Fresh Living

cosmetics.jpgWhat makes you choose one particular brand of cosmetics over another?  Price?  Scent?  Ability to soften hair and clear skin?  Similarity to what your mother used?  There are so many reasons–and a growing one is, “Will not kill me.”

It’s a fine line between feeling paranoid that products are out to get you and getting serious about protecting your health from even trace amounts of toxic materials.  Ultimately, it’s not hard to make the case that though there are many sacrifices to be made for beauty, your life shouldn’t be one of them. Yet so many of us continue to use cosmetics that contain chemicals that are known to be neurotoxins, carcinogens, and more. 

We’ve learned to read nutritional labels on the foods we choose; it’s time we all become more literate in the lingo of poisonous cosmetic ingredients as well. 

Here are two ways to start.

1.  Click here to acquaint yourself with “The Dirty Thirty,” a list of 30 nearly ubiquitous cosmetic chemicals compiled by the group Teens Turning Green and explained with the help of a chemist.  The list features the chemicals, the types of products they dwell in (deodorant, nail polish, etc), and the health concerns that you should know about.  The most surprising to me?  Talc, which I think of as a benign, soothing substance, is, according to the survey website, chemically similar to asbestos and related to lung and ovarian cancers.

2.  Click here to take a product-by-product inventory of your beauty regimen.  The website, which is the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic safety database, lets you type in the brand names you use, then they give you a “hazard score” from 1-10, a list of health concerns associated with the product in general, and ingredient-by-ingredient hazard scores.  My deodorant, “for sensitive skin,” got an overall hazard score of 3, which is not sooo bad, but it contains an ingredient, polyethylene, which is ranked a 6 for immunotoxicity, cancer, and skin and lung irritation.  Not to mention that polyethylene is also used in plastic shopping bags.  Oof, my poor pits!

What’s your tolerance level for chemical-containing products?  Are you all natural, or do you choose your battles?  What are your favorite natural products?

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