Chances are good that you read food labels before you buy; around 50% of UK adults do. 1https://www.statista.com/statistics/1135177/consumers-checking-food-product-labels-by-age-group-uk/ But do you pay the same kind of critical attention to the labels on your beauty products?
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and your immune system’s first line of defense against the outside world. But it isn’t impenetrable!
The chemicals hidden in the lotions, creams, gels and deodorants that you apply to your skin can make their way into your body and enter your bloodstream. From here, they can disrupt normal body processes. Commonly-used toxins in personal care products include antibacterials and endocrine (hormonal) disrupters. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to hormone changes, reproductive issues and other abnormalities.2https://green.harvard.edu/news/skin-deep
It is important to make sure your beauty products are safe for you, inside and out!
The best way to do this is by learning more about common products and reading your beauty labels. Here are our top tips for choosing safe skincare:
1. Know Your Preservatives
Even natural and organic skincare requires some sort of preservative, to enable it to to last for more than a few weeks. 3https://www.terreverdi.com/blogs/articles/expiration-date-of-your-skincare-products
Some preservatives can be harmful to your health, but COSMOS 4https://www.cosmos-standard.org/ (the international organic and natural certifier for skincare products), has a list of approved preservatives. These include:
- Benzoic acid and salts
- Benzyl alcohol
- Dehydroacetic acid and salts
- Salicylic acid and salts
- Sorbic acid and salts
Here at CG, we add a preservative-free stabiliser to our handmade kefir lotions to enable them to stay good for longer than 2 weeks. This is the gentlest, greenest and least allergenic option available on the market today. It is called Iscaguard PFA, and you can read more about it here: https://www.iscauk.com/iscaguard_cosmetic_preservatives.html.
2. Phthalate- and Paraben-Free
Parabens and phthalate are types of endocrine disruptors. These are common in many products, including your regular sunscreen. These include specific ingredients such as toluene and triclosan. Using products with these items can disrupt normal hormone and immune function,5https://green.harvard.edu/news/skin-deep so look for products without these nasties! Our goats milk soaps are all free from any parabens or phthalates.
3. Read your expiry dates
Do you know the expiry date of your regular products? A typical mascara only lasts for 3 months!6https://www.whowhatwear.co.uk/makeup-expiry-dates The longer the shelf-life, the more preservatives might be inside.
Whilst many skin care products seem fine after their expiry date – there’s a good reason they have a date on them. Expired and over-used products can harbour bacteria and irritate your skin.7https://www.whowhatwear.co.uk/makeup-expiry-dates If yours have reached their expiry date, throw them out and buy fresh.
4. Opt for a pump bottle vs. jar
Do you have a lotion or creams that you dip your hand into? If yes, you might be introducing new bacteria and oxygen into this each time you use it. Over time, this could be more irritating or harmful to your skin.8https://www.facethefuture.co.uk/blogs/products-brands/skincare-expiration-dates
If your favourite product is only available in a pot, consider using a clean spatula between each use. Also, make sure to keep it sealed between uses.
For more information on common skincare ingredients: https://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/