Women put an average of 168 chemicals on their body every day, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group. While men typically use fewer products, they still slather on about 85 chemicals each day.
With this many chemicals involved in simple beauty routines, it’s no wonder people are looking to more natural ingredients – meaning ingredients that develop naturally, without external interference or manipulation, like chemicals.
And it’s no wonder: Products with natural ingredients ultimately provide several advantages for our skin, body, well-being, and the environment.
1. Peace of Mind
Surprisingly, the chemicals that go into beauty products are not regulated by the FDA. “Cosmetics are sort of the last unregulated area of consumer products law,” said Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group’s vice president of government affairs. “I can’t overstate how little law is now on the books. The FDA virtually has no power to regulate the products we use every day.”
The truth is: We simply don’t know what’s safe and what’s not. “Many if not most of these chemicals are probably safe,” Faber said. “We can’t know for sure because they haven’t been subject to any kind of review by a third party.”
Banking on “probably safe” isn’t very encouraging. Hoping for health and safety isn’t the same as trusting in the safety of a product.
Using products with natural ingredients provides a peace of mind that simply can’t be obtained through unregulated products that use chemicals.
2. Better for the Skin
The right natural ingredients can clear up breakouts, protect from sun damage, soothe irritations, and more. For example, Spirulina, also known as cyanobacteria contains anti-inflammatory properties and can help slow down the effects of aging as well as detoxify and tone skin.
3. Better for the Body
While our skin provides a protective barrier to keep out dangerous compounds, some chemicals can sneak past and be absorbed into our bloodstream. In fact, 60% of what’s applied to skin can be directly absorbed. And studies have found that our immune systems, moods, nervous systems and reproductive systems can be affected by commercial body care and beauty products.
4. What’s in Those Fragrances?
Added fragrances are often used to cover up the chemical smells, so the result is a chemical on top of a chemical. And since companies are not required by the FDA to disclose the ingredients in their fragrances, some added fragrances use toxic chemicals that can be dangerous to the wearer.
5. Better for the Environment
If the chemicals in commercial beauty products are bad for our skin and body, imagine what they’re doing to the environment every time we wash them down the drain.
In addition, conventional beauty products require ingredients that require extensive mining – like petroleum, aluminum, and lead. The mining is hurting miles of land in places like the Amazon, and the ingredients – like aluminum – have even been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Avoid Irritants
Chemicals in many normal products work against the skin, rather than working with what is already there — as natural products do. This can lead to breakouts, irritations, redness, and allergic reactions. Natural skincare products are gentler and more welcoming to your skin.
7. They Work Better
People with sensitive skin often react to the chemicals in conventional products. While some will still be sensitive to a few natural products (like lanolin if one has a wool sensitivity), the ingredients in natural products generally will not aggravate skin. Plus, better-quality ingredients often means better results.
Ingredients to Avoid
It can be difficult to buy products with truly natural ingredients. The term natural is completely unregulated, and can actually mean that only one ingredient in a product is natural. It’s important to make sure these ingredients are not in a product deemed natural:
- DEA, MEA, and TEA
- Propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol
- Synthetic dyes
Until the FDA begins to more carefully regulate the ingredients that go into beauty products, it’s up to the consumer to make the best choices with the information available. The fewer chemicals applied, the better health, appearance, and peace of mind will be enjoyed.