocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and wildlife.
11. Sodium Laureth Sulfate Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleaners and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with letters "eth" (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
12. Triclosan Used in antibacterial cosmetics such as toothpastes, cleaners and antiperspirants. Suspected endrocrine disrutper and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.