There’s no greater feeling than walking up and down the aisles of your favorite cosmetics store to cop the latest beauty product. While that holds true, an even better feeling has to be knowing that you’re not applying harsh chemicals to your skin, stripping away its natural oils and causing rashes, acne, or any other form of irritation. That’s why today’s goal is to inform you of what’s inside your go-to products, then encourage you to start small by swapping lower maintenance items, like moisturizers and scrubs, for all-natural ones. And when you’re reading the labels, watch out for any sign of phthalates, parabens, or unpronounceable words, ’cause we have no time for those. This will be a better and gentler approach to skin care—and we couldn’t think of anywhere else to be than here as you transition to a more green routine.
Used as a preservative to prevent bacteria and fungal growth in beauty products, parabens, like sulfates, have been tested to disrupt the body’s hormone system as it mimics estrogen. So the next time you’re out purchasing more items like deodorant, moisturizer, or shampoo, look at the ingredient list for anything ending in the suffix (-paraben), which usually falls near the end.
Added to nail polish, perfume, hairspray, soap, shampoo, and moisturizer, phthalates are a group of chemicals that are listed as “fragrance” on the ingredient list. Yep—the collection of amazing-smelling products that we’re so proud to own are actually full of chemicals. For the more natural route, we suggest purchasing fragrance-free products or ones that only use naturally derived fragrances.
Used in disinfectants and fumigants, formaldehyde is a chemical that can also be found in cosmetics, such as mascara and eyeshadow. When inhaled, formaldehyde can cause nausea and respiratory issues, like eye and nose irritation, coughing, and asthma-like symptoms.
A dangerous, carcinogenic chemical, ammonia is that powerful odor you smell when you walk into a hair salon. Found in hair dyes and bleaches, it’s has been known to irritate the eyes and respiratory tract, trigger allergies, and cause high blood pressure and serious skin complications. Luckily there are natural hair dyes out there that are ammonia free!
Added to cosmetics as a preservative and antibacterial agent, the presence of mercury (or thimerosal) has resulted in several incidents of mercury poisoning, especially involving creams that are used to treat acne or fade freckles and age spots. Some studies even say that mercury can damage brain function. And according to the FDA, exposure to mercury has serious health consequences.
We can’t make this stuff up. Don’t worry, though, because it’s about to get fun. The best way to know exactly what goes into your beauty products is to make your own. And we’re big advocates on this subject. Face masks, bathtub soaks, you name it—they’re easy, budget-friendly, and best of all, completely natural. You may even have the ingredients waiting for you in your pantry already. If you’d rather purchase your beauty products, look for the most natural ones with no preservatives or toxic chemicals. They may be hard to find, but it’s worth it. And we’re sure you’ll enjoy experimenting. So tell us here at HealingRadius—what all-natural beauty products do you use? And what changes to your skin have you noticed since making the switch?
Allyson Miller is a bookworm, history nerd and outdoor enthusiast who loves writing creative and informational content for SBT in Rock Hill, SC. Depending on the day, you can find her with her nose in historical documents, shopping for trendy exercise outfits or trying new cooking recipes. Allyson dreams that one day, engineers will figure out a way to build roller coasters sans the incline, ridding her of coasterphobia.