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How to Choose Chemical Free Cosmetics
Many people choose to live a healthy, clean, and natural lifestyle by changing their diet. However, skin products may be just as harmful to your health as the food you eat. Cosmetics for both women and men contain potentially hazardous or toxic chemicals. If you are concerned about the chemicals being absorbed through your skin, learn how to buy chemical-free cosmetics.
Avoiding Chemicals in Cosmetics
Shop at health or natural stores.Instead of going to your local supermarket, consider shopping at a health store for cosmetics. You may be able to find an all-natural cosmetic store in your area. These stores will offer more cosmetic choices that are all-natural, organic, or chemical-free.
- Many supermarkets, and some larger superstores, have sections dedicated to organic and natural products. Look for these sections in your local store and see what they offer.
- You can also order natural and chemical-free cosmetics online.
- Remember, though you are shopping at a health store or Whole Foods, you still should read labels.
Become familiar with safe brands.Many brands offer natural or chemical-free cosmetics. Some may only be available in your local health store, while others may be found in some department stores or supermarket. Learn to spot familiar and trusted brands that have no chemicals.
- Some popular natural, chemical-free brands include Dr. Bronner’s, Tom’s of Maine, Hugo Naturals, Plantlife, Burt’s Bees, Aubrey Organics, and MyChelle.
Look for chemical-free cosmetics.Some popular cosmetic companies are releasing products with harmful products removed. These products may say phthalate-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free.
- However, remember to always look at the label. Double check the ingredients to make sure they haven’t added additional chemicals although they took out one or two.
Avoid certain characteristics.Remembering every chemical to avoid can be difficult. You may start keeping a list of the ingredients to avoid on you at all times. However, if you forget your list, or you are just starting to switch to chemical-free, there are some keywords and general characteristics for cosmetics you can memorize for a quick and easy start to chemical-free cosmetics. If you can’t remember every chemical to avoid, the following tips can be a helpful quick guide.
- When buying hand sanitizer, go for products with 60% ethanol or ethyl alcohol. Avoid the word triclosan on the label.
- Don’t buy SPF over 50 or with added insect repellent. Avoid sunscreen in aerosols or powder forms. Instead, buy sunscreen with zinc or titanium dioxide.
- Limit usage of dark permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners.
- Avoid fragrance and perfumes in any cosmetic product.
- Avoid products with the words paraben and triclosan.
Make your own cosmetics.The effects of many commercially available products can be achieved using natural, DIY at-home alternatives. The internet is full of recipes for all-natural face washes, face masks, hair products, and body scrubs.
Use fewer cosmetics.The fewer cosmetics you use, the fewer chemicals you are introducing into your body. Think about which cosmetics you can live without. Cut it out of your routine to eliminate those chemicals.
- For example, ask yourself questions about the products you use. Can you go without foundation makeup? How about aftershave? Do you need to use hair products?
- Make a list of products you can eliminate and stop buying them.
Becoming a Better Informed Consumer
Read the labels.One of the first steps you should take in choosing cosmetics with less chemicals is to read the label. Even if you don’t know what the ingredients are, choose products with less ingredients or less ingredients you can’t pronounce.
- Learning which products to avoid can help you be a smarter label reader.
- Ingredients are listed from highest concentration to lowest concentration on the label. If you have to buy products with chemicals, make sure the chemicals are located at the bottom of the list.
Know which ingredients to avoid.Going chemical-free may be difficult, but you can reduce the toxic or dangerous chemicals in the cosmetics you buy. Knowing what to look for when you read labels can help you make smart choices when buying cosmetics. There are a core set of chemicals that should be avoided at all costs. If you are unable to learn or remember all these chemicals, print yourself a list to take with you to the store. Avoid the following:
- BHA or BHT
- Coal tar dyes, labeled as p-phenylenediamine, CI plus numbers, or names like Blue 1
- DEA, MEA, or TEA
- dibutyl phthalate
- diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, or methenamine
- parfum or fragrance
- siloxane or methicone
- sodium laureth or laurel sulfate
- PFCs, PFOA, PFOS, or perfluoro
- octinoxate or oxybenzone
- lead acetate
- boric acid
Learn what the language on the packaging means.Cosmetic packages may say a variety of different things. They can say natural, organic, vegan - which all may sound like they offer a good product. Though the words may be on the package, they may not all be as good as you believe.
- Products containing the word natural are not regulated by the government. All natural or 100% natural may be better, yet they still may be hiding chemicals. Check the label to make sure. Just don’t forget some natural substances sound like chemicals, like sodium chloride.
- Organic products do not have to be 100% organic to be labeled as organic. The percentage varies from state to state, with some states requiring higher percentages than others. The USDA organic seal means that the product is 95% organic.
- Chemical-free doesn’t necessarily mean organic, or vice versa.
- Vegan means the product is free of animal products, yet it can have chemicals in it.
Check the safety of your cosmetics.Multiple websites provide searchable databases that allow you to check the safety of your cosmetic product. The databases also let you search by the potentially harmful chemical and find a list of products that contain it.
- Try , , or .
Understanding the Risks of Cosmetic Chemicals
Learn the connection between cancer and cosmetics.Some cosmetics have been linked to cancer. Talcum powder has been linked to ovarian cancer, while antiperspirants and parabens have been linked to breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute, there is no conclusive evidence linking these products to cancer.
- Both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute suggest using cosmetics without these chemicals if you feel uncomfortable using them on your body.
Understand the concern for endocrine disruptors.Many cosmetics include chemicals that are considered endocrine disruptors. Endocrine-disruptors are believed to interfere with the endocrine system and negatively affect people and animals. These chemicals are believed to have negative effects on the reproductive system of women.
- Common endocrine disruptors include BPA, DEHP, phthalates, and parabens.
- The CDC states that the result of Phthalate exposure is unknown, though research has pointed to negative effects of phthalates on lab rats. They suggest more information and research is needed.
Know that your skin absorbs chemicals through pores.Your skin is porous, which means it will absorb everything you put on it. This includes the chemicals in the cosmetics you use. Your skin has the potential to absorb colors, fragrances, toxic chemicals, and allergens.
- Choosing products with less chemicals may help reduce the risk of introducing carcinogens into your body. Using cosmetics with less chemicals may help you reduce the risk of causing developmental problems in children.
- Toxins are not the only concern with chemicals. People may have an allergic reaction to the chemicals, which may cause dermatitis, rashes, or blisters.
Video: How to Choose Chemical Free Cosmetics
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