I’d like to introduce my guest blogger for the week, Anne Huitt, Executive Director & Independent Consultant for Beautycounter. Here’s what she has to share about the 5 ingredients to avoid in personal care products.
Let me ask you a couple of questions… I suspect since you’re a fan of eatcleaner.com, you’re interested in healthy living. Are you fairly diligent about working out? Do you work to feed your family well and pay attention to your food labels? If so, could you, unknowingly, be leaving out one of the biggest pieces of the wellness puzzle like I had been?
Like many of you, I’m a wife and a mom. Like many of you, my family is the most important part of my life. When I was pregnant and realized my body was an environment for my growing babies, I took to heart the advice my obstetrician gave me in regards to avoiding artificial sweeteners, unpasteurized cheese, and such. Once each of my three children were born, I breastfed, made some of our own baby food, and did what I knew to do to create a healthy environment for them. In an effort to ward off early-onset puberty and other hormone disruption, I bought hormone-free milk and meat products and did my best to eliminate what I knew to eliminate.
What I didn’t realize until years later was that it is not only foods that can harbor harmful chemicals, but that many personal care products contain hormone-mimicking and carcinogenic ingredients linked to the very issues I’d been trying to avoid. There are over 10,000 ingredients commonly used in personal care products, only 10% of which have been tested for safety on long-term human health. Did you know many of these ingredients have been linked to cancer, infertility, and hormone disruption? If you’re like I was just two short years ago, you have no idea what you’re putting on your skin every day, day after day.
I had been doing so many things right yet had no idea what I didn’t know! I knew when I opened up a bag of chips that I was making a compromise. What upset me when I first learned about ingredients in my personal care products was that I had been completely unaware that I had been making unhealthy choices each time I picked up my lotion or my mascara. One of the first tools I learned to use in making safer choices is the Skin Deep Database compiled by the Environmental Working Group, the same nonprofit that brings you the Dirty Dozen produce list. I was dismayed to discover that products from high-end department store brands as well as my drugstore products contained ingredients that I now know to steer away from.
The top ingredients I’m avoiding are as follows:
- Fragrance. Because the ingredient “fragrance” is considered a trade secret, companies are able to hide any number of other ingredients under this umbrella term. One of the worst is phthalates which has been shown to alter gender in frogs. Phthalates are used to plasticize products and make fragrance stick to skin longer.
- Parabens. Parabens mimic estrogen and have been linked to breast cancer. Because they are used as preservatives, you’ll find them in a lot of products including shampoo, sunscreen, body lotion, and more.
- Formaldehyde. This is a known carcinogen that is banned from pesticides, yet not from mascara, body wash, and bubble bath. A well-known baby shampoo manufacturer announced fairly recently its plans phase out formaldehyde from its formulas.
- Oxybenzone and octinoxate. These are chemical blockers used in sunscreens that have been linked to endocrine disruption. They’re also found in skin creams, shampoos, lipstick, and nail polish.
- Heavy metals in cosmetics. These ingredients will not be listed on labels. The best way to avoid these is to find brands that test for them or reserve them for special occasions.
What’s an endocrine disruptor and why is it making me sick and fat? Your biggest organ is your skin, find out why you need to be careful of what you put in your body and on it too. Watch the replay of my Facebook LIVE video:
Anne Huitt lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband and three children. She comes from a long heritage of great foodies and has been influenced by both parents’ culinary aptitudes. To this day, much of her joy comes from preparing and sharing food and recipes. High-quality ingredients and tools have always been important in her kitchen adventures. Warm and outgoing, but precise, she studied and practiced corporate tax accounting before starting her family. Until recently, she was unaware of the need to demand high-quality, healthy ingredients in her personal care and beauty products. Upon gaining an awareness of the toxins lurking in conventional products, she immediately felt compelled to change the products her family uses, to raise awareness and share with others about the hope we have in companies creating effective alternatives, and to advocate for changing the entire personal care industry as an independent consultant and Executive Director with Beautycounter. Join her on a journey to clean up your own shower and skincare routines by visiting her at www.annehuitt.com.