Why We Need Better Skin Care
Do you think the FDA approved the ingredients in your cosmetics and skin care products? Sorry! The Food & Drug Administration itself states that “a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” The FDA was never given the authority to regulate skin care products. But industry self-regulation is usually a formula that protects consumers, right?
Where Would We Be Without EWG?
Fortunately, an amazing organization called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) does very detailed, important work in this area. According to EWG, “Personal care products are manufactured with 10,500 unique chemical ingredients, some of which are known or suspected carcinogens, toxic to the reproductive system or known to disrupt the endocrine system.”
Yikes! How do they know that? EWG has spent years compiling two amazing databases. The first includes tens of thousands of substances that are listed as ingredients in food and personal care products. The second documents what published scientific studies tell us about the safety of those ingredients. By connecting these two sets of information, EWG produces a safety rating for over 100,000 brand-name food and skin care products.
All this sounds scary, but does it really matter? Absolutely. Your skin absorbs most of these chemicals.
Tools You Can Use
You can easily check your favorite cosmetics and skin care products online using EWG’s Skin Deep Database, or check packaged food products its Food Scores database. These two databases are combined in EWG’s Healthy Living App, which you can download to your smartphone from either the Android or the Apple app store. Take it with you next time you go to the market, scan the barcode of any product, and you’ll get its score. Stick with products that have the lowest scores – 0, 1, 2, or 3 – at the safe end of EWG’s range. If the Healthy Living app doesn’t cover all the products you’re interested in, try a couple of other useful apps highlighted here.
While much discussion revolves around cosmetics, which are primarily targeted at women, men have skin in this game (!) as well. Yes, guys, the chemicals in your soap, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, shave cream, hair gel, sunscreen, and lip balm, pose a health concern. Good news: organic and natural skin care products for men are becoming more widely available.
One way to learn about healthy alternatives is through multi-brand online retailers of organic and natural skin care products. We feature several on GreenerDailyLife.com. These guys really know their stuff. They select the brands they carry carefully, and you’ll find them to be a great resource. Another source of expert advice is the list of our favorite beauty bloggers in the right-hand column of the same page. Finally, browse the brands on our website to learn more.