WHY CLEANER BEAUTY WHY CLEANER BEAUTY CHEMICALS FOUND IN BEAUTY PRODUCTS Have you ever stopped to consider the chemicals lurking in the products we use on our skin daily? Believe it or not, the average woman unknowingly exposes herself to over 500 chemicals each day. These chemicals are found in the everyday beauty and personal care products we rely on. But do we really know what these chemicals are or what effect they have on our bodies? It’s interesting to note that our skin is not only the largest organ in our body but also highly absorbent. Shockingly, studies have shown that within a mere 26 seconds of application, these chemicals can enter our bloodstream. This revelation begs the question: what exactly are we putting on our skin? Back in 2009, the Daily Telegraph published an article that highlighted a staggering 40% increase in eczema cases over a four-year period. Could there be a connection between these rising numbers and the chemicals found in our beauty products? Personally, I’ve managed to gain control over, and possibly even cure, the eczema I have suffered from since childhood by switching to natural products and avoiding certain ingredients not only in my beauty routine but also in my cleaning and washing products as well. This eye-opening information encourages us to take a closer look at the products we use and the impact they may have on our overall health. By making informed choices and opting for natural alternatives, we can prioritize the well-being of our skin and body. Who am I and Why am I an Expert? Before delving into the importance of caring about the chemicals in our skincare products, I believe it’s crucial to share a personal journey that has shaped my perspective. As a child, I endured the relentless battle of eczema. Fortunately, the affected areas were often hidden from view, with the worst flare-ups occurring on the back of my neck, concealed beneath my hair. Seeking relief, I visited countless doctors who prescribed steroid creams, which provided temporary respite but failed to address the root cause of my eczema. Unbeknownst to me at the time, these creams merely masked the visible symptoms by stripping away the outer layers of skin, while leaving the underlying issue untouched. To be honest, I simply grew accustomed to living with the condition. If the eczema had been noticeable to others, perhaps my experience would have been different. Nevertheless, the pain and incessant itching persisted, hidden from public view. A few years later, a friend shared her success story of alleviating her son’s eczema through the use of a flower remedy product. This sparked a profound realisation within me, prompting an exploration of the ingredients present in the products I applied to my skin, body, and especially my hair, as it directly impacted the sensitive area on my neck. I embarked on a deep dive into the world of skincare ingredients, immersing myself in research and gradually transitioning to exclusively using natural products devoid of specific harmful components. Over time, my eczema miraculously healed itself, and I have remained eczema-free for years. Since then, I have become an ardent advocate for natural beauty, fuelled by my personal transformation. As a result of my unwavering commitment to promoting natural beauty, I have had the honour of being featured on the Natural Beauty Magazine’s esteemed list of “Who’s Who in Natural Beauty” for the past three years. This personal journey has ignited a passion within me to champion the importance of understanding and embracing natural alternatives in our beauty routines. By opting for products that prioritise our well-being and health, we not only improve the condition of our skin but also contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly future. The following article dives into the reasons behind our exclusive focus on natural products, why it’s crucial for you to care about what you use, and key indicators to watch out for. It is important to note that my insights are based on personal experience and the changes I made to my own skincare routines to heal my skin and body. However, please be aware that I am not a medical professional and do not possess any formal medical training. To provide you with a comprehensive understanding, I have curated a collection of valuable resources. These include enlightening documentaries, informative books, and compelling case studies conducted by esteemed medical professionals. You can find links to these resources at the bottom of this page, allowing you to delve deeper into the subject matter and broaden your knowledge. If you come across this article and have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am more than happy to assist in any way I can, providing guidance and support based on my experiences and the information I’ve gathered. Why is it important to pay attention to the various ingredients found in products? Everything around us is essentially made up of chemicals, each composed of various elements. However, it’s crucial to recognise that not all chemicals are created equal, and some can pose significant harm to our long-term health. Synthetic chemicals, which are typically not derived from plants, are commonly used in consumer products for various purposes. While there are exceptions, such as certain plants that can also be harmful to our health, we don’t typically find these listed as ingredients in our favourite face creams or skincare products. It’s also important to acknowledge that these toxic chemicals can also have adverse effects on our environment when present in products like sunscreens. Disturbingly, recent studies have revealed that the chemicals in our bloodstream