Those of us interested in wellness are proactive about our health, eating plenty of organic foods, staying away from meats containing hormones and antibiotics, eschewing foods loaded with artificial ingredients and preservatives, and doing our best to limit our family’s exposure to environmental toxins like BPA.
Just when you thought you were doing all that you can, I want to share some interesting facts I’ve recently learned from a like-minded friend, Juli Heydenfeldt. If we want to limit our exposure to toxins in the environment, we need to become more informed about the personal care products we use. Between sunscreen, shaving cream, toothpaste, and fragrance, the average American put 12 to 20 products on their skin each and every day. As the largest organ in our body, our skin absorbs up to 60% of what you put on it. Think of the nicotine patch, estrogen creams, and Arnica gel used topically to administer medicines (natural or otherwise) to our bodies.
So you may be wondering why personal care products would contain ingredients that threaten our health when we live in a society that over regulates so many things. According to Gregg Renfrew, a forward-thinking entrepreneur and founder of Beauty Counter, 80% of ingredients used in daily personal care products have never been tested for personal safety. In response, her company has set out to create “chic, safe, and effective” skin care, body care, makeup and kids care products.
The Beauty Counter web site claims that the same U.S. laws that existed in 1938 governing the safety of personal care products are still on the books. There have been no changes in more than 70 years! And while the E.U. has banned a total of 1,300 ingredients it deems harmful, the U.S. currently bans only 11 ingredients. Dangerous ingredients — such as lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates — are not only commonly found in personal care products, the companies that market them are not always required to disclose them – using terms such as “fragrance” and “preservatives” to obfuscate their content list.
In response, Beauty Counter has set the bar quite high for their unique products, banning 1,500 ingredients, and using only safe, pure, effective substances. Check out The Never List that shows you the worst offenders that will never be found in a Beauty Counter product. So far, I’ve tried a few of their luxurious yet sensibly priced products. My favorites include the Lustro Face Oil 1 (Calendula) followed by the Everynight PM Hydrating Cream.
To see how your favorite products rate, the Environmental Working Group has a huge online database. Based on their own research EWG rates 80,000 personal care, cleaning products, and foods as part of their efforts to protect human health. If the reviews on your current products aren’t positive, it’s an indispensable resource for finding healthier alternatives. By the way, you can easily be sucked in by this site! It contains so much information for thoughtful consumers.