Did you know that there are over 80,000 chemicals in products and not even half of them are tested for safety?
What’s worse is that the FDA doesn’t legally require companies to list all the ingredients in their products. Many companies use terms like “fragrance” or “parfum” to hide dozens of petro-based ingredients or they simply omit them from the ingredients list altogether.
The vast majority of beauty products are loaded with parabens, which are used as preservatives. On average, women apply around 50 mg of parabens each day from cosmetic products. These can also go disguised as other names, such as ingredients with a prefix ethyl-, methyl-, propyl-, or butyl-. “Parabens are stored in the body’s fatty tissues and cannot be flushed out with water, so they accumulate over the years and affect menstruation, reproduction, and even fat metabolism” .
Like parabens, there’s other harmful petrochemicals in products such as phthalates, carbon black, lead & heavy metals, carcinogens, nitrosamines, that have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and organ system toxicity. And this is just in cosmetics… unfortunately we are bombarded with chemicals from all sorts of stuff, from kitchen appliances to your very own couch. “Chemical body burden refers to the accumulation of chemical ingredients in the human body. It is an unknown variable in modern health, and it is largely undiscussed in mainstream medicine (…) No research is available on what is referred to as the synergistic effect of them all”. I know, scary, huh..
But don’t fret
There are powerful tools we can use to take control over what we put on our bodies. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put together a database called SkinDeep, where you can look up almost any chemical you find on a product’s ingredient list and it will give you a score on a scale of 1-10. If it is considered dangerous, it will list the health hazards.
Wait, but there’s sodium hydroxide in soaps? Isn’t that a harsh chemical?
Yes, this is true. Sodium hydroxide (or lye) is a naturally produced inorganic compound that reacts with oils and fats to produce a salt and a glycol. The salt is what we know as soap, and this is how it has been made for thousands of years. When formulated correctly, the lye completely reacts with oils until there is no trace of it left.
Our soaps are formulated with 5%+ super fat, which means even after the lye fully reacts, there will still be 5%+ oil left over for nourishment.
Not all chemicals are made equal.
Although the rule of thumb is that if it’s hard to pronounce then it must be bad for you, this is not always the case. Remember, even water is a chemical. That is why it is important to really understand what’s good and what’s bad. While 4-hydroxybenzoic acid is a nasty paraben, carotenoids, hyaluronic acid, and even alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3’s) are healthy compounds found in plants that actually aid in obtaining radiant looking skin.
Molecular structures of 4-hyxroxybenzoic acid (on left) and hyaluronic acid (on right). Images are from sources  &  respectively.
What You Can Do
1. Take control
You can take control over what you put in your body by being vigilant of ingredient lists. Use SkinDeep to see how good are the products you’re using now.
Take some time to reevaluate whether all the products you use are actually necessary. A lot of products can be multipurpose. Can your sunblock actually be used as a primer too? Can you ditch the chemical-loaded exfoliants and use sugar, oats & honey, or natural clays instead?
Remember, on average people apply anywhere from 6-12 different products daily, each containing dozens of petrochemicals. A simple IG post can spread a whole lot of awareness in your circle!
There’s so many good companies popping up driven exactly to put a stop to this problem (us included). On your social circles check out companies like The Simply Co for natural laundry detergent, 100% Pure for awesome makeup, Primal Pit Paste for deodorant & toothpaste, and check out our natural soaps!
5. Make your Own!
There’s so many awesome things you can make on your own, including blush, bronzer, lip balms, moisturizers. The sky is the limit.