can be passed on to unborn children through the umbilical cord, as well as through breast milk after birth. This means that toxic remnants from substances like lead-based lipstick, used by our great great grandmothers in the 19th century, might still be circulating in our bloodstreams. Based on these studies, it is reasonable to conclude that we are living in an era where we may be the most toxic generation to have ever existed. The implications of these toxic chemicals extend beyond our own health and well-being; they also impact the health of future generations. By understanding and being mindful of the ingredients in the products we use, we can make informed choices that prioritise our own health and the well-being of those who will come after us. By avoiding harmful chemicals and opting for natural alternatives, we can actively contribute to a safer and healthier environment for ourselves and future generations. SOME CHEMICALS TO AVOID Below, you’ll find a selection of particularly concerning ingredients. While this compilation isn’t exhaustive, it serves as a valuable starting point for raising awareness. Parabens Parabens, commonly utilised as preservatives to extend the shelf life of cosmetic products, are alarmingly present in a staggering 75-90% of all beauty and personal care items available on the market. Effect: Endocrine disruptors, possible carcinogens and possible links to breast cancer. How they are listed on products: Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben Phthalates These ingredients are commonly used as plasticizers, providing products with enhanced flexibility and durability. You can find them in various perfumes, scented products, and hairsprays. Effect: Endocrine distributors, respiratory toxicants, can cause birth defects and infertility in men, may lead to pregnancy loss in women, may alter childhood brain development. How they are listed on products: Commonly hidden under “fragrance” or “parfum”; Anything with “phthalate” in its name, or DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate This ingredient is commonly used in various products to generate a lather and maintain consistency by preventing ingredient separation. You can typically find it in face washes, body washes, shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, and a range of other personal care items. Effect: Common irritants, penetration enhancers, may be contaminated with known carcinogens. How they are listed on products: Sodium lauryl sulphate or SLS Triclosan Commonly utilised as an antibacterial agent to combat microbial growth. This ingredient can be found in a variety of everyday products such as deodorants, anti-perspirants, soaps, and toothpastes. Its purpose is to minimise or prevent bacterial contamination. Effect: associated with a decrease in the levels of thyroid hormones, contributes to making us resistant to antibiotics, also links to skin cancer (studies ongoing) How they are listed on products: Triclosan Artificial Scents and Synthetic musk’s Used as an artificial scent. Found in many perfumes and scented products. Effect: No detailed information is given about what these artificial fragrances actually contain. They are likely to contain synthetic and potentially allergenic compounds. How they are listed on products: Fragrance or perfume without details of where these came from. If an ingredient is truly natural it will show something like fragrance* (lavender oil) or something similar. Synthetic musk’s could show as Galaxolide (HHBC), Tonalide (AHTN), Musk keytone Formaldehyde Formaldehyde, notorious for its use in preserving bodies at morgues, is also a common ingredient found in various beauty and personal care products. Renowned for its antibacterial properties, it often serves as a preservative agent. Surprisingly, this potentially harmful chemical can be found in nail polishes, nail products, as well as creams and moisturisers. Its presence in such everyday items raises concerns about the long-term effects on our health. Effect: Can cause watery eyes, burning sensations, coughing, wheezing, nausea, skin irritation and links to cancer. How they are listed on products: Formaldehyde Other Chemicals to watch out for: Aluminium Salts: commonly found in deodorants and anti-perspirants, these compounds effectively block pores and sweat glands to prevent sweating. However, research has linked their usage to potential health risks, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Ethanolamines (MEA (Monoethanolamine), DEA (Diethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine)): Are commonly found in a variety of products such as face and body washes, shampoos, and hair colours. These ingredients serve as foaming agents and also help prevent the separation of other ingredients within the product. Hydroquinone: Found in hair dye, nail products including polish, as well as skin lightening and acne products. This ingredient is known to inhibit the production of melanin in the skin. However, it’s important to note that when used in high doses, hydroquinone has been associated with potential carcinogenic effects and . Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT): Commonly found in lipsticks, creams, and moisturisers for its antioxidant and preserving properties. However, it’s important to note that BHT has been shown to accumulate in the body over time, potentially affecting vital organs such as the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Moreover, certain studies have even suggested a link between BHT and an increased risk of cancerous tumor growth. Keeping this in mind, it becomes crucial to scrutinise the presence of BHT in the products we use on a daily basis. UV FILTERS such as Octinoxate: Commonly found in sunscreens, lip balms, nail polish, foundations, fragrances, shampoos, conditioners, creams, and moisturisers. While it serves as a UV filter, offering protection from the sun’s rays, it has been associated with a range of concerning effects. These include potential endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity, skin irritation, and, in some cases, even cancer. It’s important to be aware of the presence of Octinoxate in your skincare and beauty products and consider opting for alternatives that offer safer and more reliable protection. SUNSCREENS When it comes to sunscreens, it’s important to understand the distinction between chemical and mineral variants. Chemical sunscreens rely on ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone, which undergo a chemical reaction when exposed to UV rays. These chemicals convert the rays into heat, ultimately soaking them into the skin. However, it’s worth noting that these chemicals can pose harm to both humans and marine life. On the other hand, mineral sunscreens utilize substances such as titanium dioxide or zinc. These ingredients work by creating a protective barrier on the skin, effectively deflecting harmful UV rays away from the body. To ensure you’re making an environmentally conscious choice, opt for sunscreens that are labelled as reef safe or reef friendly. By doing so, you’re actively contributing to the preservation of our delicate aquatic ecosystems. How to tell the difference: Our Sunscreen Choice and the Oceans Sunscreens have repercussions that extend beyond our personal health. Extensive studies conducted in the USA have shed light on the detrimental impact of mineral and chemical sunscreens on coral reefs. One particular study introduced oxybenzone, a common ingredient in chemical sunscreens, into the water, and within just 14 days, the coral experienced drastic effects. Considering the number of individuals swimming near reefs while wearing sunscreen, it’s alarming to envision the long-term damage inflicted on our oceans. Recognising the urgency, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Palau have already imposed a ban on the use of oxybenzone in sunscreens throughout the islands. Coral reefs, although accounting for a mere 1% of the ocean, harbour over 25% of all marine life. They play an indispensable role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. If you plan on wearing sunscreen in the water, it is crucial to opt for reef-safe alternatives. At GreenerBeauty.com, all the sunscreens available are specifically formulated to be reef safe, containing non-nano titanium dioxide and non-nano zinc oxide. The accompanying photo demonstrates the stark contrast between a vibrant, thriving coral reef and one that has been bleached due to the presence of sunscreen chemicals. Knowledge is power! Empower yourself with knowledge! Armed with this information, you can make well-informed choices that align with your values and prioritise the well-being of both yourself and your loved ones. At Greener Beauty, we are dedicated to advocating for safe and conscious beauty practices. As part of our commitment, we ensure that all the products we offer are completely free from any of the aforementioned ingredients. You can shop with confidence, knowing that everything at Greener Beauty meets our stringent standards for purity and sustainability. FURTHER READING/WATCHING AND REFERENCES Further Reading/Watching: Documentary – The Human Experiment. Documentary – Toxic Beauty Breast Cancer UK – This charity actively promotes the use of safer cosmetics and they have lots of valuable information on their website. Book – Toxic Beauty: Your guide to ingredients to avoid and products you can trust. Book – Toxic Beauty by Dawn Mellowship References Chemicals Analytical Science Journals – A study into parabens and their connection with breast cancer. EWG – A study into the pollution of unborn babies via the umbilical cord. MPPL – A study into the relationship between everyday use cosmetics (specifically parabens) and female breast cancer. Science Direct – A study into the effect of parabens on our health. US National Library of Medicine – The effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals on our health and the associated disorders. US National Library of Medicine – A study into chemical exposures during pregnancy and early development of children via the umbilical cord and breast milk. US National Library of Medicine – A study into the connection between parabens and breast cancer. Sunscreens and Coral Reefs Coral Reef Alliance – Protect your skin and the coral reefs by buying mineral sunscreens International Coral Reef Initiative – A study carried out in Sweden in 2018 on the effects of chemical and mineral sunscreen on coral reefs. As a result of this study it is recommended to only use mineral sunscreens when going into the oceans or waterways that lead to the ocean. International Coral Reef Initiative – Palau bans the use of chemical sunscreen to protect its coral reefs. National Geographic – How to protect you and the oceans. Ocean Service – The use of chemical sunscreens which is used in its thousands to protect against harmful effects of ultraviolet light threatens corals and other marine life. Scientific America – The use of nano particles in sunscreens. Springer Link – A study on the toxicopathological effects of the sunscreen UV filter, Oxybenzone, on coral planulae and cultered primary cells in Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands. US National Library of Medicine – A study into how coral reefs are being bleached not by the sun but by chemical sunscreens.